So it has been almost eight months since I stopped psychotropic meds. I took a huge leap of faith tapering off medications under my psychiatrist’s supervision before we did IVF in July 2018. I worried about withdrawals, sleep disturbances, and mood regulation. After all I had been on them consistently for over five years. I thought they were my lifeline and couldn’t imagine functioning without them. Surprisingly, the process of stopping meds was a piece of cake and the past several months have been an eye-opening experience. In fact, it seems like a lot of the symptoms I was experiencing while taking these medications were actually induced by those same medications. Like seriously, WTF?
For instance, that nagging need to spend tons of money on shit I don’t need has virtually vanished. That my friends makes the hubs incredibly happy and helps the checking account balance substantially. Whoo hoo! It’s freeing not to need to run to the store to boost my endorphins and saves a lot of time as well. I recently Marie Kondo’d my closet and it blew my mind seeing clothes with the tags still attached that didn’t even match my style. Like bright green capris with a tropical green and blue shirt. I was obviously manic when I bought that shit.
And sleep, beautiful sleep! I haven’t slept this great in years. For years, I would have to adjust my work schedule a few times a month because I couldn’t get to sleep because I was anxious. Not worrying about anything in particular, just a experiencing a buzzing feeling in my body that was difficult to ignore. Often I had to take a Klonopin to calm my mind and body down to fall asleep. It was super frustrating to say the least. If I didn’t go into work late, I’d struggle to function through the day and wouldn’t accomplish anything when I got home. I’m happy to report I haven’t had one of those nights since. I now fall asleep easily and wake up not feeling zombified, relying on stimulants to feel alert.
And the panic, the dreadful panic that would show up out of nowhere and last for months that would make me feel stressed and in turn cause me to overwork myself and eventually burn out. It was a sneaky little shit though and somehow I didn’t even realize it was happening until it was over and I felt relief. It made me short-tempered and exhausted and it is no way to go through life. I was actually on the verge of going on disability last January because I just couldn’t go through another episode.
I still meet with my psychiatrist monthly and we’ve agreed to ride this out for as long as it lasts (fingers crossed). It’s important I check in with him often because I am not always aware when I start having a manic or depressive episode. My symptoms usually come on fast and often skew my perception of what’s really going on inside. I’m very good at faking it which complicates things. It’s a natural defense mechanism of mine and a very dangerous one. So I keep up with my appointment schedule and I take exceptional care of myself. I fuel my body with the best nutrition with some cheat days thrown in to keep me fulfilled and I abstain from alcohol. It has kept me grounded while my husband and I have dealt with an incredibly stressful life event these past two months. The fact that I’ve made it through without medical assistance is quite extraordinary and I am grateful.
***I’ve had success without meds, but that does not mean you should stop medications on your own. You should only do so while working with a medical professional.***