In 1991 I was diagnosed with resistant major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. I tried every medication conventional medicine had to offer. I spent twenty five years handcuffed to the medical system because I thought I desperately needed the treatment to stay alive. I spent decades trying to treat my major depressive disorder with pharmaceuticals. In the twenty-five years that I spent on medication there were a few years where I felt somewhat good and I was not suicidal, but for the most part I thought about killing myself every single day. It was the first thing I thought about in the morning and it was always in the background of my mind. I thought I had tried everything to get relief, but looking back it’s really hard to gauge whether anything worked at all because I was medicated the entire time and the drugs were probably masking the benefits of my efforts, after all the drugs are designed to mask everything. It wasn’t until I went off all my medications that I was able to truly realize the benefits of holistic lifestyle changes.
Everywhere I turn there are throngs of people defending their depression, their anxiety, their illness. They say they need the meds, that the meds are keeping them alive. I said the same thing for years. If you questioned my condition at all, I would have told you that I will kill myself without medication which would end the conversation right there. The reality was I had no idea what I was like without medication. I just knew that right before I went on it, I was really suicidal and the doctors said the meds would help. I believed them. That was the only solution I was told at the time. I thought about suicide all day, everyday no matter how many meds I was on. What a shitty life it was.
The difference today is just totally mind blowing. I’ve been given a new life, a fresh start, although it wasn’t so fresh for me considering I came out of the depths of despair. I was sick with all kinds of ailments by the time I tapered off my meds. Sadly, I had spent so many years miserable; two and a half decades to be exact. Coming off the medications was my last hope for happiness.
It all started with a thought. Over the course of a few months, I had a change of heart. I almost suddenly believed that not only was it possible that I could be free of depression, I was going to succeed at not needing medication. I was going to experience life and feel good before I died. Time was running out. I was weak and sick as hell.
It’s been three years since I took my last dose. I can’t even believe I was ever convinced that these drugs were a necessary part of life. It’s embarrassing for me to reveal this about myself. I feel like I was duped and then I duped myself for a long long time. I feel like I was part of a cult that’s only purpose was to push psychiatric diagnoses and treatments. How could that happen? And how do I make sure I never fall for something like this again?
I was totally wrong about my illness being an incurable disease, you might be wrong too. You will never know until you begin to question the beliefs you have about yourself, your condition and honestly ask why you believe the things you do. Are they your true beliefs or were they perceived cultural truths?
Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be researched and carefully planned. There is a lot of information at The Withdrawal Project, a website dedicated to discontinuing psychiatric medications and currently the best resource on this subject.