This week I halved my dose of anti-depressants.
I called my Doctor because I’ve been concerned lately.
I haven’t been feeling the depth and breadth of emotion I think I should be. I’ve felt generally numb, limp and lifeless; not particularly down but not right either.
I haven’t changed dose or brand of pill lately – I am on 100g Sertraline – but my Doctor confirmed that it is still possible for my biological reaction to the medicine to change seemingly out of nowhere (although I have been going through some stress so it’s not really out of nowhere). She suggested I go down to 50g, so I did.
The last 4-5 days I’ve felt absolutely awful. Depressed, anxious, panicky, tearful, hopeless. I’ve been hired for an acting job and I’ve been unable to learn and practice my lines because I’m struggling to concentrate. I’ve felt overwhelmed. Desperate. Dizzy. I’ve longed to stay in bed. I’ve longed to escape my mind and body just for an hour or 2 to get just a little bit of respite.
I’ve longed to not go out but I’ve had to go out and it’s been a massive task. It’s used all my energy. Every step has been ridden with anxious, depressed thoughts and fighting back tears: yesterday when I walked past a coffee shop, the sight of a half-eaten leftover croissant made me tearful. Seriously!
I’ve decided to go back to 100g to get me through my acting job and then I’ll go back to the Doctor. It is normal to feel like this when you decrease your anti-depressants and I do actually want to stop taking them soon, but perhaps now is not the right time.
It was a painful reminder of how horrible depression is, and a most unwelcome return to the horror that is the public panic attack. So it made me glad that I have this medicine available to help me.
Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, are still so misunderstood and underestimated by many people, and even as a blogger who writes about this stuff on the internet it still shocks me how ashamed I can sometimes feel about it.
And, equally as sad, is how readily I expect and how often I actually receive – especially from those in a position of authority with whom I come into contact and have to disclose my mental health to – the opinion that my little problem isn’t a “good enough excuse” or a “valid enough reason” for my genuine difficulty to cope with certain things, and how I should and am expected to “just cope” with them.
Regardless, we who live with a heightened awareness of mental health illnesses must continue to be open and keep a dialogue going in order to help others understand and to open their hearts to kindness and empathy for those whose illness they may not be able to see.
If you are feeling the way I have described, please do consider seeing a Doctor and consider getting some help; be it counselling or medicine or both. If it’s situational or reactionary depression then you could use some help figuring out how to change your circumstances for the better or least how to cope with them better. There ARE ways to feel better, trust me. Take that little bit of energy you can muster and call in help, it really will be so worth it.