A farewell to medication

In October of 2013 I started 100 mg of Sertraline. I had previously vowed that SSRI’s were not for me after a horrible year on Lexapro, but I was vulnerable. I had just lost my best friend and I craved something to depend on, something stable. With Zoloft re-arranging my brain chemistry I was able to make it through my final semester of college, with honors nonetheless. On the suggestion of my therapist, I continued taking medication after I graduated. I was in transition, it wasn’t the time to stop and I agreed with her.

After graduating from college I was hit with the apparently very common existential emptiness.  I was not proud of myself for graduating or for having my grad school applications in. I was angry with myself for not doing so sooner, for not having a full time job lined up. I felt scared. I had identified myself as a student of psychology for four years and now I had no idea who I was. I felt anxious and unsure of myself or my future. I began musing with the idea that I should just end my life now rather than continue into uncertainty. This listlessness was compounded with a constant headache and severe migraines. It felt like my brain was merely held in my skull by cheap store brand glue and it was past it’s prime. Suddenly I remembered that I experienced these same headaches the year I was on Lexapro, so I made the decision to drop my Zoloft to 50 mg in a desperate attempt to alleviate the pain.

It worked for a while. The headaches subsided and felt happiness again. I am pessimistic by nature, in fact if you look it up in the dictionary I will be there frowning up at you. My happiness is not like many others, but it’s all I’ve got. This lasted for a month, perhaps it wasn’t that long. I think I was unhappy again for a lot longer than I cared to admit. My constant taste for alcohol and numbness went on for weeks before I gained the courage to see it for what it is.

I was no different on medication, in fact I believe I am worse. When I am not on medication I have no crutch to fall on, I am completely responsible for my actions. If I start drinking too much, if I start hurting myself, then I am forced to face these actions. On medication they don’t look like problems. How could it be a problem? I’m on medication I can’t be behaving badly because I am mentally ill, it must be normal. This must be normal because I am medicated and this is supposed to make me like every one else. This uncaring numbness must be how every one else felt. In the beginning of March I made the educated and well informed decision to taper my Zoloft to 25 mg. As of March 18th, the day before my 23rd birthday, I quit taking my medication all together.

The past week has not been easy, I can guarantee you that. I’m still experiencing the electrical shocks so lovingly named “brain zaps” and I’ve thrown up a few good meals.  I have cried at the drop of a hat, I have felt apprehension and misery, but the biggest thing that has happened is that I have felt. I remember now that this is who I am. I am hyper sensitive, I am emotional to a fault, I love too hard and I worry far too much. I don’t want myself any other way.

Advertisements

28 Comments

Filed under Mental Illness

28 responses to “A farewell to medication

  1. Hi young one I have in my short lived life given up the anti depressants four times and the last time revisited very dark time i wish you you strength and long happy years free of these drugs go forward and show us how amazing you are .

    Like

  2. So sorry you had to experience a constant headache and migraines, it’s horrible. I hope it has all subsided now you are off the medication. Personally anti depressants did nothing for me except turn me into a walking zombie, and I feel clearer without them, I hope it helps you coming off of them!

    Like

  3. Okay, disclaimer here…I am a psychologist, but I am not your therapist. I know very little about you and have no business even attempting to say anything therapeutic about your specific situation. You are clearly in treatment, and are consulting with your treatment providers about going off your medication. But, I have been following your blog and feel compelled to say in general that medications can be helpful for people with borderline personality disorder, if you find the right one/ones. And, just a general statement…symptoms of BPD are often confused with bipolar disorder. I don’t know if you are following the blog Robin and I are writing, but I will give you a preview of the next post before it comes out. I will be writing about how I finally figured out Robin had a form of bipolar disorder…ten years after I started treating her. Sometimes it is just not clear for many reasons, even to competent treatment providers. No need to respond. Just my non-therapist, human being who knows about this stuff, reaction to what you are writing….feel free to disregard. I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will not disregard at all! I appreciate and welcome any and all advice, especially from someone who is in a career where I hope to be some day. I have actually been rolling around back and forth between the two disorders in my head, though I’ve only ever been diagnosed with BPD. I am not ruling out medication forever and I know if I am in a tight spot again that I will look into a different treatment.
      For now, I desperately need SSRI’s out of system as they’ve been making me very sick and not someone I want to be.
      I will read your upcoming post and I look forward to it!

      Like

  4. So glad to hear you are open to different treatments and considering various explanations for your symptoms. Good for you. Good luck with figuring it all out. I will continue to follow along.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Have you ever taken anticonvulsives? In our case they’re referred to as mood stabilizers. I’ve found they’re more effective than antidepressants, mood swings and impulsivity lower significantly.

