When I quit my antidepressant medication, I was mostly hopeful but a little afraid. Would this be the time my boyfriend gives up on me being a dark-thought disaster queen? Would I spend my days in the black pool of despair that is my depressed mind? Would my anxiety keep me from leaving home or making a phone call?
So much uncertainty.
I’ve had to take a lot of steps to deal with this medication-free. I’ve had to develop vigilance and advocate for myself. I have to make decisions daily that will be better or worse for my mental health and well-being.
Quality Time – I’m spending more quality time with my son and it has been amazing. We’ve been playing more video games together and having more really good talks.
The News – I’ve been avoiding the news entirely. I don’t click on news stories or read about the goings-on of a society that seems very much in ruin. For me, right now, it’s important to steer away from doomsday and try to make some sort of mentally productive life and a triumphant return to my creative self.
Social Media – I’ve been limiting my interactions on social media and it’s been going really well. I check Facebook daily but I don’t spend all day refreshing it like I used to. Occasionally I catch myself being a little too invested and when I do, I close the tab.
Entertainment – I try not to waste as much time on YouTube watching things that don’t challenge me. I unfollowed a lot of accounts that created mostly garbage content that pandered to the lowest common denominator and I’ve been quite happy with that decision.
Reading – I spend a lot more time reading these days. At this rate, I should double my reading goal. I’ve made a return to my lost love of learning by reading more non-fiction. I’m also stimulating my brain by reading more imaginative fiction.
Writing – I’ve been pouring a lot of my strength and time into writing. When my son goes to bed at night, I try to divide my time between reading and writing. I’m still editing my novel but I’m working on setting a goal to be done my second draft by the end of April, at which point I am hoping to let a few people read it so I can get some valuable feedback.
Relationship – I’m learning to ask for what I need, and when the answer is no, to reassess its importance and work on compromise. I know I need to put myself first and to spend time with people who elevate me rather than push me down.
Toxic People – I’m getting better and knowing when to remove toxic people from my life. Difficult decisions need to be made at times, but I remind myself to be vigilant about my mental health and self-care.
There are probably thousands of other little things, but overall my mind is in a pretty good place and things are only getting easier over time as I develop healthier habits. I know now without a doubt that medication is not the right path for me in combating my mental illness, and that I’m capable of handling things myself with the right skill-set.