To Pill or Not to Pill: Considering Antidepressants (Again)

First, a touch of background (though I’ve mentioned this in previous posts):

October 2015:  I started taking Zoloft in 2015 after a sustained period of depression and social anxiety (about 16 months) which culminated in a period of intense depression/anxiety, OCD, muscular ticks, trichotillomania, suicidality, self-harm, etc. Basically, a bunch of psychological diagnostic jargon that just means I have no healthy coping mechanisms. 

November 2016:  Anyways, the Zoloft really, really helped. I felt happy for the first time in a long time, and that was sustained for almost a year… until I stopped regularly taking my pills. After sporadically taking my pills for a month, I crashed, became extremely suicidal and didn’t leave my bed for 6 weeks.

January-September 2017:   After that, it wasn’t the same. I switched to Prozac, no help. Increased my Prozac to 40, 60, and finally 80mg, the maximum dosage, but still struggled with feeling chronically hopeless and fatigued.

September 2017:    In September of last year, I decided to stop taking antidepressants. They weren’t helping sufficiently, and I was afraid they were causing me to binge excessively. At that point, I was struggling deeply with my drinking, with my eating, and didn’t see any help in antidepressants. I weaned off over about 6 weeks, and took my last pill in early October.

October 2017:   I went through a month of withdrawals, mostly involving intense dizziness and faint spells, but that subsided. I figured I was fine.

November 2017:   Unfortunately, the depression began to creep back in. At first, it was in the form of mild withdrawal, sadness, feeling a bit darker than usual. By late November, I was once more unable to leave my bed, stopped eating and bathing, and withdrew completely from other people. Throughout November and December, I felt extremely irritable, sad, and I binge drank daily.

January 2018: I made a New Year’s resolution to get happy. I returned to school, and hoped I would feel better from a change of scenery. What actually happened (and what I should have predicted) was that I got worse, began skipping meals, and having visions once again of suicide.

So now, I’m left with a dilemma. After stopping antidepressants, I became depressed again. And it hasn’t lifted in almost three months now. It’s difficult to function, and even preparing food or changing my clothes feels like a mammoth task most of the time. I’m beginning to wonder if I should take antidepressants again.

When I stopped taking pills, I was overjoyed. I had felt under the grip of medication for so long, and I finally felt like I could control my own happiness, my own life. I don’t want to give that up.

Theoretically I could try therapy first, but I’ve gone through 5 therapists and had considerably negative experiences with that. Plus, I know for a fact that I don’t have the energy to take a bus out to the city to meet with a therapist that I’m afraid doesn’t like me. Theoretically, I should exercise more and eat healthier foods to feel better, but even that feels out of my grasp.

I’m stuck at an impasse, in my point of view, and while I wait to decide I continue to feel dark, sad and helpless. I think what I’m most afraid of, though, is not that I’ll lose an element of psychological freedom if I begin to take pills again… it’s that the medication might not help this time. And then I’ll really be stranded.

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