Chances are, you, the reader, either take antidepressants or know someone who does. In this day and age, there is absolutely no shame in that!
For over eight years, I was dependent on antidepressants, but due to a refill delay, I was forced to go without.
After a few days of withdrawal symptoms, I was able to navigate through life without any pills.
It’s been a little over a month, but within that time frame, countless physical and emotional changes have occurred for me. Surprisingly enough, each one was a positive change!
Not only that, but I have rediscovered certain sensations that I had not felt in the over eight years I was on medication!
Therefore, I’ve decided to put together a list of some of the most noticeable changes I faced once off antidepressants.
JUST A REMINDER: I am not a medical professional and am in no way encouraging self-medicating. Consult your doctor if you have questions about discontinuing a medical treatment.
- You laugh until it hurts
I remember countless times when, while laughing, I would think to myself “am I laughing hard enough? Am I laughing TOO hard?”
Sure, I thought a situation was funny, but it’s as if I would analyze it. That in its self is a bit of a buzzkill.
Flash forward a week into my withdrawal from pills. I spent an evening watching sketch comedy shows at a friend’s house. Eventually, I had to turn it off just to give my abs a break from all the laughing!
My response to this funny show was solely based on just how funny I thought the sketches were. No mental analyzing. No holding back on humor. Just 100% organic comedic response.
Laughter used to be one of the only emotions I knew to be 100% true (even if I would think too much about it). Now, a few other responses ring true to me as well!
- Goosebumps, tears, and excitement
Later on during the night previously mentioned, my friends and I watched a Lars von Trier film. Minutes into it, I was having to fight back tears, brush off goosebumps, and hold my tongue. The film, with its epic orchestral scores and visuals, all wrapped up within a mind blowing plot, had me responding the same way I would respond to other films before medicated.
This had me thinking about the many beautiful places I had seen during the eight years prior. Yes, I loved every one of the sights I saw, but what if I were to see them now? Chances are I’d probably be pretty vocal during the experiences.
Plus, what a great incentive to get out and explore!
- Your body goes back to normal
Physical changes became visible after about a week off of meds. For eight years I could never drop the last ten pounds that put me between my target weight goal. I would blame this on my genetics, telling people that I inherited a double-whammy of slow metabolisms (which, after looking at my parents, is kind of ridiculous for me to believe).
I can say with confidence that I am an extremely healthy eater. However, this and exercising never quite got me to my goal weight.
Once off meds, that all changed. While keeping the same diet and only light exercise, the scale began creeping towards my target goal. Before I knew it, I hit it!
I should also point out that, once unmediated, my energy levels rose and I was able to exercise without the aid of pre-workout or coffee. Just good ol’, naturally created energy.
- You remember just how great tea is
This one is a bit different from the previous points, but it was something I couldn’t ignore.
I used to use tea as a substitute for sugary fruit juices. I would make a bunch and drink it straight, cold, and sans sugar.
All this would do is make me noticeably jittery and keep me up at night.
Now that I’m virtually completely detoxed of any mental stimuli, I am able to notice the effects of tea. Maybe it’s just me, but depending on which tea I drink, different subtle sensations come over me. Once they wear off, I’m back to normal. I much prefer this than the sensation of having to take a pill in order to prevent a negative mental state and its side effects (sleep paralysis, brain shocks, restless sleep, etc.)
This may all sound weird and hippy-ish, but keep in mind that I went almost a decade without feeling certain sensations. Once you notice them again, you REALLY notice them.
I can go on and on about the many other changes that I have experienced, but that’ll take all day and I have many other things to “rediscover.”
Despite all this, I am extremely thankful to live in a day and age where medical science helped me get out of bed, socialize, and enjoy life. However, I didn’t plan on taking them forever.
Looking back, the medicines I took were a way to help me control my worries as I went through life. Before I took them, I would worry about so many things. Once prescribed them, the worries were still there, but they were under my control.
The experiences I faced during those eight years helped shape me into the person I am today. I learned valuable life lessons and grew from them, all while being able to control my negative emotions better than if I were not on any meds.
The meds did their job and they did it well. They helped carry me through a time of self-molding. It came to a point, however, where their job was done. Once I discontinued them, it’s as if I left them behind ALONG WITH my worries.
True, I still worry sometimes. True, there may come a day where I use them again to help me though life, but I now know that it’ll only be temporary. Until then, I get to enjoy myself and life just how it is.