My journey out of the darkness…..

DISCLAIMER: it’s sad that I have put this in here but I know some people will judge me, so this covers my bases.

I am not a medical professional and I do not advocate that going off your depression or anxiety meds is for everyone, it is a very personal choice and must be made in sound mind. I believe in the power of psych meds, and believe that certain people need them to function; thankfully my brand of depression is not so severe that I need them to function. I do not have panic attacks nor do I cut myself, or have Bi-Polar disorder, in those instances I DO NOT advise dropping your medication, this is just my own personal story.

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  I’ve been treated for my depression since I was 21 years old ( I am 35 now). I remember sitting in my doctors office, unable to stop crying, I never got so bad that I wanted to do harm to myself, or hurt myself, it was more of an unexplainable sadness. My doctor was not one to give out medications willy nilly, but he knew my family and our genetic history of clinical depression, and he decided to put me on Prozac. Over the years I was adjusted then readjusted, switched meds, then switched again, a few times I went off my meds cold turkey, then when I was 5 months pregnant, the sadness came rolling in again like a dark cloud, and I hopped back on them, then my mother died shortly after my son was born, and I knew I needed them more than ever.

In the past few years, I started to wonder if I would ever be able to come off of them for good, I started to get more and more into natural healing, I did more yoga, tried slowly clearing chemicals out of my life ( still working on that). I dropped my Birth Control hormones and got a non hormonal IUD. I started feeling better; so the next step was naturally to see if I could stop my depression medication. I was warned by friends “you sure you want to do that??” yes…yes I did, all those years living “numb” were sort of getting to me, I didn’t feel like half the person I was before, I didn’t feel emotions, I actually WANTED to feel emotions, my marriage was suffering a little, and I was always dead dog tired. I kept thinking “what if” I just tried to slowly come off of them? Could I really manage my depression on my own? I knew I needed a safety net, a way to cope, a 12 step process of sorts that I could turn to when the dark cloud came over me again. I turned to my yoga, but even deeper this time, I read all I could about meditation and poses to ease the mind, foods that effect hormone levels and natural supplements. I consulted with a Holistic friend Elizabeth Bradley, who provided a wealth of support and information.

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I felt like maybe I COULD do this.

So I did…..

I started off by warning friends and family I was doing it, and that I may seemed a little wacked at times in the process, I got their blessing.

Slowly I broke my pills in half, then quarters, then last week I took the plunge and stopped taking it all together.

Over the past three weeks that I have been weaning myself off, I have noticed that certain moments came up where the dark cloud would work its way in and now without the help of my meds, I was forced to fight them off on my own, and fight I did……

I breathed I stopped and recognized the feeling, LET MYSELF feel it, accepted it then looked for ways to let it go, meditated for a few minutes, did a heart opening yoga sequence, and BREATHED into the negative feeling, and soon it passed.

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I know I will need to do this again and again and again, for probably the rest of my life, depression is a disease, it’s not something that just goes away, you don’t just snap out of it. And I accept that.

But as I have been decreasing my meds and am now off of them completely, I have noticed that I sleep better, I’m not as tired in the evenings, I feel MORE joy than I felt when I was on them, Sadness feels deeper, happiness feels lighter, and yes even sex is better, my libido is slowly returning and my husband is seeing a side of his wife he thought was gone forever.

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It is an everyday struggle, yes, but I am managing.

The reality is, I may one day need the meds again, I hope not, but it happens and I know that.

Thankfully I was able to surround myself with a multitude of ways to cope. And every day I am learning more about myself, and rediscovering the person that I used to be. It’s going to be a long journey, but I am up for the fight.

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2 thoughts on “My journey out of the darkness…..”

  1. I know what you’re talking bout! I’ve had depression since I was 21. Been few bad spells every now and again in it and had to be back on medication. Few years ago I realised that the medication really did not do anything. I had therapy based on mindfulness and it was fab. I think once you have depression it is with you always – sometime’s bit stronger but all the time in the background. I am very stressed at the moment: work is hard and getting settled into our new life back home is taking it’s toll. Add pregnancy hormones to it and you have disaster waiting to explode. When times are good, I’m feeling good and depression is just a distant memory. I think I am just so much more sensitive to everything that goes around me and I draw negativity into me left and right and do not let it go. Lifelong lesson – how to live with depression (that rhymes!)

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