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.