mental health is always in style

This is a pretty big week for me. My psychiatrist okay-ed me to stop taking anxiety and depression medicine. After nearly three years of struggling with various medicines and the sometimes horrible side-effects that went along with it.

I've talked about my mental health a little here and there on this blog, but I'd sort of moved away from the subject as I didn't feel like the day-to-day was as important to talk about. However, I think this is a good time for me to write about some mental health related stuff again because I know I can't be the only person going through it. I know this blog is sometimes all outfit posts and wish lists, but growing up is a big aspect of this space for me, so I feel like this falls into the category.

A little background: I've struggled with anxiety and depression for several years, but didn't go to see a doctor about anything until my sophomore year of college. I was put on this and that medicine and had a hard time finding one that worked for me, so I finally settled on one that worked well enough, but was definitely not right for me for a lot of reasons. The biggest challenge was the crazy-awful withdrawals from the drug, which would begin if I even took the pill a couple of hours late. I'd tried to get off of it a couple of times and became really sick and ended up taking the pills again just to feel better. This makes me sound like I had a drug problem, but I guess I sort of did. This is why it's so important that you find the right medicine for you instead of settling on one that just does part of the job.

So at this point I knew I needed outside help. I hadn't yet seen a psychiatrist because my insurance is really complicated. Seriously, though, don't make an already anxious and depressed person make a ton of phone calls to strangers and assign their experiences to little check boxes on an e-form. Step it up, world. I'll skip that part of my journey for your and my sanity both.

Anyway, the psychiatrist is great and didn't talk down to me and make me feel like I knew what I was talking about because, you know, it is my body and my experience. But really, she's great. She helped me get off the evil medicine of terror and onto something else in under a month with hardly any crazy-awful withdrawal side-effects.

Except that I didn't much like the new pill I was on. I didn't feel present. I couldn't remember to take it. I had headaches and wasn't sleeping. My anxiety and depression were showing up more sporadically, but I decided that had more to do with time than the medication. 

I went back to my psychiatrist this week and asked what she thought about me stopping medication. When I first started seeing her, she mentioned that the goal was for me to only take meds for another year before stopping and using therapy to learn to cope with any remaining depression or anxiety I felt. After talking about how I've been feeling and my intentions for moving forward, she agreed and said it was okay to stop medication, unless something changes.

Sometimes I get a little ahead of myself, but I really feel ready for this step in my wellness. I've had some traumatic counseling experiences, but I feel more prepared for the process of finding the right person this time. Someone who gets where I'm coming from and where I want to be. 

I'm really looking forward to not having to kick myself every day for forgetting to take a pill. I'm excited to start a new kind of healing where I feel more in control.

10 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences; I think it is important to have honest discussions about these things. I am glad to hear you're making progress and feeling better!
    XO, Rachel
    With Love, Rachel

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  2. Congrats on being ready to come off the medicine. Thanks for sharing your story. I think it's awesome that you openly blog about mental health because it is such a big issue and so many people just sweep it under the rug because they're uncomfortable discussing it. I hope your journey of coming off the meds continues to be a good and positive one

    Kim

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  3. Congrats for coming off your medicine! This might sound weird considering the fact that I'm younger than you, but I really proud that you were able to realize what you needed to do and share your experiences with us. I get slight anxiety sometimes and it's hard to go to someone or talk to a doctor or a psychiatrist.

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  4. Its really great for you to talk about your experiences! I actually got put on anti-depressants for chronic migraines when I was much younger and they actually ended up making me really badly depressed. Then I went through another mental health related problem and ended up in the hospital. I saw so many of the people in the hospital with me taking so much medication and constantly complaining that they needed more. I made the decision to not take any and even though it was really hard at some points because I still struggled with bad depression, I'm really happy I pushed through it on my own and learned to cope without meds.

    Congrats on getting off! I wish you the best. I'm sure it'll still be really hard sometimes but it'll be so great for you in the long run! :)

    Josie
    FineandFeathered.com

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  5. Congrats on feeling like you're ready to come off your meds, though I don't think there's any shame in going back on them if needed -- there's still a stigma attached to struggling with mental health issues which is such a shame. Kudos for writing this post and being upfront about your life with all of us -- hitting publish can be scary when we're not just posting a new outfit or a wish-list collage. Thanks for your honesty and good luck moving forward. Have I mentioned how great I think you are? Because, I think you are *thiiiiiiiiiiiis* great. It's true!
    --Lily
    Fifth Freedom Fashion

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  6. Congrats on all of that! I've struggled with anxiety and depression as well, and I totally know what you mean. I've been on an anti-depressent for about 3 years now, and I finally am starting to feel more stable. I just stopped taking Xanax, and that's made me feel a lot better. I'm glad you've made positive steps in your life as well :)

    ♥Brooke
    http://youreinbrookelynn.blogspot.com/

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  7. I am so happy for you girl! I have to accept medication as a daily part of my life (even though I suck at remembering too and it always throws me off). I've been in therapy since I was about 5 and my parents divorced but later in high scool and college my real issues began to surface. It has been a huge struggle, and I'm so so proud that you've made enough progress to go off your meds. I'll be rooting for you girl! And if you ever need anything, you can call me. Email me and I will give you my number. You are not alone!

    p.s. I am having a pretty terrible day and this post really helped me out today.
    xoxo

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  8. This is excellent. I think so many people suffer from anxiety and depression in varying degrees and I believe that it's so important to acknowledge this and talk about it. My husband struggles with them both and although he's not on meds it can definitely be a challenge for the both of us. So keep fighting and feel free to post about it whenever you want. I'm sure you'll get lots of support.
    xo
    girlintheyellowdress.com

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  9. I'm so happy for you hun! I can totally relate to this post and I think it's very brave of you to talk about "real life". I too have been living daily life without medication for about a month now and I have to remember that I must go on daily walks and stay active because if I don't it's a downward spiral for me. I think you seem to be doing fabulous darling and I can't wait to finally meet you here soon!
    xo
    Taylor

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  10. I'm glad to hear that things are getting better. I started suffering with anxiety and depression two years ago, and I'm still struggling on and off. This past month has been a rollercoaster, but I found that working out really helps me with my mental health!

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