First of all, my apologies for my prolonged absence. I hadn’t intended on leaving it so long between posts, but I’m back now 🙂
I want to do a quick update from where I was the last time. After taking 3 months away from life, living at home with my mum and just checking out for a while, I moved back up to Belfast at the end of March and moved into my aunt’s house. She’s very kindly been putting me up ever since then, which has been a huge relief financially, as well as being lovely having the company around.
When I moved back up, I decided to drop my anti-depressant dose at the start of April, as I had been feeling better and better each week. I dropped my dose from 30mg to 20mg Citalopram, despite being advised otherwise by my GP (I’m stubborn). I’d had it in my head that I was going to drop my dose over the summer so that I could come off the anti-depressants by the end of 2015, but that turned out to be a bad idea.
I knew, of course, that it’s advisable to stay on the anti-depressants for 6 months after feeling better. I was feeling fantastic in April – probably the best I’d felt in years and years. And I really felt like I could cope with a lower dose, but I was wrong. After dropping the dose, I started having ups and downs. Suicidal thoughts came back – just ideation, but it was still scary. In one way I felt better – more alive, less numb and more emotional. But although it felt fantastic to feel alive again, it came with dark thoughts that were ever present, just below the surface.
I had always thought that I was quite a positive person. But having had a month or so free from these thoughts, it was shockingly familiar when they returned. I hadn’t realised just how suicidal I’ve felt over the years. The fact that I have rarely been close to acting upon those thoughts is a small comfort, but in the past 2 years I had come closer to committing suicide than I had been willing to admit to myself.
There’s a myth, or belief, that often the most depressed people are the most outgoing, the most vibrant, the most vivacious. Having met two vivacious women recently, both of whom are on medication for depressive disorders, I can see the truth in this. I, too, am loud, full of laughter and energy, and I am extremely outgoing. So it seems that perhaps it’s not such a myth after all.
Two weeks ago, after two months on the lower dose, I upped my dose again to 30mg. I’m feeling better now, the suicidal thoughts have receded into the background, but the numbness has returned. It’s as much physical as it is emotional, and it sucks, completely. But it’s necessary, for the moment. When I spoke to my psychiatrist about this, she mentioned that it’s usually advisable for people with long-term depression to stay on medication for up to a year after starting to feel better. I felt like she was saying that I may not ever come off the anti-depressants, and part of me is resigned to this fact. But I’m not going to give up yet. I’ll give it another year and next summer, I might try to drop my dose again. I’ll wait and see how I feel though. I’m not going to set myself up for another disappointment.
I’ve realised a lot about myself over the past 6 months. I’m going to write about these revelations over the next few weeks, but I promise to do a blog weekly from now on! It’s good to be back! 😀