Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Depression, Antidepressants and Personal jigsaws
I took my last antidepressant a couple of nights ago after 10 years. I have been slowly reducing my medication of Zoloft now for several months. The doctor suggested I start decreasing them when the days became longer during Spring so my body has a better chance of producing it's own serotonin rather than relying on pills to do it. I started earlier because living in the sub tropics means more sunshine anyway so I took a chance. If I was still living down south where the winters are cold and grey I would have heeded his advice. Once upon a time doctors, especially psychiatrists would have suggested that once on antidepressants you are on them for life. Now I am finding out what my body can do on it's own. In my experience I would have to say I was on them far too long because I think the pills seemed to be actually causing brain fog and lethargy. I could be wrong however and all I have to go on is how I feel now. I have more energy, my thoughts have a clarity which has been absent for a very long time and I'm happy for no reason in particular. When problems or concerns come up I can usually handle them without the accompanying depression and sense of hopelessness. I don't, however, put down my change in mood by simply suggesting that it was antidepressants or the lack of them as it has been a long road of both drug and non drug therapy. And may I add not an easy thing to balance. It didn't help that some people suggest I pull my socks up and get on with it. Fortunately I realise they were coming from a sense of fear and a lack of knowing how to help. When the depression was at it's worse I even felt serious contempt for people who knew what I was going through and were giving me constructive help. I just wanted to be left alone and for the world to piss off but at the same I didn't want to be alone. Depression for me really tore at my inner psyche until I felt like someone had ripped me into several pieces with jagged edges and I began to fray. The pieces of my personal jigsaw are now mostly back together and the edges are not as frayed as they once were. Now I can stand back and look at the jigsaw puzzle of my life and decide if I like what I see and I even have the ability to change the picture for my own personal good. As I said it was not just medication that helped but the ongoing determination to seek counselling and education about what I was going through. Education is really the key to destigmatization.