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What I Realized About Depression When Coming Off Medication

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It’s no secret that depression is kind of a jerk.

In fact, it’s pretty much a gold medalist in the Jerk Olympics. It’s the mayor of Jerkville. You get the picture.

I’ve struggled with depression since I was around 11 years old and, for the most part, it’s been resistant to treatment. I’ve thrown medication at the problem, I’ve gone for therapy, and I’ve even started to explore alternative and integrative options, but that mean ol’ black dog just keeps following me around wherever I go. It is not, in fact, a good boy.

Recently, I started weaning off one of my meds, and the effects have been… noticeable. Let me put it this way: if the black dog has been following me around for the past 20 years, this time the bastard went straight for my throat.

I was at one of the lowest points of my life (and that’s saying something) when a good friend of mine said something that I really needed to hear.

Knowing I’ve been coming off the meds, she said, “Remember, this isn’t you. This is you with a disturbed equilibrium.”

And she was right.

Whether or not the meds have been working for me (they haven’t), they still significantly altered my brain chemistry, and it’s going to take a while for everything to go back to normal.

Here’s the thing about depression: it will do whatever it takes to make you feel bad about yourself, and that includes straight-up lying to you in order to achieve this nefarious goal. It will tell you that you’re a failure and that you’re not good enough because, just like Pennywise the clown in “It,” depression needs these negative thoughts to survive.

Remember the gym teacher? Well, depression is one of the many forms he takes. And the worse we start to feel about ourselves, the bigger, stronger and louder he becomes.

Depression is also a thief, because it robs us of so many moments that should have filled us with joy and excitement. That’s one of the things I find most unforgivable about this insidious disease — the fact that it’s stolen so much time from me, and that it’s tainted so many memories.

But thieves are criminals and, like most criminals, depression is a coward. Once we start calling it on its bullshit, it starts to crawl back into the dank sewer from whence it came.

Remember: depression is just one part of you, and there are other parts — good parts, joyful parts — as well. I think it’s high time they enjoyed some time in the limelight that the black dog has been hogging so shamelessly.

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

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Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

Originally published: January 4, 2018
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