If you guys have read previous posts or followed my journey from the beginning then you’ll know I’ve been on anti depressants for quite a big part of my life with not much effect. So at the end of April beginning of May and after a really settled few months, I made a huge but also very stupid decision to just stop my medication and try to manage my depression alone. So this post will just be a quick update post to let you guys know how I’ve been finding these last few months.
You’ll know if you read my first post after a week off my Sertraline, that this was one of the hardest and most painful weeks of my life both mentally and physically, I was ill, anxious, upset, tired, restless and everything in between, if I’m honest there were so many times in that first week that I thought of taking my own life, I couldn’t believe that I had been on these tablets for years and they seemed to have no effect so how could coming off them be having such a massive effect on me? I was so genuinely scared that I would never feel ‘normal’ again and I won’t lie it wasn’t just the first week that was awful, it actually took me nearly two months to start feeling somewhat human and healthy.
Almost 3 months on and am I 100% back to feeling ‘normal’? No I’m not but it’s funny really because I always try to be such a positive person and in my head I had this amazing vision that I’d come off my medication, it’d be really easy and I’d be happier than I’ve ever been.The truth is though early August will mark 3 months of no anti depressants and I’m not in that amazing place, it’s probably been one the lowest and hardest times of my life with so many mood swings it’s unreal, I still have days when I ask myself if going back to my medication would make it all go back to how it was, you know that numb, surreal feeling you have on anti depressants? Now though as I’ve been writing this post and thinking back to my life with medication and my life without it I’ve started too realise that although I’ve struggled and it’s hit me hard, that coming off my medication was a change for the better and sticking it out will only be for the best!
So guys just to end this post I want to apologise if this was a little bit of a negative post but I always promised I’d just be honest no matter what, have you guys recently come off or are thinking about coming off your medication? let me know I’d like to share experiences and thoughts with you all.
‘Are pills really the answer?’
So as you will know from previous posts I’ve been on a variety of anti depressants and beta blockers since I was about 16 to help calm my depression and anxiety symptoms. Over the years I’ve been on so many different medications to try and combat my symptoms with little to no effect that at times I was convinced they were all just a placebo and would never ever feel better.
I’ll always remember when I first built up the courage to tell someone about my feelings and visit my GP, it was the first time in months I’d seen a hint a light at the end of the dark tunnel I now know as depression, anyone who has suffered from any sort of mental health issue will know how hard it is to tell your GP for the first time, all sorts of crazy thoughts run through your mind about how they’ll perceive you. I was so happy after getting it all out but one thing that shocked me more than anything was how quickly my GP prescribed me a bunch of pills, after a quick 15 maybe 20 minute appointment. So very reluctantly I started taking my prescribed pills but now when I think back I’m really shocked at the fact that no other option was offered to me, to help me feel better and how incredibly quick I was told that the pills would pretty much change it all.
So as reluctant as I was I told myself I’d do anything to feel better and anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m one of these people who is perhaps overly careful when it comes to taking medication weather it has been prescribed to me or not, I will spend hours upon hours reading information leaflets and over analysing every possible side effect. I did eventually start my Fluoxetine and because I’d never taken anti depressants before I think I was sort of expecting some sort of mirical happy pill so after nearly a year of persisting with them I was incredibly disappointed when nothing had changed, So I went back the doctors expecting them to hopefully offer me some better forms of support but once again I was just asked a form filled with questions and handed some more pills.
It wasn’t until about 3 years ago after being completely fed up of taking pill after pill that I decided to do my own research into other forms of help and found that I could get loads of different therapies through GP referral. So after waiting lists and fighting to prove I needed the help, I finally started seeing councillors and then eventually moved onto a CBT therapist which I truly believe is the best thing I could’ve ever done, I’m now almost virtually OCD free thanks to that amazing women 😀 After my 12 weeks of CBT I was over the moon at how much it has seemed to help but also upset and angry that I’d spent years on numerous tablets that had little effect on my mood and no sort of emotional support, when if I’d of been offered therapy sooner I may not of needed to go through all the physical and emotional effects the tablets seem to bring with them.
