Side Effects

I tried going off my anxiety medication once before – I’d only been on it about 8 months or so, and I was feeling much, much better. I wasn’t really all that aware of the idea that it might be difficult to come off, and I’d gone on holiday and didn’t have enough to get through the whole trip. so I just stopped.

It didn’t work extremely well.

I didn’t notice much when we were on holiday, but in the following few weeks I was a mess, getting upset and worrying over big things and little things, having fun anxiety thoughts on repeat in my head, crying a lot, struggling with my brain generally. I finally made the connection (because yes, I am that dumb sometimes) and went back on my pills and things got better again.

When I was discussing this whole plan of going off the drugs with my doctor a couple weeks ago, he asked me if I’d ever gone off before. I said once, rather unsuccessfully.

“Did you have any side effects?” he asked

“Side effects?”

“Yes, did you notice any change between being on the medication and being off?”

This was the weirdest thing to me. Why wouldn’t I notice a change? And how could you call that “side effects”? since those very “effects” were the reason I went onto the drugs in the first place?

The idea that going off the drugs might cause the “side effect” of a return of my anxiety symptoms never occurred to me five years ago, but I’ve been very aware of it this time around. Sometimes I wonder if my worry about a return of worry is causing me to worry…

So far, I haven’t had much trouble, but Saturday was tough. I got sad after the less than happy ending of a TV show and that led to me being upset and anxious about other things in my life that had nothing to do with the show – they were just the excuse my brain picked because it wanted to get upset. At least that’s how it felt.

I was able to shake it off and not let it run the rest of my day or my lovely bank holiday weekend, but not before I cried on B for about 45 minutes, not even always understanding why I was crying. I wish I understood my brain better. I often can’t figure out why I am upset, or what the real root is, rather than whatever excuse I’m using. And I think that for the next couple months, that’s only going to increase in frequency. B is thrilled. So am I.

Of course today in the park we saw about a thousand babies and every time we saw one I’d go, ooh, I want one of those! They’re so cute in their summer outfits and sun hats. At least I’m going through all this for a good reason.

  1. It’s great that you are paying careful attention to how you’re feeling, so that if this route isn’t working you can consider another one.

  2. Ha, crying for no definable reason – I totally get that. Sometimes I think it is worse on my partner, she has nothing she can do to help me. Good on you for trying to go off your meds. I hope it goes well. I have been off mine for maybe 2 months now, and I notice the lack, but not enough to go back on at the moment.

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