Thursday, September 27

pick your devil

When I started taking anti depressants in January to aid my cognitive behavioural therapy, I knew there would be side effects. The effects I was unfortunate enough to receive were nightmares and night sweats. But oh, the sweet, sweet relief of having my anxiety dampened, my spirits lifted...I was prepared to put up with the night-time horrors because I didn’t want to farewell my newly found day- time bliss. My shrink told me to let him know when I got sick of the side effects and I could change medication. Seven months later I was exasperated. I just wanted to go to bed without getting killed or raped, to wake up dry, to sleep like I used to. 

But instead of suggesting a change, he suggested I try stopping altogether to see if I am now able to cope without it; to see whether my anxiety can be managed medicine free. After all, I was on a small dose. All the counselling may mean that I am in a position to deal with myself.

I was told that I shouldn’t feel too much, maybe a headache...but I have grown to know my body intimately these past few years and I doubted these words would be true for me. My body takes things abnormally hard. I am the person who has an adverse reaction when none is expected. I can’t handle perfume, I can’t tolerate drugs for insomnia, I can’t drink half a glass of alcohol without becoming weak, and I can’t eat a biscuit without feeling some fast and unpleasant physical side effect. I am the girl who nearly ends up in hospital from the drug that the hospital gave me.

It has been ghastly. 

It’s frightening to realise how acutely my body is missing this drug, how addicted I have become to it. Many times in the last few days I have thought about people who are dependent on nicotine, and alcohol, and drugs...and I know why they find it so hard to end their complicated relationship with these substances. Because they can barely survive without it. What support they need.

I’ve been experiencing brain zaps – nigh impossible to describe, it’s this horrid sensation of my brain falling away and losing all consciousness for a few seconds. This happens every time I move my head. It’s sickening. Last night I was more drenched when I woke up at 3 am than ever before, and again at 7am. I lie down and sleep for hours, and wake confused, disorientated, and feverish. It’s a far madder feeling than the illness which had me go on these drugs...the first day I was so irritable I thought I had lost my whole character. I asked Ben if he would buy me a punching bag, but he didn’t think it was practical. 

These medications seem like such a blessing – oh, but are they are curse? What are they doing to me? If it’s possible to survive without them, surely that is better. Pick your devil – the torment of mental illness, or the torment of mental illness medication.

Now I wait, and pray that in a few weeks (please no longer) once the withdrawal symptoms have left I will be in a position to manage my anxiety, medicine free. 


  1. Oh the horrors of these drugs! And? How are you now? Still drug free? I should email you with all these questions xx

    1. Not drug free anymore - about a month later I was an anxious wreck, so I'm on a new drug which seems to be working pretty well. Will give it another couple of years before we try again, he thinks I will be free one day - though I think maybe I'll need them for a long time? Counseling has helped no end though. Argh, drugs are so good and so bad! xx