On Parting with Lexapro
My brain feels completely empty. For the past three days I’ve been slowly tapering down my anti-anxiety medication, so I can completely stop it in two more days. I’ve been taking anti-anxiety medication and antidepressants for 9 years, exactly a year after my mother died.
I love medication. I think it’s so necessary for certain people, but it is so heavily vilified in my society that most of us have no idea what it is to begin with, but when I went to the emergency room after having panic attacks for three nights in a row I realized that sometimes you just need extra help.
Having said that, I want to get off of it now, or at least attempt to, because it’s important for me to see how my own coping mechanisms and strategies can work without the chemical assistance. I’ve been feeling ill for two days, and I assume that the fog inside my head will continue for a little bit longer until my body adjusts to Lexapro’s absence.
To be honest, I’m a little scared about having severe anxiety again, or plummeting into a hole of depression, but I’m trying to remind myself that I’m no longer the 24-year-old woman who didn’t understand depression or anxiety, but someone who is aware of signs and isn’t ashamed to seek help when needed.
I believe that the only way to end the stigma in the Arab world and in immigrant communities about mental health and medication is by writing about our personal struggles and fears. The first time I saw a psychiatrist she told me that Prozac is an anchor that helps the ship stay centered and not drift, not a potion that changes the built of the ship. She calmed my fears of taking medication not by scaring me into thinking that without medicine I will never escape the darkness, but by compassionately explaining to me that sometimes we can’t climb out of a hole alone.
Please feel free to share your struggles to get on or off medication here. I’d love to hear from you if you have any tips or advice!