Life after Pills

Things are pretty good right now.

I’ve been off my antidepressants for at least a month now? And other than the first few days where it was too dramatic of a change, it’s been fine. Even though I talked about weaning myself off gradually, I didn’t because I was lazy and just stopped taking them.

It really helps that things in life are good. I’m seeing a good variety of my friends and family, I’m trying to accept my body (still can’t wait until I’m in the city and can get myself around and can go exercise), and I’ve been having such a great time at work because I love what I do and the people that I work it (plus they just hired me full time yesterday!! My first full time job and I really can’t complain about anything). So that helps.

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Life is pretty good right now.

Alternatively, my friend who went off antidepressants before I did has some days where they worry that things are getting bad again since things in life are subpar, but ultimately they feel alright and going off pills was the right decision.

I’m surprised at how much I’m feeling though. I think I have to accept that I’m more sensitive to things now, so while I won’t get teary, I do get pre-teary at stories and media more than I thought I would. But I guess I was numb for so long that I forgot how much I used to feel haha. It’s strange feeling the world in a range of emotions; meds were super necessary when mostly what I felt were negative feelings, but when I was on them for a prolonged period, it shifted the range of feelings to incorporate slight positive and slight negative ones, which meant fewer feelings but at least some were positive. Now I’m feeling it all and it’s good and I feel so alive, but it takes some getting used to.

The biggest surprise – although it makes sense – is how going off antidepressants affects my period. Last July I switched from birth control pills (Which I had been on for… six years?) to an IUD and like most people that get IUDs, I am in love with it. I was on Loestrin before and it reduced my period so that I would bleed lightly for maybe three days, but the IUD erased it and it was so convenient. I think the lack of period sort of weirds people out, especially if they don’t like birth control in the first place, but if you’re on some sort of birth control, you ought to know that the period that you’re having isn’t real: you aren’t releasing an egg, you’re not really shedding lining, and the only reason you take those sugar pills or have hormone-free days is that doctors thought it was a good idea to mimic the natural process. So why wouldn’t I love birth control that means I don’t need to use tampons or liners, creating waste and being inconvenienced?

The lack of period happened “instantly”, where I didn’t bleed in August and I didn’t see a speck of anything until I went to Seattle in January, where I hypothesize something got weird because of the time difference. I went to Calgary in July and nothing happened then, but I think I did see the slightest (i.e. one washroom trip) thing in August.

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Bless you, Canadian West Coast, for not inducing my period. (Rolling my eyes at you, NW US.)

But. Now, damn those antidepressants! The past week I’ve actually had my period. Not enough for a tampon, but I’ve had to wear liners every day and I’m hoping it’s going to stop soon, but there’s no way to tell lwhat will happen because my hormones are still adjusting themselves and nothing about this is something I’ve experienced. I mentioned this to my aforementioned friend and they said they had heard the same thing.

To nobody’s surprise, when you look up “antidepressant discontinuation”, they’ll say you might get symptomatic again with things like anxiety, dizziness, etc. and then the article will instruct you on how to taper off; nobody ever mentions your period, y’know, another hormone-dependent process in your body. When they make these lists of “things that MIGHT happen, but everyone is different, so obviously we can’t say anything FOR SURE”, it would be nice if they included this thing, even if it only says, “your period might get weird in some way lol i dunno”. But why would we ever talk about our periods? Only half the world gets them.

Anyway, other than having this one week of regular bleeding (and it’s not like I get cramps or any other period symptoms), everything has been absolutely great since coming off antidepressants. No more anti-sadness or anti-baby pills is so nice??? I can’t believe people live like this.

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