The first thing to confess is that coming off anti-depressants fell through.
I got as far as halving my dose – so, two smaller cuts – before I could feel the familiar old panic start to rise in my chest and I ended up at my doctor’s in tears. Stability, for now, seems to be 150mg and, as my doctor quite sensibly as a general rule refuses to meddle with anybody’s levels over the Christmas period, is on course to remain that way for some time to come.
When I tell people this, they quickly try to reassure me with the old lines about how you’d medicate a physical illness if you needed to and that this isn’t a defeat, which is fair enough, but it misses the point that it never felt like one in the first place.
I’ve long stopped thinking that taking anti-depressants is a weakness.
I want off them because I want the headaches to stop, and the dry mouth to stop, and I’d like to be able to get out of bed in the morning after eight hours sleep and actually feel capable of getting on with my day. I’d like weekends like other people get to have: a Friday night spent somewhere that isn’t my bed, a Saturday with the energy to clean the house or see a friend. I’d like to remember to have in breakfast food, and I’d like to spend more time reading. There’s so much that I want to do and see and think and write; and I don’t think it’s fair that I have to sacrifice so many of the hours that are supposed to be my own just so that I can hold down a job.
Any time I complain about the bone-weary exhaustion, and the pain, I get told that I need to be more careful with my choices: that I take on too much, and that the blogging should take a backseat. It makes me miss my old doctor, the one I tried to follow to her new practice only to be told I didn’t have the right postcode. She was the one who encouraged me to take a holistic view of life, and told me that it shouldn’t be a question of having to cut out only the things that make me happy.
And so, I pause. Again.