“One day the symptoms fade,
Think I’ll throw these pills away.”
– Pearl Jam, “Down”
I went off antidepressants one year ago today, on June 12, 2018.
Life has been grand since then, but while removing antidepressants from the equation was nice it wasn’t a major factor in what followed. Instead, it was an accomplishment that pointed to several other, more significant achievements, like an improved diet and a commitment to sleep hygiene. Of course, having said that, going off medication was tied into those things; it’s not quite a chicken-or-the-egg situation, but I won’t pretend like withdrawal was insignificant. If it hadn’t have been I wouldn’t have spent so much time writing about it last year!
I’ve had a few OCD lapses since June which, given the nature of the OCD beast, have been simultaneously predictable, bothersome and utterly unremarkable. And it won’t surprise you to know, given my obsessive nature, I’ve spent more than a little time wondering whether I should see Ze Good Doctor and make sure – absolutely, positively sure – that withdrawing was the correct decision. But those moments are fleeting, and I remain convinced that I’m done with antidepressants for good (standard disclaimers notwithstanding). Ultimately, the evidence I don’t need them anymore remains overwhelming. Thinking otherwise is just perfectionism disguised as self-regard.
One of the main reasons I stopped taking antidepressants was the realization they weren’t actually stopping my unwanted thoughts: I had them when I was medicated just like I have them now, except now I can generally respond to them like a non-OCDer. Last week, for instance, a few hours after ingesting some 600 calories’ worth of Krispy Kreme donuts, I felt the gentle pull of symptom flare-up. Thus began a short, mild lapse that ran its course within a few days. The accompanying obsessions certainly weren’t pleasant; now, though, the thoughts that once scared me are more likely to merely annoy. That’s where we are with OCD c2019. Medication helped get me here. Not being on medication will move me further along the road towards recovery. Here’s to another grand 12 months!