Off My Rocker: Going Off My Anti-Depressants For A Week
On the Friday before the Fourth of July, I was just at the beginning of what would turn into a week off from work. The following morning, I was up around 8 and was headed for a spin class because I’m a spinner...I spin. I got the feeling to check my purse for my Metrocard. It was missing, along with my debit card.
I am more than okay with accepting blame for losing something like that. And I was ready to take responsibility until I got home that night. I take my medicine at night and I always keep them in my apartment. They are never in my purse or anywhere other than at home. I left them on my coffee table on Friday night. But when I went to take them that night, they were gone. Along with my debit card and Metrocard, I thought that there was no other answer than that they were stolen. I spent hours considering other answers but this is the only one that made sense. I felt like someone was gaslighting me (see; verb).
Long story short, I didn’t take my meds for like 5 days. First day or so, I can handle but anything after that, is not pretty. Luckily, I already had an appointment scheduled with my psychiatrist for that week. He was also able to send over a few pills until our appointment and just in time for the holiday when all pharmacies are closed.
I have been taking this medication for about 4 years for my depression. I feel great when I take it. I haven’t been depressed in years. I’ve been sad but regular-human-sad. Not clinically sad.
In the days following without taking them, I couldn’t stop sleeping, I had to throw up every night before I went to sleep and I barely ate anything during those 5 days.
The nausea is a side effect to my specific medication so I had to get used to it when I started the medication. I did catch a break, however, it’s only a side effect when it’s entering my system or leaving it. For example, not taking medication like 5 days will give me nausea.
I was against medication for the longest time. I advocated for the cliché that I “wouldn’t be myself” on meds or that it would be “artificial happiness”. But, like I said in this article, “I won't get too preachy but that's totally and completely wrong. But that's just me (and lots of other really intelligent people).”
Depression is an illness. Illnesses require medication. I went through many different medications before I found this one. Plenty, of the ones before didn’t work and made me feel unlike myself. So yes, some medications don’t make you feel better. Fighting mental illness is, in fact, a fight.
It was a familiar but distant feeling being back in that ‘place’. I hadn’t actually felt my depression for so long, i forgot what it was like. I forgot how to cope with this gnawing pull towards a dark space in my mind. Nothing mattered. I didn't mattered. I wanted to melt into my couch and float away from being. I don’t think I left my couch for 3 days. My only reason to get out of bed was to move to the couch. I had lived in the privilege of being happy for so long, I had forgotten how debilitating depression is. I remain shocked that people still manage to live like that. And it breaks my heart.
I got my medication that Thursday, popped one and in about 2 hours I felt like Annie again. I love feeling like Annie. I want to stress that going through 3-4 medications to find the right one is worth it. Like boyfriends; some really suck and don’t make you feel good but then you find ‘The One’ and you understand how worth it the wait was. I’m glad I know that these meds are the ones for me. I tried the other ones so now I can continue my life without any doubts.
My psychiatrist told me that he would support my trying to get off my medication. I said and I quote, "oh wow, no, never but thank you". I am more than okay with staying on medication for the rest of my life. A lot of people do it and if I join that club, so be it. I know I’ll be happy.