On January 1st, 2015, I stated my New Years’ Resolution: to get completely off of antidepressants by the end of the year. This would mark my first time being fully drug free since I was thirteen.
I stopped hiding the fact that I was on medication. I began openly talking about it in my blog and on social media. People reached out to me, sharing stories of their own similar struggles. I realized I wasn’t alone in hiding, which motivated me further.
The shame I had previously felt each time I took a daily dose began to dissipate. I learned to accept that Wellbutrin had acted as a guardrail as I traveled the arduous journey from my dark pit of despair to more stable ground. It kept me from swerving off of the road, figuratively and at times literally.
Throughout 2015, my doctor and I lowered Wellbutrin from 300mg to 100mg. I experienced a very trying two-week period of time each time we dropped the dosage, and I remained gentle and loving with myself. I allowed myself to eat and sleep a little more. There were a few days where I slept 14-16 hours and still felt exhausted. Some days I was too wiped out to write my positive affirmations or go for a meditative walk. It didn’t matter; I kept going. I kept breathing and sleeping and crying and allowing my body to process and release the medication as well as its corresponding limiting beliefs.
On December 31st, 2015, I took my last dosage of Wellbutrin.
The following months were incredibly hard. Yet, I refused to give up. I held a knowingness in my heart that each moment of struggle was one step closer to freedom. It was one step closer to knowing who I really am.
I continued doing my visualizations and affirmations when I could convince myself to and allowed myself grace when I couldn’t. I continued to pray and to focus on the energy of gratitude, even when my present moment seemed to encompass nothing but lack. I kept writing every day, even though most of what came out was admittedly crap. It was oftentimes nonsensical and other times nothing but victimizing brain goo, but I chose not to judge it.
Suddenly, I started to feel more at home in my body. I began experiencing this sense of being okay, no matter what.
I now feel more in tune with my inner voice than I ever have been. I no longer feel disconnected from myself. I am calmer. I am more peaceful. I am gentler and more loving with myself. I am all of the things I’ve worked so hard to become. There are still down times, but they’re less frequent and are no longer debilitating.
As I write this portion of the article, it has been over five months since I last ingested an anti-depressant. It has not been easy. It has been downright difficult. I have been groggy, exhausted, lethargic, sad, and sometimes completely numb. I dealt with anxiety and obsessive thoughts. I gained weight. I became really sensitive. (As in… I sobbed while watching Lord of the Rings. Poor Gollum.) For the first time in my life, I came into contact with the entirety of my emotions.
And damn, are they messy. And beautiful.
The moment I stopped treating my sensitivities like a curse and began embracing them as the blessing that they are, my life began coming to life. I now utilize these beautiful gifts to help others. These people, in turn, will use their gifts to guide others toward healing and awakening. My argument is that this is why we are here. Our society is waking up… And we each have been chosen to play a part in that awakening. The more sensitive we are, the larger impact we stand to have. It’s time to stop hiding.
I am not saying “QUIT ALL DRUGS NOW!” I think there can be a time and place for medication. For me, it was a good temporary bridge during an extreme time of need. I don’t believe I’d still be here today if I hadn’t had access to anti-depressants during my darkest years. What I am saying is that having depression isn’t a death sentence. It doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you. It’s an invitation. An invitation to dig deeper and embrace your sensitivities. You are worth it. One thing I know for sure: the world is in need of your superpowers.