A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Coming off Citalopram. To be honest, although I was finding it hard, I figured after a few days of writing that post, everything would sort itself out and I could move on.
Unfortunately, it is still tough. I can feel everything again, including anxiety, stress and a low mood. Not constantly, but significantly enough to start affecting the way I act at work and socially. I talked to a good friend about this (I am lucky to have a medically-trained friend!) and she gave her words of wisdom which helped a lot.
As it helped me, I thought I’d break it down and talk about it here:
- She advised me to write a list of all the things in my life that are currently sources of stress. This helped because it made me realise that my stress and anxiety is totally understandable. I am currently buying my first ever home and things are not going as swimmingly as expected (I will be homeless this Saturday for a while!!). Knowing that my stress is reasonable helped me to feel more at ease with the situation.
- ‘Medication doesn’t remove the source, it just dulls the effect‘: Reading this was good for me because I actually now understand what Citalopram does! I think I called the medication in my previous post ‘happy pills’ which is not the case. They just level you out and dull the feelings of anxiety etc. Understanding how something works helps me a great deal.
- It ‘might feel quite alarming if your anxiety has been dulled by meds for a while as you won’t be used to feeling it‘: Again, it was good to hear a practical reason for what I was feeling. I have lived pretty much anxiety and stress free since November last year, so of course it will be a shock to feel all those negative emotions again. I just need to figure out now how to cope without the medication.
- The most helpful thing about my friend’s advice? The fact I talked about it to someone. I felt like a load was lifted just from telling someone how I felt and being reassured that it was normal. Please don’t keep things like this to yourself – it is so important to share any problems with anxiety, depression and stress with someone, whether that’s a friend, partner, counsellor or GP.
- My final piece of advice? Don’t come off medication when a particularly stressful life event is due to take place. People keep telling me that moving into a new home is one of the most anxiety-inducing experiences in life. So probably the worst time for me to give up my anxiety-reducing drugs!
My next steps will be to try and use coping strategies to deal with the anxiety and stress, and see how I feel once this particularly stressful period of life is over…
I’ll end with a quote from Stephen Fry which sums up mental health issues very well…