I have been medication free for quite a while now – the withdrawal symptoms are long gone and my body has had plenty of time to find its own hormonal balance.
So how do I feel?
Mostly, I feel okay. I have good days and I have bad days. I have whole bad weeks sometimes but it’s okay. They aren’t as bad as they have been in the past and they aren’t all-consuming, I find glimmers of happy in the middle of them, even the worst ones.
I worried at first that I wasn’t staying in control of anything but after talking it through with friends and family I have realised that actually I am just settling back into emotional normality after an extended period of numbness. Antidepressants aren’t really happy pills, they’re more like emotional sedatives – you don’t feel the crazy lows, but you don’t really get the highs either; everything just sort of simmers around the middle.
Being thrust back into natural ups and downs after this simmering period is like falling out of bed onto a rollercoaster. It takes a bit of getting used to before you can enjoy it.
I don’t want to go back on the tablets. I don’t feel like I need to either. I was afraid that I wouldn’t cope, that I’d slip back into old shadows but I haven’t – I’m tired, confused and often grumpy but then I’m also energetic, over-excited and giggly. I feel like a person again rather than a robot.
I feel like I’m rediscovering who I am after losing me for years. There’s a weight missing from my shoulders that I hadn’t even realised was there until it had gone. I feel like the kids are getting a proper Mummy at last, having not really had one for most of their lives, I feel like I’m being a better girlfriend, friend, daughter, person than I was for quite some time.
It’s exhausting and scary being an adult. But it is also exhilarating and fun in between times. I want to keep that, I want to carry on like this, with this feeling that I can get through it and come out the other side in one piece.
My social anxiety still lingers and I come back from events feeling utterly drained and needing a nap, but I get out there and I do it. That’s good. I don’t know if it will ever get easier or if this is just how it’s going to be – but it is better than hiding in a hole and never going anywhere and it is better than having panic attacks because I have to go to a shop.
I have planned to go to London to YALC again this year, but this year I’m going on my own and I’m actually looking forward to it, rather than being crippled with terror and wanting to stay home. I know it will utterly exhaust me and push me to some limits, but I also know I will have an amazing time and enjoy myself.
Put simply, I am enjoying feeling alive, with human emotions of all types.
I am glad to be back.