Note: This post is a brief description of my personal, medical journey. Please speak to your doctor before starting or discontinuing any medications.
Unmedicated :: Seeing Myself Through New Eyes
I’ve been on various medications for years, almost as long as I can remember. I’ve been treated for anxiety, post-partum depression, and ADHD. I took two or three prescription medications almost daily for 20 years. Throughout my life, I came to accept that I may always need medication to help the chemical imbalances I seemed to have, and I’ve been okay with that.
Who Am I?
I knew myself as a fun, caring woman with a sunny disposition. I also knew that I didn’t have many “big feelings.” I got upset, but never furious. I was happy but never ecstatic. I wondered what effect the medicine had on dampening my emotions, but was too afraid to stop taking it for fear I’d end up an anxious, unfocused mess. I confided in my Psychiatrist who told me that we could try something new but there would be a transition time before they would take effect. It never felt like a good time.
My Body Sent Me A Message
A few months ago I started getting headaches around 2 pm every day. I felt extremely moody and those big feelings I missed were suddenly uncontrollable. After making all of the usual changes (diet, exercise, waiting for my period to come) I called for an out-of-cycle appointment with my doctor. As it turns out, one of the medications I was on was only supposed to be taken for about a year; I had been on it for several. We decided together to taper off of all medications to re-establish a baseline.
Learning How To Emote
My Psychiatrist referred me to a Process Therapist to help me through this transition and I started with her three months ago, first meeting weekly and now every other week. My official diagnosis with the Process Therapist is “adjustment disorder.” Meaning now I have to adjust to living without emotional bumpers. I’ve discovered that I LIKE who I am unmedicated. I am most certainly sassier, I cry more often (but not too often), I can be unfocused at times but most importantly, I speak up for myself. When I encounter something I don’t like, I say something! When I am excited, I might even literally jump for joy. I can make decisions without overanalyzing what impact it may have on every human in my vicinity. My therapist is helping me manage the parts of my personality I’d like to improve (active listening and focus) and helping my family get used to the new, vocal me. I don’t put up with much anymore. I have been able to set clear and firm expectations. I ask for what I need and push back on what I don’t. So far and with a lot of help, I’ve been able to work through my struggles unmedicated.
Getting Right With Yourself
I am NOT saying, hey get off of your medication and come ride the freedom train with me. I truly believe had I done this sooner, I wouldn’t have been ready to manage what’s on my plate physically and emotionally. With the hot topic of the Opioid Crisis, I know now that I am certainly more aware of what I take, for what and for how long. I am so grateful for this process and am looking forward to knowing my baseline emotional state. Some days are amazing, others I struggle. I might need to go back on medicine someday, but for now, this ride is worth taking.