Coming off Prozac: 3 ways to get back on the horse after a wobble.
Continued from ‘My first wobble since coming off Prozac’.
I’m touched. Taken aback. Bless you, each of you who got in touch after I hit ‘publish’ on my last post ‘My first wobble since coming off Prozac’. Some of you asked if I was ok, and others said they could relate. It was one of those bits of writing where you’re like, hmmmm, should I? I had a niggling feeling that post could come back to bite me on the arse, but I also knew the most useful content for others in the same boat, trying their damndest to wean off anxiety meds, would be the juicy stuff. The reality is, personal growth is never a perfect upwards trajectory. It’s a messy upward spiral where we cycle around the same old self-sabotaging behaviours, mastering them gradually each time they come around. Wobbles are to be expected. Growth is getting back on the horse.
So let’s saddle up shall we? With three tips…
#1 Recapping your ‘why’
Why did you want to try coming off meds in the first place? For me there were a few reasons:
- I wanted to build resilience: I feel called to master my emotions. I am inspired by people like the great breathworker and world record holder Wim Hof, who has cultivated courage and strength. I believe our heroes are a mirror to fledgling aspects of ourselves, the potential that we too have to be great — if we have the motivation and determination to tap into it.
- I want to prevent the risks associated with meds: In my post ‘Prozac and the path of surrender’ I touched on how recent studies suggest SSRIs can have a negative impact on your gut microbiome, which in turn can exacerbate mood disorders. Put another way, the medicine can actually become the poison. So I’d rather use it only as a last resort. Which segways nicely into…
- There is no emergency: If I was in the throes of an extremely severe episode of depression/anxiety then I would not be looking to come off Prozac at this time — but thankfully I am not. If you’ve been following me for a while now you’ll already know that one of the main reasons I wanted to come off of Prozac now is because I actually doing pretty well. Yes, I get PMS. Yes, I have off days, but that’s just being human. I will not medicate being human. Not when there’s no emergency.
#2 Change the frame
After I posted about my wobble (and spent a few more days feeling bleurggh) there came a point when I wanted to stop talking and writing about Prozac and anxiety. I started fantasising about having one of those gorgeous Instagram feeds: me in soft-focus, in an array of fabulous outfits, celebrating life — always on location darling. In short, I got tired of my own narrative and started to wonder if changing up the story would speed up my recovery. ‘Recovery’. Even that word creates a certain frame, paints a picture of someone that needs to go gently and wrap themselves in cotton wool. Who’s to say the opposite can’t be effective? Stepping into a new chapter, focusing on the things that are feeling good in the present moment, and creating some exciting plans for the future instead.
At some point, you have to stop identifying with being someone who got sick and practice telling yourself and the world you are well - bloody fantastic actually. I’ll go first:
- I am enjoying writing this post.
- I am excited about my plans to move to Brighton this summer.
- I am looking forward to creating new daily routines there, like walking along the seafront.
- I am at peace with my perfectly imperfect progress.
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment and share some positive things about yourself and your life.
Notice if you get the urge to add a negative caveat to your list, like ‘I had a great morning but it’s only noon so it could still all go to s**t’. Observe any urge you have to throw in something fearful, self-deprecating, limiting etc and see it for what it is:
- Force of habit. Perhaps the habit of a lifetime.
- Attachment to an old story. What new story might serve you better?
- Resistance to change. It’s natural to fear change, it’s uncomfortable, but the discomfort doesn’t last.
In weightlifting, you need resistance to build muscle. It’s the same when you’re cultivating mental well-being. You have to feel the resistance and do the right thing anyway. Every time you do, you get stronger.
#3 Wellbeing non-negotiables
When I made the decision to try coming off Prozac I knew I needed to replace meds with other ways to manage anxiety. They needed to be techniques that were proven to help prevent and alleviate symptoms, and they needed to become non-negotiable parts of my week. I chose exercise and I kept it really simple:
- 3–4 home work-outs per wk: Nothing fancy, no expensive equipment.
- 7000 steps a day: Just a walk to my local park.
I hold myself accountable by logging what I do in MyFitnessPal app, the adult equivalent of a gold star chart. The free version is plenty good enough.
Another great ‘non-negotiable’ for wellbeing
Another proven technique that prevents and alleviates symptoms of mood disorder is Transformational Breath®. Book an online /in-person 1-to-1 session with a certified facilitator like myself to learn a time-honoured breathing technique that is scientifically proven to support physical, mental and emotional health.
Subscribe at www.hayleyjade.co to get monthly confessions straight to your inbox, plus special offers on Transformational Breath®.
Disclaimer — This piece is not intended to offer medical advice. Its aim is to inspire and inform. Take what resonates with you.