Well, this post has been a work in progress. Quite literally. For a while now. I’ve dillied on it, I’ve dallied on it. But it’s time to post it. So here goes.

I distinctly remember the day I was finally diagnosed in 2013. It felt like the world shifted, I now had an answer. That very day I was prescribed an SSRI and for the next nearly 10 years it’s been my daily habit.

SSRI: a class of antidepressants that inhibit the inactivation of serotonin by blocking its reuptake by presynaptic neuron endings.

To parse that double negative and complex sounding words, my body was either blocking the creation of or not creating enough serotonin. That’s the stuff that amongst other things keeps you happy, defines your moods and stuff like that.

Now, before I get to the next bit, I want to say something very, very clearly. TAKE THE DAMN PILL. There is no shame in it, there is nothing wrong with it, and if the medical diagnosis and recommendation is to take a pill, then take the damn pill.

This is NOT a recommendation to anyone else to think about doing what I have just done, and whenever you do anything relating to medication, talk to your medical professionals first!

Back to Story Time. As 2023 rolled over, I realized I was in a very different place than I was 10 years ago. Hell, I’m in a different place than I was 2 years ago. Life circumstances have changed, work circumstances very much have changed. And I decided to look into what coming off my meds looked like.

Why would I do this when right above I just said "take the damn pill"? And you would be right to ask, and the only answer I can give you is ... because I wanted to try. I wanted to see if the shifts in myself and my ecosystem of life were as significant as I believed.

I was due for my annual checkup, and I requested that we talk about what “coming off” would look like. We talked about my rationale was, we decided I was in a place where giving it a go was plausible and so mapped out a process.

Note: a reversal was documented. If at any stage this turned sideways, I would restart the SSRI, and I had my usual stock of Benzo’s just in case things really went south.

The process is basically like any other medication withdrawal process. You slowly reduce the dosage over time, with milestones where shifts are made and several plateaus are used to allow the body to adjust.

At the end of March the nearly 3 month process of reducing was complete and The Final Plateau was reached … the zero stage. The point where no medication is taken. I’ve been on this plateau for long enough now that any immediate issues would have been observed, they have not, and I am only left with waiting for the final vestiges of side effects to dwindle to nothing.

I am very lucky, no significant issues were struck. I did have some interesting expected side effects … dizziness, fuzzy brain, trouble converting thoughts to verbalization and that “spacey feeling” from time to time. I knew they were side effects, and I could “make them go away” with exercise and other more mindful activities.

And that is how I know that I am different now. I know these things are happening. I know that this is a set of side effects. There is no way that Adam from 2013 could step back from this, analyse what’s going on, and then actively choose not to have a situation.

This would not be possible, or even a consideration, without the choices I have made and the learnings I have had. Removing myself from situations that are not best for me, choosing to spend time on things that bring joy, focusing on life and not career, and most important to identify aspects that lead to Bad Outcomes and choose to move on.

And so, this post comes to an end. I wanted to share this, not just because I’m kinda a little proud of myself, but also as a wayfinder for others. If you are in a place where you want to do this, it’s possible with the right approach. I do not advocate everyone try this, many of you reading this are on medication and should stay there, and that is QUITE OK.

For me, and only me, this was something I wanted to try. And I will leave you with one final thought.

I will take the SSRI again IN A HEARTBEAT if things reverted. Without a second thought. It is simply not worth the crapiness of that existence.

Be nice. Be awesome. Be happy.