I came across this video on Guardian Online whilst having my first cuppa of the morning and thought that eighteen people describing their own experiences of anti-depressant might be useful to somebody, somewhere out there. My own take on this? Well, citalopram, one of this class of drug, was intermittently part and parcel of a toolkit to manage depression that involved a bit of CBT, adopting oh so powerful mindfulness techniques and changing aspects of my life that needed a good old overhaul. It surprises me that I've been off it for over six months now.
Perhaps I continued with the medication for longer than I needed to. Certainly I was avoiding the regular reviews scheduled by my GP practice because I was afraid that the medication would be stopped. I feared relapse and quite rightly too. Struggling with mental illness is horrible and robs you of great big bits of your life. I was also a bit concerned about withdrawal effects and this, in spite of a gradual withdrawal of the drug, did turn out to be a little on the annoying side. All that head zapping only finally went away completely after two or three months.
Now I'm left standing on my own two feet without pharmacological support. Happily, I can say that I'm certainly not depressed. Life is very much worth living and in the main I'm joyful, busy, and appreciate all that is going on in the world around me. What I hadn't realised though was that the drug suppressed my emotion quite widely. Now, things happen that instil feelings of anxiety. I took the kids to Go Ape for what was my second visit. Whereas before, with a good dose of citalopram hurtling through my system, I launched myself with gay abandon off a platform and into a big spider's web of a cargo net, this time abject fear took over. I wimped out and took an easier route down in spite of the 'cowdy custard' type cries from my fellow monkeys. At other times, like when my knee last gave way, I cry my little heart out. That just didn't happen when I was taking the pills.
Rather than seeing these emotional piques as symptoms, I see them as part and parcel of everyday life and a sign that I have returned to nornmality. And in a way I'm thankful that I've got them back.