My mental illness is something that I haven’t been shy of speaking about since starting this podcast with Sam. Especially with regard to how I was knocked down to my lowest after my Mum died in 2015.

With this in mind, I decided to do something pretty irresponsible this Christmas as a present to myself. Intrigued?

After 2+ years of being on anti-depressants I took the decision to take myself off them last week. And I’ve decided to write all about it. Mainly from a selfish point of view because talking about myself makes me feel good – sorry, not sorry.

Let’s Talk About Why

2018 has been a pretty good year when I think about it. In January I accepted a position with the company I still work for and LOVE, I signed up to the gym (and booked sessions with a fab PT) and made a commitment to myself to stick to it (I can confirm I even went to the gym on Christmas Eve), I travelled to Mexico and Portugal with my best friends, I’ve climbed mountains and seen beautiful views, and I started the DPC podcast with my absolute life partner Sam Vidler. I’ve even started to like myself.

But most importantly, I don’t welcome the idea of not being here anymore. In fact, I have a huge drive to do something with my life and make it all worthwhile. Death actually scares me now. And this is bloody fantastic.

So, with all of that in mind, I took the huge and unpredictable step of stopping my medication. I want to go into 2019 with a clear head and the ability to handle and process my deepest emotions again.

The last 4 days haven’t been an easy ride…

Why Is coming off antidepressants so scary?

I’ve talked about this briefly in my podcast ‘Talking is the best therapy’ a few months ago. The whole idea of coming off these tablets and not being able to handle something bad happening scares me shitless.

So, here we are four days in. I am an emotional mess.

One of my strongest personality traits is my outward display of complete unfiltered emotion.

Those closest to me are guaranteed to have seen me sob hysterically on numerous occasions at things that other people wouldn’t bat an eyelid at.

I feel everything so deeply. 
Ron Burgundy is my spirit animal.

My life has been a series of shit incidents and bad luck **sob sob**. Being on my medication made me feel like I would be more mentally prepared for whatever it was that was going to come next. When in reality they’ve probably just helped me tackle the symptoms of depression (the lack of enthusiasm, despair of general life and terrible desire to spend my entire life in the confines of my bedroom).

Without me even realising I’ve come to the end of 2018 stronger and more prepared for the future than ever. I finally know what makes me happy, what I need to avoid and the need to put my needs first and foremost.

Cue, looking at my half empty packet of Citalopram thinking ‘f**k it’ and throwing it in the bin.

What’s happened since?

Those of you out there that are educated on antidepressants may be shaking your head disapprovingly due to my ‘cold turkey’ approach on this. However, by the time I decided to ring the doctors, attend the appointment and organise taking a lower dose I probably would have changed my mind and done a U-turn. Trust me, it wouldn’t be the first time.
**PS I do not condone this approach and would always suggest the above method.

Antidepressants are known for numbing your emotions. In fact, when I first started taking them I don’t think I cried for about 6 months. For me that was freaking weird.

It’s fair to say that Christmas probably wasn’t the most sensible of times to take such a drastic measure. Anyone that is missing someone will know that the ‘festive season’ can be utterly unbearable at times.

Merge those Christmas blues with an emotional wreck going cold turkey off mood numbing meds and let’s just say you’re in for an interesting ride.

I’m pretty sure I’ve cried more in the last four days than I have in the last year.

I’m also experiencing some pretty intense highs and some serious clarification. Especially with regard to how I want 2019 to pan out for me. Whether that be actions I want to take, things I want to achieve, people I need to move away from or people I need to prioritise more.

What’s next…

I mentioned previously about how this festive season probably wasn’t the best choice to go T-total. Nevertheless, it’s also kind of the best time.

I have more time to spend with friends and family. And I’ve also got some spare time to sit and cry. And write blogs like this one.

By the time the New Year arrives my side effects should have subsided and I’ll be entering January 1st different to how I entered it the previous year.

2019 is all about me and I have huge aspirations for it.

If anyone wants to speak to me about taking antidepressants or about coming off them then please feel free to contact me! Trust me, I’d welcome the distraction…

2019 looks good on you

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