Don’t Mind Me and My Readjusting Serotonin Levels

Over a year ago I was thinking, “Hey, maybe I should wean off my anti-depressant.” Then my husband told me he wanted to split up.

Time passed. I continued to think, “I’m going to do this. I just need to let things settle.”

And then I came to the decision that things are as settled as they’re going to get. So I’m off my SSRI. After all, I’m seeing my therapist about once every 9 months. Honestly, it just seemed strange to stay on it. I started antidepressants when Graham was 9 months old, with a mix of everything: a difficult baby, a touch of PPD, no support system, an overworked spouse, a family that was barely keeping it together and I was supposed to be its backbone. It was too much. I fell apart and slowly worked on putting myself back together.

It only took about a year for me to think, “Once things settle down, I think I’ll talk to my shrink about tapering my dosage and weaning off.” Then I got pregnant, had to quit my job, etc., etc. Basically things never settled down. It was never a good idea to get off my meds based on the circumstances.

At least now things are stable and set and even if my set of circumstances (divorced, tired, constantly juggling working mom of two autistic children) isn’t ideal, I’m okay.

So I’m off my meds. 

If you’ve ever gone off an SSRI before, you may know the brain zaps. They’re hard to explain. You know that feeling you get that seems to go all through your head during a really deep yawn? It’s kind of like that, but condensed into a single, acute stab. They don’t hurt, they’re mostly irritating. And by now I’m not noticing them much anymore. I think the worst of it is past.

But I have noticed this week that I am just plain crabby. My fuse wishes it was an inch long. It’s practically nonexistent. I’m short-tempered and tired and the toddler who’s been waking up constantly all night long isn’t helping. Neither is the just back-to-school kindergartener who’s showing off all kinds of new attitude. Oh, and did I mention hormones? Those, too.

I am not exactly a joy to be around these days, but the first couple weeks of feeling physically off have mostly passed. Now I just need to let my brain and mental health readjust and restabilize. 

Then, of course, there’s the final question of how things go without meds. I believe medication can be helpful. Because I spent most of my life med-free I’m going back to that in the hopes that it’s sustainable for the long term. But I know that I need to be on my guard. It’s kind of like being on a new medication, being aware of the first few weeks of weirdness, watching for moodiness and depression. 

The whole thing is strange. Trying to remember how I used to feel 5 years ago when my life was so different 5 years ago. But for now, I’m treating it the same I treat everything. Taking one day at a time, just chugging forward.

Also fun? I am not good at figuring out whether my posts are interesting at all in my current state. I have almost scrapped this a few times, which is not how I normally work. So yeah, sorry if this post actually isn’t interesting. Or if it was just fine and now it’s getting weird because of my excessive analysis. Either I’ll even out in the next couple weeks or I’ll be back in the saddle with meds again. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. It would just be a thing. A thing I can handle.


  1. Elizabeth says

    The idea of looking back after getting off meds and trying to feel out how life compares to then resonates with me. Both times I have been through that were after huge life changes, so there was no comparing. I frequently second-guessed myself trying to decide whether I was “better” enough, but I there was no going back to who I was.


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