    Like

    • I never have, no, but I have been suggested to try them before. I think it’d probably be better since my problem isn’t all anxiety or all depression.
      I worry it will make me too flat though.

      Like

      • I’m on just a mood stabilizer right now, after years and years of Prozac and a brief stint with Wellbutrin (which ended with a seizure. Wheee!) I’ve been on Lamictal since November, and it’s been treating me well so far. I definitely haven’t been flat– I was actually a bit over-sensitive, and we increased my dosage slightly. We’ll see how it holds up over time.

        Like

      • I’ve heard good things about lamictal actually! I hope it keeps working well for you :)

        Like

      • I don’t think they will make you flat or numb. I still have my bad days, just not as intense.

        Like

  6. I hope it gets easier for you.

    Like

  7. I think your overall attitude toward medication is healthy. It’s not something that’s rewarding or that feels good to be on long-term. And it’s not what really transforms you or make your life better. I hope you’ll eventually be able to come off of it and do everything you want drug free.

    Like

  8. I identify so much with the post-college angst. Not having a job lined up, not being fully independent… these things nag at me daily, making me feel like I’m just not good enough. Blergh. We’ll pull through, right? There’s something good out there, in all that uncertainty.

    Like

    • We will definitely pull through! It’s tough though, I always thought I’d be so happy to be done with college. Now all I want to do is be back in a classroom. I feel lost without papers to write!

      Like

      • Haha, right!?! My brother is the coolest, we’re pen pals and he recently decided that we’ll send each other prompts from AP English tests, and write essays for each other. #nerdalert

        Like

  9. breakdownchick

    Congrats to you! I was on Zoloft for years. I recently went off too, a few months ago. It is both difficult and exhilarating truly feeling again!

    Like

  10. “I am pessimistic by nature, in fact if you look it up in the dictionary I will be there frowning up at you.”
    ‘Nuff said.
    I love your guts! I love your fearlessness! I love how you flaunt your middle finger the same way that I always have!
    Hugs Kiddo! You are so wise beyond your years, it’s mind-blowing sometimes. :-)

    Like

  11. ” I remember now that this is who I am. I am hyper sensitive, I am emotional to a fault, I love too hard and I worry far too much. I don’t want myself any other way.”

    That ending is so, so freaking awesome, love it

    Like

  12. robin1967

    Love your writing style. I have bipolar disorder, OCD, an PTSD. Before being diagnosed with bipolar, my Dr. said I had BPD traits. I agree with going off the antidepressants, in order to get a baseline. I would encourage you to give mood stabilizers a chance if you have further issues- Abilify has made all the difference for me (unfortunately it’s expensive…). I look forward to following your blog

    Like

  13. Thanks for writing this. I’m in my 3rd year of college and started taking Zoloft about a month and a half ago. So far it’s been really good overall. I’ve been really forgetful about stuff which is unlike me. But that’s really been the only side effect up to this point. I’m glad you wrote this though. It really is so helpful to read the perspective of other people on medicine because no one in my family and none of my best friends take medicine or struggle with depression. So yeah… thanks again. :)

    Like

    • I’m so glad that I was able to help :) I know what you mean, for a long time I didn’t have any friends or family who understood my illness, I still don’t have many people who do. But when you feel just a little bit less alone, then it’s makes all the difference.
      Good luck with the medication! It really did help me during a difficult time.

      Like

  14. Another awesome post. I love your blog. I too have felt that antidepressants were not helping me. I still think so at times. I have changed antidepressants, stopped them altogether by weaning myself off of them. I’ve been on and off antidepressants since my early 20’s. (More on than off) Oh the “brain zaps”. Those alone will send you over the edge. I was on cymbalta and I would have them all the time. Usually with other meds I would get them from missing a dose.
    I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety is brutal. I wish you the best.
    You are an awesome writer! You are helping so many by sharing your experiences. ♥

    Like

    • Thank you so very much <3 It means a lot. I'm sorry you deal with similar things :/ GAD can be such a bitch. I'm constantly freaking out about something or other !
      I always forget how bad brain zaps are, thankfully I've been off meds for about two weeks now and they're down to a dull buzz!

      Like

      • I’m glad you are doing better. It took me so long to be able to describe the “brain zap” feeling! I finally heard that term and it fit perfect.
        The hardest part of GAD is when it hits you like a ton of bricks out of nowhere! I usually know why I have anxiety or what has caused it. It is a bitch!

        Like

reach out here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s