Learning Who I am
To live will be an awfully big adventure – J.M Barrie
In many ways my mental health issues have robbed me of many things, I essentially missed the first 4 years of my children's lives, I ignored my partner, lost friends and distanced myself from family. It cost me my career and a whole host of other momentous and insignificant moments over the past 7 years.
Whilst it would be all to easy to sit here and lament about the things I’ve lost, and believe me it would be easy, I can instead take heed of something my gp said today ‘You need to learn who you are again’.
So, here I am, almost 7 years after I finally found the courage to seek help, preparing to end my reliance on antidepressants. This piece of paper is the culmination of 7 years worth of tears, anger, panic, suicidal thoughts, violence, desolation, emptiness, self loathing, therapy, drugs and a whole host of emotions for which I just don't have the words.
But this is my last antidepressant prescription.
I've got just over 100 days of pill popping before I'm drug free. I've been slowly weaning myself off them for the past 2 months, it’s been both exhilarating and terrifying. To know I can cope with the challenges life throws at me and my mood swings on a lower dose has been fist bumping amazing but the fear that I could slip up and revert back to the empty shell of a person I was terrifies me.
I’m still feeling anxiety at times, panic attacks are a worry as I don’t do them easy, but as shitty as they are, they beat feeling numb to everything.
The years haven’t been easy, for a long while I never thought I'd get here, it feels kinda surreal and more than a little scary.
I now need to figure out who I am, because whilst I’m a mother, I need to find an identity that is also my own. One that doesn’t live in fear and hide from people or life. And honestly, I consider myself pretty darn lucky to have this opportunity to live once again, I fully intend to make the most of it.
Whilst I doubt I will ever be able to 100% escape my PTSD and anxiety, it feels fucking amazing to know I can live with it.
And even if I slip back once in awhile, or even need the drugs again, at least I know I can beat this.
It’s too easy to get trapped in the belief that once depression takes hold you can’t escape it. I wont pretend it was or is an easy journey to recovery, but it is certainly one that is possible, one step and one day at a time.