The point to me writing this post isn’t for me to slate the use of medication because I’m really not against using tablets to help with mental health issues because I really do think that I wouldn’t be where I am now without them but I just think that pills shouldn’t be handed out so quickly without any proper support or advice. I’d love to know what you guys think, Have you found medication helpful for you? or Have you found better ways to deal with your depression/anxiety rather than medication?
As many of you will know from past posts I have suffered from depression and bad anxiety since I was about 14/15 years old. As much as I love christmas my anxiety seems to get worse around this time of year. Which as anyone who suffers from mental health issues will tell you just adds a huge amount of extra stress to a time of year that is already stressful. Christmas is less than a week away now gets so I thought i’d do a quick post of my tips that will hopefully help too keep anxiety and depression at bay during the festive period.
1.DON’T be so hard on yourself! – Don’t beat yourself up, there are no written rules for how we should act at Christmas so if you don’t feel up to going out or doing some Christmas shopping then that’s fine, what you’re going through or how you feel isn’t your fault so you shouldn’t feel guilty for it.
2.Talk to someone – You’re are never alone so don’t keep things bottled up! Talk to a friend, relative or even someone at your local charity. As they say a problem shared is a problem halfed and I know that for me just having someone listening to my worries or doubts makes me feel so much better.
3.Learn to say no – Learning to say no is one of the biggest things i’ve learnesd to improve my anxiety, If you don’t feel up to something agreeing to it will only increase your anxiety, Always trying to please others is not as important as your own health so if you don’t want to do something then it’s ok to say no!
4. Do what makes you happy – If you like decorations put them, if you don’t then don’t! People put so much pressure on themselves to make others happy when honestly none of that matters if you’re unhappy so take time out and do whatever you enjoy!
5. Be realistic – Nobody is perfect and christmas isn’t about who can buy the most, who has the best food/tree or who has the biggest celebration so just have the best day you can with the people you love and be happy, thats all that matters!
So hopefully guys these five small tips will help ease your depression/anxiety over the christmas period even if it’s only a little bit, I’d love to know if you all have any tips for keeping depression or anxiety under control over christmas let me know in the comments below and I hope you all have a relaxing christmas and amazing new year!
The chimp paradox – Dr Steve Peters.
As you will know from reading my earlier post I have suffered from depression and anxiety for a number of years and have always tried to find ways to help myself so when someone suggested The Chimp Paradox – The Mind Management Programme, I was skeptical but thought id give it a chance.
What is the chimp paradox?
The Chimp Paradox is a book written by Dr Steve Peters, Steve Peters is a well known psychiatrist who has helped a lot of celebrities achieve success through his mind management programme. This is a self help guide that breaks the human mind up into three main sections The human, the chimp and the computer, the programme looks at all three of these sections and shows you how to manage them in all aspects of your life so that you can become a happier, calmer and more successful person.
My thoughts on the book.
Before I started reading this book I basically thought it would be just like every other self help book I have read where the author uses a lot of medical jargon and words you’ve never heard of to explain how you shouldn’t be depressed but I was pleasently surprised to find that this book was written in plain, easy too understand english and at the end of every chapter it has a practical exercise that makes you think about everything you have read in that chapter and also explains how to put what you have learnt into practice in your own life which is somethingI found really useful. The way Steve Peters writes makes you feel like you’re not alone and that he understands you, something I’ve never felt before from a book. I know this is really going to sound like a cliche but I truly feel like The Chimp Paradox has really helped me handle my depression and anxiety better. It has made me more aware of how my thoughts effect me and how to better manage my emotions.
Why I would recommend The chimp Paradox.
Ive honestly never recommended a book to anybody before but I would 100% tell everyone to give this book a try weather you suffer from depression or not because unlike other self help books it doesn’t specifically focus on a certain problem or situation, it just breaks down the human brain and thoughts into easy to manage sections and helps you process and act on your thoughts more effectively. So if you feel like you need a bit of help understanding and processing your thoughts more effectively in this very busy world then give this book a try.
Does anyone else have any recommendations? Id love to hear what anyone else thinks of The Chimp Paradox so let me know in the comments below guys!