#BlackGirlHealing: My Life After I Stopped Taking Depression Meds

Nikki LynetteWhen I was prescribed medication for anxiety and depression five months ago, I was extremely apprehensive about taking it. The first time I’d been prescribed an antidepressant it resulted in a suicide attempt. I was afraid of that happening again. But, seeing as how I was hospitalized in a mental health facility that could keep me longer if I refused medication… Let’s just say I was motivated to give meds a shot.
Taking medication definitely stopped my crippling anxiety and stabilized my mood. But it also made me groggy, increased my appetite and led to me gaining 10 pounds. One day, after being unable to jog around the block due to fatigue, I decided it was time to quit.
When I told my doctor that I was quitting my medication, she was not pleased. She warned me about the extreme side affects people experience while coming off of meds. And I knew she was right, because I’d already done my own research. People who quit their meds report everything from cold sweats to something called “brain zaps,” a painful sensation that feels like a lightening bolt surging through your skull. My doctor urged me to reconsider. However, she couldn’t deny that I was stable enough to cope without meds. So my mind was made up.
At this point, it is important for me to mention that it is not safe for everyone to quit their psychiatric meds. Different people take meds for different reasons. If yours help you deal with a chemical imbalance or extreme mood disorder, take your freaking meds! Research shows that my particular mental health issues can be managed through diet and lifestyle. So that’s precisely what I did.
Quitting meds was a process. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, I tapered off slowly. I started by…