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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Life After Antidepressants

If you, like me, have experienced life on antidepressants and you, like me, no longer rely on having to mask and paper over life's problems, then you'll know that life after antidepressants can be so much more fun and enriching.

Some months ago I looked up an old friend of mine (she'll kill me for using the word 'old' in this sentence - ah, sod it, that's twice I've mentioned it now)

She, like me, endured the harsh reality of being prescribed Paxil (known as Seroxat in the UK). Her body, however, was medically abused, her dosage being a staggering 90mg of Paxil per day.

Eventually she weaned herself off, more antidepressants and antipsychotics being added to the mix to substitute the weaning process of the Paxil. More withdrawing and withdrawal problems arose with these substitutes but she eventually managed to kick them all in to touch and move on with her life.

She, just like me, is a writer, she writes fiction and, unlike me, writes it brilliantly. Could she have written such powerful pieces whilst under the influence of psychiatric medication? I doubt it. Antidepressants do everything but make our minds clear, substituting life's problems with a fog where within lies a complete lack of compassion and empathy. To write well one must have both compassion and empathy. I'm pleased to say she has both.

She has since suffered yet more of life's problems, this time though she has battled through them and not gone down the route of medication. People who have experienced horrific withdrawal reactions to these types of drugs rarely go back to them. We are the fortunate ones because, through research, we learned that the withdrawal effects, bouts of sadness, insomnia, anger etc were not, as many professionals suggest, the "illness" returning.

I've been privy to a new novel she is writing, it's in its infancy yet already it's a work of art, particularly when I pay attention to the detail she uses, detail that under the influence of psychiatric medication, could not be seen yet alone described.

Her eyes are open, her mind has found its creativity again and because of that she is, I believe, on the right road. She is laughing again, she is giving as good as she gets again.

She's alive, her mind, body and soul.

The irony of this is that she was offered antidepressants recently. A recent life problem that, could seemingly be fixed with a drug that would merely numb her. Yes, it was tough in the beginning but months down the line, and without the aid of mind-altering drugs, she's fighting fit and telling a story in such a unique and gifted way that will, I'm sure, be ready for public consumption at some point in the near future.

My life after antidepressants turned out pretty much the same. I wrote a book about Seroxat, had it published then, some months ago, completed a fictional book about love, life, angels and demons. Sadly, I don't think, in its current format, that its good enough to be published but I can always go back to it - maybe my "old" friend can offer me some guidance?

Life after antidepressants is so much clearer. You can see the road ahead, a road that looks appealing when faced head on. There's no fog on the road but there's plenty of compassion and empathy, you pick both up as you walk along.

'Midge' is alive and kicking thanks to her horrific experience of psychiatric drug withdrawal, without which she'd probably be stuck in the middle of the mist, confused, feeling unloved, feeling guilt and feeling nothing but hopelessness, particularly if her recent offering of medication had been taken on trust.

Love, light and peace to all those who have broke free from the demons that are antidepressants, an extra dose of love, light and peace for those of you still trying to break free from the pharmaceutical shackles.

The timing is always right to look up friends from the past, if only to wish them well. You never know, your voice may just be what they need, theirs may just be what you need too.

Bob Fiddaman