I’ve been on medication for postpartum depression since March of 2017. It’s been almost 18 months.
I have never been one to look to medication for the answers. I never believed in a magic pill. I still don’t, but I firmly believe that medication has an important place in aiding people in their healing. When I went to my OB to ask for a prescription to aid in recovering from my ppd, I knew I didn’t want to be on this medication forever. I know that medication can do incredible things to help people, but I also know that every medication comes with side effects that can negatively impact you.
My resistance to medication was partially because of my husband’s bias against medication. His mom was in a terrible car accident that left her in chronic pain that led to an addiction to pain meds. This eventually led to her sudden death several years ago. Jesse had already had a bias against meds because he saw what they did to his mom, and after her death, this intensified. It’s not that he refuses to use medication; it’s more that he feels that they’re overprescribed.
But I went on medication, believing that it would help me to recover. And it has. I’m here to talk about my process of getting off these meds.
From 100 mg to 75
On May 16, I sent a message to my doctor, telling her I wanted to wean. With her guidance, I cut my pills and the 50 mg dosage she sent to me in half. A couple of days later, I switched to taking 75 mg of Zoloft each day instead of the 100 mg I had been on for months.
The switch was so easy. I didn’t notice a single difference. No side effects, no increased mood swings, nothing. I took this dosage for about 3 weeks.
From 75 mg to 50
This switch was not as easy. I made this switch around the beginning of June, while we were on vacation in Athens for the Nelsonville Music Festival. A couple of days after I made the switch, my period started. This was a rough few days. I felt tired. I was touchy and easily frustrated. I exploded a couple of times. Then, after about a week, I felt normal again. My body finally adjusted, and I felt just as good as I did back when I was on 100 mg a day. Woo!!
From 50 mg to 25
This switch was the hardest by far. And the most poorly planned. I made this switch right around the beginning of July. I made the switch right as my period came back AGAIN (dumb). I made it right as Charlotte completely weaned (DUMBER). I made it right around Independence Day, which has been my least favorite holiday for a long time.
This year, it was especially triggering because of all the media exposure on the detention camps Trump has had created to hold folks who are illegally crossing the border. After reading an article about an 18 month old who had to represent themselves at a court hearing, I was 100% certain that we had nothing to be celebrating this Independence Day. I spent the days leading up to the holiday despairing over the state of our nation.
And in the midst of all of this, I decided to go ahead and reduce my dosage again. WHYYYYYY. This was SUCH a stupid decision. For anyone else looking to get off meds, DON’T DO WHAT I DID. Ha.
I was so unstable. I was screaming again. I was sobbing again. I spent one after sobbing and talking with my husband about a screaming session I had early that day. I felt like a terrible person. I genuinely couldn’t understand why anyone loved me. It was the lowest I had felt in a long time.
So I went back to my counselor. I hadn’t seen her in months because I had canceled my last session (we were out of town), and I had never rescheduled. I told her everything that was going on. I wondered if I needed to increase my dosage again. But that felt like a step backwards. My counselor agreed that it was best to stay on the lower dose. She told me to go back to basics – focus on self care. Make sure I’m sleeping, eating, engaging in check in activities, etc. Be open about my needs and not bottle them up. We were both pretty sure that if I could focus on this and just ride out the transition, things would get better.
We were right. The first week and a half on the lower dose was horrible. It was so hard. And then it suddenly got better. I focused on self care. I meditated more. I drank TONS of lemon water. I worked hard to master myself when I felt like I was about to lose it. Basically a lot of the stuff that I talked about in my last post. I finally felt good again.
Weaning completely – from 25 mg to 0
I’m now in the process of getting off the meds completely, but I’m slowing it down a bit more. I waited through my entire period this time before reducing my dosage. For the past week, I’ve taken my pills for two days, then off one day. So far, I haven’t noticed any difference between the days I’m on and the days I’m off. This next week, I’m going to go every other day. If that goes well, I’ll go to two days off and one day on. After that, I plan to quit completely. Hopefully, I’ll be med-free by mid-September.
I’m so close. I’m so looking forward to being off these meds. I’ll update you when I’m off for sure.
Thank you all for the support you’ve given me through this.