Coming off the meds (Again!)
I’ve been on anti-depressants for over 25 years! I’m currently weaning myself off them. Every time I’ve tried to come off them before I’ve had a relapse, as you may know from my previous posts. This time I was, and am, determined to stick with it and work through any feelings that come up. I know that negativity is bound to come up as the medication has been suppressing my feelings for such a long time.
This time I’m doing things differently. Firstly I am coming off the medication very slowly. Secondly I am being supported by a homeopath, Tessa Jordan, as well as my regular TFT sessions with TFTVal and my daily Buddhist practice. Thirdly I am determined that when the negative feelings arise, I will work through them instead of running away.
I started coming off the medication at the beginning of December, slowly cutting down from 150 mg. I’m currently down to 100 mg. My life-state has been high so I was confident that I could easily accomplish it this time. After two or three weeks however I noticed that I was starting to have feelings of low mood and anxiety. I knew these were warning signs but I buried my head in the sand.
At the end of February, my boyfriend Andy, also known as Mr. Sexy Pants (MSP), left to go on holiday for three weeks and for my Christmas present he bought me flights so that I could go on holiday as well. As I recall his words were, “It’s the least I can do as I’m f*cking off to New Zealand for three weeks.”
In the few days leading up to MSP’s departure, I started to feel anxious about being separated from him for so long. I knew that I’d fallen into the trap of making my happiness dependent on external people and things. On the morning of his departure however I cheerfully waved him off. That afternoon I became engulfed by my emotions and I wept at the thought of not seeing him for over three weeks.
I spent a week in Portugal and then two and a half weeks in Egypt, where I used to live. During my time in Portugal I noticed the anxiety and low mood was getting worse. I asked my spirit guides and unconscious mind what was causing it and the answer that came to me was that I needed to spend some time alone in meditation and contemplation. On the flight to Cairo I gave myself some angel card readings and I received the same message, as well as messages about the need to heal childhood wounds and the need for self-forgiveness.
In my previous blog post, Silent Retreat, I recommend ‘switching off’ on a regular basis. I always dread it but I feel refreshed and re-energized afterward. Since I moved in with MSP in May I haven’t done this at all.
The first couple of days in Egypt were great. It was lovely to be back and catch up with old friends. After a couple of days though, I started feeling lonely and homesick. I felt desperate to be back in our lovely home with my cats. I also knew that my friend who I was staying with was going away for a few days and the thought of being alone in Cairo terrified me. My friend also read my angel cards for me and again the message of needing to spend time alone came up.
One of the reasons I’m coming off my anti-depressants is that MSP and I are trying for a baby. During the first week in Egypt I had a few funny symptoms and so I did a pregnancy test, which turned out to be positive. Even though we’d been trying, I felt totally freaked out but slowly I started feeling happy about the idea. Unfortunately, two days later I did another test, which was negative. I sought advice from a friend who is a GP and it seems likely I had an early miscarriage.
I felt a huge wave of grief. Tears poured down my face and snot dripped from my nose. The emotional pain was so intense. It almost felt like a physical pain. I just wanted it to stop. I contemplated suicide as a way of ending the pain. I thought the only option was to go back on the higher dose of anti-depressants.
I’ve recently started my new business ‘The Happiness Club’. My life’s mission is to learn to be happy and help others do the same. I berated myself, “How can I help others to be happy if I’m incapable of happiness without anti-depressants myself?”
The next morning I awoke still feeling at a loss and totally hopeless. When my friend got up and joined me in the living room she held me as sobs wracked my body. I started to feel better and I realised that I had to have the courage to fight this negativity. Apart from anything else, I had to do this to fulfill my mission!
Nicherin Daishonin, the Buddha of the Later Day of the Law says,
“Something uncommon also occurs when an ordinary person attains Buddhahood. At such a time, the three obstacles and four devils will invariably appear, and the wise will rejoice while the foolish will retreat.”
I made a plan to spend a few days at another friend’s apartment by the sea. I knew from experience that the healing energy of the sun and the sea is so powerful. It also gave me an opportunity to disconnect and spend some time alone in contemplation. Being alone didn’t seem such a scary prospect by the sea as it did in Cairo.
So off I went. When I felt the negative feelings arise, I allowed myself to really feel them instead of trying to resist and I noticed they disappeared very quickly. In fact when I looked my feelings squarely in the face, I could no longer see or feel them. It was like trying to catch a bubble. As a result of this I began to feel a sense of serenity. When the negative feelings came up I repeated the process and again they quickly evaporated.
I am determined to face this challenge head on. I know that as I continue to reduce my dosage, the suppressed emotions will come up for healing. I am confident that by allowing myself to feel the feelings I can deal with them and heal them. I have a support network of great friends and fellow members of the Buddhist organisation SGI. There are alternative therapies that I’ve found to be beneficial. I have a vast amount of tools that I’ve learned to use over the years. Some of which I’ve shared on my blog and some to be shared at a later time. This is the perfect opportunity for me to take my own medicine.
I am hesitant to say that I will be able to completely come off the anti-depressants as I’ve said that before and was unsuccessful. I am scared of making a fool of myself. It does feel different this time though.
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