The catalyst isn’t important in this story, after all, the why is different for everyone. Whether it be a build up of little things that eventually break the metaphorical camel’s back or a huge, life shattering bombshell, the end result is the same – you cease to function correctly. And after a while, be it long or little, you start to realise that you can’t sustain this way of living anymore. You realise you need to take action and end this negative spiral. You realise there are 2 ways you can go. You can stay where you are until the chaos consumes you and you’re lost forever or you can fight your way through the fog and out the other side. This is the story of my route through the fog.
When I started taking the tablets it wasn’t so much a choice, more a necessary. I had contemplated it on and off for a while when I started realising I felt sad more often than I felt happy. I had talked myself out of it, thanks to the long list of preconceptions I’d put in my own way. This time it was different. This time I was at rock bottom and it wasn’t so much as a suggestion from the doctor, more a direction. So I took the tablets and thought to myself this was going to be a miracle cure and thus began to attempt number one.
Three months later, after religiously taking my tablets I started to realise I felt okay again. I was still quiet, introverted and lacking confidence but I was a lot more stable and less likely to burst into tears because somebody used the wrong tone of voice. So I went back to the doctor and said I’d like to come back off the tablets (after all I was on a relatively low dose anyway) And started to walk without my crutch.
What happens if you walk without a crutch before your leg has healed? You end up hurting it again.
And so after a few weeks of feeling like I was coping I crashed and burned and realised that actually, nothing had changed. The things that had caused my stresses were still there, the way I reacted to those triggers hadn’t changed and unfortunately I was unaware of any of that. Once again, I was back in the fog feeling even more lost than the first time.
My stomach was heavy with nausea, my skin cold and clammy, my head aching with worry and there was me not wanting to go back to the doctor because I felt like a failure. I thought the doctor would judge me because I hadn’t coped or would refuse to let me have the tablets back because I hadn’t given them long enough the first time around. You wouldn’t believe the amount of reasons I invented to avoid going back, but once again when it all came to a head, I found myself back there having the same conversation with a few more tears, bearing my soul to a very understanding GP. I haven’t worried and I left the surgery with a prescription for a stronger dose and a feeling of great relief.
This time I stayed on the medication for a lot longer, around a year actually and by the time I came to make the decision to try again, I felt amazing. I was stronger, I was more confident I had a plan. I went back to the doctor and had a chat, I made it clear I wanted to come off the tablets gradually so that I wouldn’t crash this time. Unfortunately, I saw a locum who didn’t know me and wasn’t particularly helpful. She advised me that I should reduce my dose by 10mgs a week for 4 weeks and then stop. It sounded too fast, it sounded like a mistake but at the same time I felt so good I assumed this would be fine, after all, she was a doctor.
I followed her advice and within a week of completely stopping I was having palpitations, dizzy spells nausea, tears and hanging on to the top of a very slippery slope with a steep drop. Fortunately, I recognised my symptoms before they overtook me and I feel very proud of the fact I went back to the doctors (again) And did what was best for me.
And so this is where I find myself today. Yes, I’m still on the tablets, but actually, that’s okay. I’m happy, I’m comfortable in my own head which is the biggest achievement and a feat that once seemed impossible.
So now, rather than worry about when and how I’m going to come off of the tablets I’m living in the now. I’m using this new found clarity to learn new ways of thinking, new ways to handle the challenges and obstacles life has the habit of hurling in our way and new ways to help other people that are living a similar experience.