Yes I know that was quick, but it’s too late to rethink my use of the word saga, so what are you going to do? I wrote a piece about antidepressants around a month ago, which would be worth reading if you haven’t already. After 15 years on one pill of another, I decided to give them the push, and see how life was without them.
After the initial withdrawal symptoms, I felt fantastic! I had more energy, I wanted to do things, and talk to people and I felt amazing. My sex drive came back and I’m not embarrassed to say that I had some amazing orgasms that didn’t take 30 minutes of dedicated work to happen. I honestly thought that this would be my life now, and that the antidepressants belonged in the bin. I even launched a packet into the bin before my husband said “I think we’d better keep those, just in case” and we fished them out of my waste paper basket. While I am tempted to say that he is a total jinx, I know that this was not the reason that my brief foray into the world of chemical free living. Well, one chemical less anyway.
Just 4 short days ago, I had what is often referred to as a “long dark night of the soul”. I spent the night awake and crying, not wanting to wake my husband or support because I could not deal with another persons emotions, even if they were those of love and support. Anxiety gripped me. I was afraid I would not sleep. I was afraid too sleep, to try and fail and feel worse, and I could not even one more intrusive thought. Every second felt like an hour, and I did not know how I would make it through that night. But I did.
It was then that I made the decision to go back on the pills. It may have been a one off, a bad night. It had been a hard week. The previous weekend had seen an alarm, be it car, house or fire going off for 48 hours without cessation in my neighbourhood. I contacted police who would not help (they would not even come out to see if the alarm was going off as the result of a crime), and I could not contact the council because it was a weekend. To say it had a huge impact on me and my mental health does not even begin to describe how distressed and sleep deprived I was by the time in finished. My Aspergers makes me very sensitive to noise, but this would have been torturous for anyone. It is in fact used as a form of torture.
I slept a lot in the week following the alarm incident, but when it came time to return to normality, I just didn’t feel normal. I felt incredibly, crushingly low. This prompted that one night and a river of tears, and my decision to go back on the pills.
Could I have waited it out? Yes I probably could have. I could have put myself through feeling low and anxious just to make a point, just so as not to go back on the pills, but why would I do that? It would be like a drowning man refusing a life raft. Having a long history of depression I have been in situations that were far worse. I have felt far worse. I don’t want to go there again. 4 days on and I’m feeling better. I’m not putting that all down to the medication. I have a wonderful support network who I have leaned on, and who are very good to me however I’m feeling (you know who you are <3).
I have also made an appointment to see a Councillor, something which is long overdue. Like many others I have not been able to access the help I need on the NHS, whose answer to everything is pills and maybe some CBT if you kick up a bit. I know some people have benefited greatly from CBT, but right now it is wildly over-prescribed as a solution to thinks like depression and anxiety in the NHS. CBT is not suitable in all cases and should not be handed out to everyone like a mental health band aid regardless of their circumstances. My appointment is with a local charity who offers subsidised counselling. It is still more than I can truly afford, but it’s something that I need to make work, even if hubby and I are stuck eating smartprice pasta for a few months. Well, more so than usual.
My plan B was always to start taking the pills again if I needed too. Secretly, I am a little bit gutted. There is no shame in taking medication for depression, but I did kind of hope I could “do it on my own”. The problem is, you generally can’t treat a chemical imbalance without help, and I know that, in my rational mind. I’ve spoken to friends who have assuaged some of my worries, some of the reasons I tried to come off them in the first place, and I feel okay about it. What matters is that I am a happy and functioning human being, however I make that happen. Today I am happy, happy in myself and happy with my decisions.