Whisper it very quietly, but a little more than six years after I first started taking medication for anxiety and low mood, I have stopped taking the tablets. I’ve left it for a while before posting this to make sure that I am able to sustain the progress I have made and I now feel confident that the gradual reduction to nothing is permanent.
It has taken a long time – longer than I would have liked. After a while, I gave up with a timetable. Life just doesn’t work that way does it? I would devise a plan and then something happened to foil it. In the end, I stopped the medication completely as we headed into Winter – contrary to all advice and common sense but it felt right and it seems to have lasted.
I am still affected by both anxiety and low mood. The medication helped me but it didn’t cure me. It’s just that I have now reached a point where taking better care of myself and adopting helpful strategies are enough. I need to keep doing both of those things.
I would not have wished for the experience, but the last eight years have taught me a lot. They have greatly increased my compassion and empathy for others who experience mental health illness. They have enabled me to help other people more effectively. They have made me a better person.