I have recently been through hell. It has been the hardest thing of my life and I really hope that none of you know the pain and struggles that I went through. Anti-depressants are helpful in the moment, but the lasting effect that it has on your body is awful — it is poison. Over the past few months I have been slowly tapering off of them, but last Thursday (September 14) I took my last dose. It was very hard and the days after were pure torture.
At first when I was lowering my dose, it was difficult and I would have 1-2 days where I felt like shit physically and, occasionally, I would have an emotionally “off” day. But that is the thing people don’t realize or understand – the PHYSICAL part of getting off of the drug is the hardest part to get through. If you search for “withdrawal from effexor” on Google, you will read how people have reacted to getting off this specific anti-depressant. It is awful. Half of them have to get put onto a different pill (Prozac) just so that they can get through the withdrawal. One of them even wrote that their doctor said it is equivalent to getting off of the street-drug, heroin.
After I read through that I wanted to cry. I couldn’t believe that since I was on such a high dose of these pills for almost 5 years, I would have to deal with the terrible withdrawal. My mom mentioned to me that this is similar to the struggle that people on the streets go through when trying to get off of drugs, but they don’t have the luxury that I have. It broke my heart. I can’t imagine trying to get off of something that my body had become addicted to without having a comfortable bed, a warm house, and people around that are supporting me. Add to that the fact that they have to wait until they are clean for 72 hours before they can get into a rehab center. It isn’t right, but that is the wonderful Canadian health care system for you..
So I’ve been off of this pill for 11 days now and I have been home sick from work for 4 of those days because I have felt extreme dizziness, nausea, upset stomach and other things (I feel like a Pepto commercial). Thankfully, I have only had one terrible emotional day that included feeling like I was going mental because my thoughts were going a million miles per minute and I couldn’t even slow down enough to breathe. I was literally laying on my bed hyperventilating for around an hour and sobbing. I can’t even believe that it was me acting like that. I’ve never quite felt so removed from my body like that before, and it scared me.
There have been some positive moments, among the chaos that my body is fighting off. I have noticed a few things about myself that I’m actually becoming okay with now. I even posted a typical share-everything-on-social-media-because-then-it-means-something moment on Instagram where I posted a long-winded message about my body-image, and I was quite proud of that breakthrough moment:
For as long as I can think back, I have not liked how I’ve looked for various reasons and in recent years I have gained a LOT of weight (due to a drug I was on). It has been really hard to struggle with depression and weight gain together, but as of last Thursday, I’m clean off of those evil pills. (It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life, but I’m not getting into that now.) After a few days of being off of them, my thinking is finally clearing up and I’ve realized something HUGE and I’m believing it for the first time ever.
I’m okay with my body. I know that it isn’t perfect and it may never be, but it’s mine and it works. I’m going to work at getting fit, but I’m not striving to look a certain way or have certain features – I’m okay with looking different and looking like me, there is only one Katie like me out there anyways! As long as I am comfortable and I’m attractive to the man that’s in my life, that’s all that matters to me. And if I’m constantly finding imperfect things with my body, then I’ll never be happy. And life is too special to throw it away trying to look a certain way in my early 20’s — things are going to change as life goes, so if I learn to love how I look now, I am not going to be down in the future if I gain weight or SAG! #bodypositivity #loveyourself #iamokay #cleantminusfivedays
I felt so proud of myself in that moment because I realized things that I have fought for so long. Society tries to poison our minds with showing how we should look or what we need to look like. That is an example of how my brain is finally waking up to how it should be thinking, and how it was intended to be from the beginning. I find it a little strange that my “happy pills” are supposed to make me feel better, and with that I’d expected a self-esteem boost, but it really comes from being off of them and realizing that I’m okay. I’m enough. I don’t need to have someone else telling me what my worth is. (Although compliments never hurt, and being a words of affirmation girl, I always appreciate that).
So here’s to transforming my life. We can do this. I have hope for every one of you out there who struggle with self-image, self-worth, depression, anxiety, or any mental health issues. I know it may sound cliché, but I understand. I get what it feels like and how it hurts and everything. So if you need anything, just comment and we can support you. As much as it may feel like it in the moment, you are not alone.