As you might know, about a year ago I started writing another blog called 'Farewell Prozac', describing my attempt to try and get myself off antidepressant drugs. So I thought I might write another post now, with a bit of hindsight, to look back on how it all went and how things have progressed since then. This is one of those blog posts that you might find either entirely pointless or quite enlightening, but I make no apology for it being either, or neither, or nothing at all.
Looking back, it was an optimistic time and things appeared to be going well. I remember the feeling of being able to adjust to life without drugs, and then all the problems that came - but there was a long period of feeling fog-bound and disoriented, as if I didn't really know what was going on, where I began and where the drugs ended. Eventually though, that was it, and I felt that things were going well enough that I stopped the blog, as it seemed there wasn't anything left to say.
Later, I eventually realised that I wasn't coping well enough without antidepressant drugs, and so I started taking them again. As I said at the time, it was and wasn't a tremendous fail; I felt like a failure, because I realised that I couldn't cope without drugs; and I felt like I wasn't a failure, because at least I'd realised, rather than carrying on without it all and thinking I was going to be all right, even when things were going wrong.
Re-reading the Farewell Prozac blog, I rather like a lot of the writing, and I find it a lot more enjoyable than, say, some of the old blog posts on here, because there's still something that I can connect with, something personal and human, something quite emotional and quite raw. I like all of that, even if I don't like remembering all the reasons why things went wrong in the first place and why they kept going wrong, and how I couldn't quite succeed in the little task I had set for myself that I felt would make me able to deal with life more easily.
How do I feel now? I don't feel better, not completely, and I am kind of resigned to the idea that I might have to continue taking antidepressant drugs for some time to come yet, maybe for all of the future - but it's not so much resignation, perhaps, as just feeling like that's the right thing to do. Perhaps by attaching a status of negativity to being 'on medication' that we put pressure on ourselves to come off it at some stage in the future, in a way that we wouldn't with medication to help with things other than mental health problems. Maybe it's only by dealing with that that you can find some kind of tranquillity about the whole thing, some kind of peace with yourself and your situation.
The place where I am now is a much better place, I think, and maybe that's just the reason why I don't feel under pressure to make any changes. Things are going well. I have found things to occupy my brain and stop the restlessness that caused such anxiety in the past; I have my writing to entertain me, and occasionally others, as well; and I have support from a lot of people who mean a great deal to me. Nothing is perfect, of course, and there are so many things I would change, but then so many things I wouldn't change, either. I am getting to a place where it all seems all right, after all.
I suppose the thing I have learned from all this is that you might not be able to achieve the things you set out to do - like giving up antidepressants, for example - but you might be able to achieve something of value through doing it. I still quite like reading that blog, after all. I mean, there are loads of things wrong with it, and loads of things that make me wince to read, but I don't really mind at all - I did it, and I finished it, and that's that. And when you look at things with a bit of hindsight, as I am, a year on from starting that blog, you can notice that sometimes the trajectory is upwards, and sometimes things do improve, and sometimes you do feel like you're making progress, and you feel like you might just have a chance to end up somewhere good. And a chance is all I need, because I am going to take it.