A year-ish ago I wrote about the battle I was having with depression for about a year and a half, and how I had started an antidepressant as well. I had a lot of side effects on my medication (which included weight gain that never stopped) but it did what it's designed to do, it helped with the more serious issues at that time.
In February I started doing better, by the end of March I felt much more like myself but I wanted to wait to talk to my dr because I was having our fourth child in April and I knew how much of a mess I can get after having a baby.
Fast forward, about a month and a half ago I contacted my dr and told her I believed I was ready to get off my antidepressant, but wasn't sure how to go about it, And of course I certainly wanted her knowing what was going on. She was happy to hear I was doing so well, she advised me to cut my dose in half for 2 to 3 weeks and then stop taking it altogether. I went with the 3 weeks, and my last dose was three weeks ago today!
It was anything but easy... apparently antidepressant withdrawal is a real thing. I had everything from nausea to headaches, from extreme agitation to major lightheadedness. The worst though was how out of body I felt at times, it's difficult to explain unless you've experienced it. It was as if I was so in my head (thinking about anything, everything and nothing all at once) that I didn't realize what was happening around me. For example, I could walk by someone who says hi to me and it wouldn't register until several steps later that I was being addressed, and I couldn't tell you what they said either.
It's annoying, scary, frustrating and horrible all at once.
BUT a little over a week ago, I seemed to have broken free! It was glorious! I felt more like myself than I had in 2.5 years!
I am NOT anti-medication, I needed help and I got it... And if I need help again, I will take it again. But what a relief to feel not just happy again, but alive too.
Don't misunderstand, this isn't all sunshine and lollipops.
This isn't easy. I'm working hard at trying to stay on top of it. If I get too tired, I feel myself sink. If things get really stressful and overwhelming, I feel it pulling at me... Hard.
So, I'm trying to stay on top things...
My rest... I was exhausted Saturday from traveling and didn't sleep well that night because of baby so my husband let me sleep ALL Sunday afternoon.
Eating food that's good for me, including lots of fruits and veggies that are proven to improve your mood (the high antioxidants are a big help).
Working out, even if I'm tired, 30 minutes changes everything.
Water, water, water.
Talking to people who encourage me.
I feel somewhat like the depression is hibernating... That it will never completely be gone and will try to wake up the moment I let my guard down.
This is a fight that I am currently determined to win at, but I know if it wakes up entirely I'll need to ask for help again, and that's ok.
You don't mess around with depression. It can put you in a low, dark place and fast.
For now, I'm enjoying the light. The singing and dancing again. The simple pleasures I couldn't even recognize before.
I know God was with me on my darkest days, and I know He will be with me should it return. I'm thankful for His goodness and for surrounding me with the right people. People who told me they loved me. Who told me I wasn't forgotten. Those who stopped and prayed with me on the spot.
People I thought would be there, weren't, and that's ok... Maybe they just couldn't handle it or didn't know how. But there were those that I least expected who stepped up and checked on me regularly. God knew who I needed, when I needed them and why.
My husband... Goodness. That man has put up with a lot of mood swings and seen me in some really, truly low places. He hasn't stopped loving me. He didn't just let me deal with it. He went through it with me... I'm overcome with tears just typing that.
My kids, especially our oldest really stepped up to help with our toddler. Even just pouring him cereal because mom was moving too slow.
I can't tell you how many times my 3 year old would ask "mommy sad??" And then would love on me.
If you're struggling with depression, seek help. Maybe all you need are a few lifestyle changes, maybe you need to see a counselor, maybe you need medication... Maybe all of the above.
Don't try to win it on your own. And don't let denial win, you KNOW deep down inside that you need help... Get it.
There is hope.
If you are on medication, don't be ashamed. Ever.
If you have a family member or friend going through it, be there. A simple hug can change everything. Offering to bring a meal. Just sitting with them. Just Listening to them. Sitting in silence together. Be the person they know they can be real with and don't need to force a smile around, because with depression... Faking happiness is the most exhausting thing in the world. Just make it apparent that they are loved, that you care and will be there for them.
Look for the light, no matter how dim... and when it doesn't seem present at all, tell yourself that it IS there, it's just not where you are looking.
You are loved.
Let's fight together.