A few years ago, before I knew anything about Brooke and her work, I became seriously depressed. It got to the point that had no appetite, I was only eating 3 foods… ice cream, dry corn flakes cereal and lentil curls (kinda like potato chips), and was unable to work. One of my sisters came from Michigan and after a few days, I agreed to go to the hospital. I was admitted and then everyday the psychiatrist would check in with me and tell me that he wanted to do electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and that I would likely feel better after several treatments. He said he’d seen it be very helpful for other patients. He could have said that I needed to move to Pluto. Seriously! I’ve been a vegetarian more years than I want to count and exercised regularly before being depressed. Everyday I told him no. That was the only treatment they had at the hospital… no groups, no therapy, nothing else.
Because I still was not eating the doctor said they were thinking of putting in a feeding tube. I’d given up on my life but I didn’t want the feeding tube. After he said that I would get the feeding tube on Friday, in just a couple days if I didn’t start the ECT, I agreed to the ECT. I got the treatment and learned that it isn’t like it was 40 years ago, like in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Basically the treatments reboot the brain and my brain was sick and needed a reboot. In what seemed like a miracle, I got better.
I was in the hospital about one month. When I left the hospital I was also on two antidepressant medications the psychiatrist had prescribed. They worked. And then one day, I was looking at a lady bug in the garden and saw what an amazing beautiful tiny little creature she was, and in that feeling of awe, I recognized I was really better. I felt like me again.
I’ve rebuilt my life and am a happy person. Actually, after the inauguration yesterday, I’m more than happy! I celebrate being alive, growing and being able to work in ways that I enjoy. I’ve been a relationship with my beautiful partner for 17 years.
Now to my question… my nurse practitioner said that because I was so severely depressed, if I go off the medication then it’s not a matter of if I’ll become depressed again, but when. I disagree. I do not want to be on the medications forever. I lived 50 years without being depressed except for some time after I was violently assaulted when I was about 30, but I recovered from that. (It helped to sue the state and win.) So I have many, many, MANY years of being a happy person. I’ve been stable now for 3 years. There are troubling side effects of the medications. In May I’ll be finishing an educational program I’m in. At that time, if I’m doing everything in my power to take care of myself, exercise, eating well and thinking the thoughts that will help me be happy, then I think it will be ok to slowly and carefully taper my medication and eventually go off them. Of course, I would do this with my nurse practitioner’s recommendations on how to appropriately taper off the meds. So my question is, is there information in Scholars, podcasts or Brooke’s books about going off antidepressants?
Celebrating being alive and a happy and thankful person today. Thank you.