Friday, December 2, 2011

Coming off anti-depressants.

For the last three months I have been taking anti-depressants. This was a first for me, but they were needed, and perhaps may still be(we will see), but the usual trend for me is that as soon as NZ starts getting some good long days of light I come back to my usual self.
So I had a wee chat to my doctor and we talked through the process of weaning off.
One month on a half dose, then down to nothing. If the half dose isn’t working out, I promised to go back onto full dose and we will review the situation in another month.

With my depression, it is a slow slide into it. Usually it takes a myriad of different symptoms over a decent period of time before I will accept that there is a genuine problem rather than just life/PMS/general low mood/stress/work/death causing me problems.
Because of this, and the fact I usually resolve the depression with non-pharmaceutical options, I never really had a clear view of how violently different I am when I’m depressed.

This week was my first week with my dosage halved.
With that came a very obvious change. A distinct lack of interest in anything, a drop in concentration, I lied about traffic and lay in bed instead of going to hockey.  I sulked. I had to bully myself into going to work. Once at work I was panicky, and I lost my temper easily. I even used sarcasm (for evil, not good) and this voice came back.
If you had asked me, I would have said that I have never experienced voices.
But there is one.

She is me, and I am her, but my goodness she is a BITCH.

It isn’t really a ‘voice’ as such. It is the usual inner monologue, just amplified, and apparently pretty pissed off.  A bit like having an earphone in your ears, and having a constant stream of negative updates. Imagine nav-man without the helpful directions.
Instead of “Turn right in 200 metres” It was “you are late, it doesn’t matter how fast you drive your shitty car, they know you are lazy, they know you hate coming here, they are probably talking about you right now”.
I actually sat in my car outside the hospital and said audibly “stop stop STOP” to try to stop the flow. My own physical voice cut off the inner for long enough for me to get a more positive stream going.

But it was hard work. I came home on Thursday and went to bed at 5pm, I was quite literally exhausted.

So to anyone out there, with that voice taking over.  Take a break.
When confronted with the stark contrast of “normal me” and this, it is no wonder people with depression or mental illness sometimes reach the point of self-harm or suicide.
That inner voice is a big jerk.  It tells lies. Worse than that, it twists the truth to expose the brutal cruelty in the world that we usually ignore.
Take a break; you don’t have to do this alone. Get some TLC, listen to music, go for a walk, eat good food, have a cuddle, masturbate, meet with friends, keep up your sunlight hours.
It won’t stop it right away, but keep fighting.

Seek help, talk to professionals
If the professionals don’t make you feel safer or better, find a professional who is good at what they do.

But keep fighting.

Life without depression is amazing and wonderful. It is like the difference between a grainy black and white film, and the latest full colour 3D masterpiece.
It is worth fighting for.

All my love,