I had been on medication for a long time. It has been 6 weeks and 5 days since I took my last dose of prescription antidepressants.
Why am I off medication right now? Because the medications were causing more side effects than I could handle.
What made me decide to try being off medication? My doctors wouldn’t listen to me no matter how many times I had told them that the long term goal was to get me off medications or at least on as few medications as possible and that any medications I was on had few side effects or long term consequences.
What am I taking instead? So while I was going through Effexor withdrawal, which was the worst withdrawal I had ever experienced AND I was taking the smallest dose possible. I read that taking Fish Oil with Omega 3, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D can help. Fish Oil with Omega 3 helps your brain during the transition from taking medication to being off medication. Vitamin B12, I take the Super B Complex from CVS which has more B vitamins plus Vitamin C to help with absorption, helps with energy levels. Vitamin D, the vitamin we naturally synthesize from sunlight but a lot of people are still deficient in, helps with mood. The only prescription medication that I am taking is 300mg of Gabapentin at bedtime. While this is a seizure medication, my doctor says it helps with anxiety and getting a more restful sleep. I have not been on Gabapentin for long, so it is hard to determine how much it is helping.
What changes have I noticed since getting off my antidepressants? First off, I eat less. Like I actually eat a normal serving of food instead of going back for seconds. I still tend to eat my food too fast, a bad habit caused by always feeling hungry on my medications that I am trying to work on. Because I am eating less, this means that I also have to start making better food choices. I am trying to make sure that I eat a good proportion of protein and healthy fats and not just consuming tons of empty calories or carbohydrates. Second, I sweat a lot less. This may seem weird, but I used to overheat at just the slightest change in temperature and literally be drenched with sweat. It was gross. Third, I am generally happier. My mom says I have been making jokes more, and sometimes I can tell that I am just generally happier than I have been in quite a while. Lastly, when I am in a bad mood, depressed or angry or really tired, I tend to be very sassy, but when I am depressed, I have noticed that I do not get as depressed as I had when I was on my antidepressants. Strange how the medication that is supposed to make you less depressed makes you more depressed.
Do I feel more in touch with my body now that I am off medications? Yes. I feel that I am finally starting to realize when I am getting depressed or anxious earlier so that I can distract myself and keep it from getting worse.
Is going medication free for everyone? No. I know that did not imagine that I would be coming off my medication this soon or even at all. I know that for others, even though the medication does not help much, they would be much worse getting off of the medication and for them going off medication is not a feasible option.
What is my next step? I am going to start Cognitive Behavioral Therapy soon in hopes that it will help me to be even more in tune with my emotions and brain. The book I ordered says the process takes seven weeks, so I should finish the entire process a couple weeks before school starts up again.