Detoxing off antidepressants is no joke. I have sadly been on them most of my life. I started developing panic attacks at age 14 with fair rides, airplanes, and elevators and then it quickly became anxiety from everything and I went on the anti-depressant, Celexa at age 15. I have tried them all and have been on/off them a few times over the years. But recently, with some ongoing health challenges involving my hormones and gut health, I was pondering the idea of getting off the antidepressant I’m now on, Cymbalta as the side effects are now outweighing the benefits. With a big birthday around the corner, turning 40 (my biggest insecurity) I have been trying to get to the healthiest place I can. Physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally.
God had kind of put it on my heart this season to try life again without this medication, as I’m pressing into these goals. It was made apparent when I realized I had forgotten my refill and was out of it. So, day 1 was forced and it’s been no easy task….
First off, these medications can get a bad rap, but I highly recommend going on them for a period of time, especially when you are in a very dark place, experiencing panic attacks, relentless, overwhelming thoughts or uncontrolled emotions. If 1 is “I want to curl up in a ball and die” and 10 is “I have the most blissful, joy ever”, antidepressants kind of keep you in a safe space between a 4-6. And that can be necessary in gaining ground on your mental health. But I was ready to try something new.
A very bad flu response came first. Full on nausea, deep headache, sore throat, bad body aches, and insomnia for about a week and a half. You feel very lethargic and like you are under water and slow. You get brain zaps and can’t think of words. They say day 5-14 are the worst. Days of terrible, shaking anxiety with dread and fear and days you hate everything, even coffee and fresh flowers bring disgust. It was really hard putting on a brave, smiley face for clients, while dying inside. But then there are these moments of pure joy and contentment in my soul out of nowhere. Colors seem brighter. Food tastes better. (This I’m kind of scared of.) I never understood “a runner’s high” or the endorphins people said they got from working out, and now I get it and actually look forward to workouts. (Kinda.) I’m almost 6 weeks detoxed off and I feel really good and strong and I feel like it’s only the beginning.
Of course, there are days and moments I feel yuck and I think maybe I should go back on, but no, I’ve made too much progress and I just remind myself God is with me through this and always will be. And that I can do this. I can do hard things. And thrive.
Covid and the pandemic put on an extra fluffy layer and through more routine workouts, and better, balanced meals with healthy proportions, I’ve lost 6 pounds and down 6.5% body fat according to my scale. I feel stronger in my body and happier in my skin and am 4 pounds from my goal. Initially you lose weight going on antidepressants as your body adjusts and you have a smaller appetite, but then it quickly adjusts and you can gain. I was on an SNRI, so both serotonin and norepinephrine, and I kinda miss the extra adrenaline you get from the norepinephrine. It’s like having two cups of coffee in your bloodstream at all times and not having that extra energy for workouts and focus is a bummer. But the sometimes unknown jitteriness I know realize I had, is definitely not. And the hormone and gut health issues seem to be doing much better, which is great.
And though I still have fear and insecurities, I feel overall more strong, at ease, and in a good place. Excited about where God is taking me and growing me and building confidence in areas I didn’t know I needed.
“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
This is my favorite verse in combating any fear and taking back the power I have in my mind that Jesus declares. I spoke this over myself several times during this process.
*Feel free to ask me any questions regarding this topic! 😊