I started a low dose of Prozac in early 2010, with the intention to take it about six months and be done. I did take it six months, and then it took me about six and a half years to fully be able to stop taking it completely. During these six and a half years I tried everything, from slowly reducing the prescription, to natural remedies such as St. John’s Wort, meditation and therapy. For the first few weeks, sometimes even a couple of months, I was feeling good. Then I started getting easily irritated, tired, anxious, combined with dealing with the stress of owning a business, I felt “pushed” to take it again. Each time, I would feel guilty to have to rely on a chemical to stay balanced. After a while, the positive benefits of Prozac wore off, but being off was so emotionally painful that I would go back, again and again.
I started doing research on “addiction to anti-depressants” and found very little; only a few articles and videos. When I would talk to therapists I would hear words like “chemical imbalance”, only to find out from a British doctor specializing in mental illnesses that very little is known about chemicals in the brain. It’s convenient to say “you have a chemical imbalance” to justify prescribing more medications. The fact is that not much research has been done about the true effect of anti-depressants on the brain or even if there could be an addiction to it.
After a lot of research and trying all I could to get off Prozac I decided, by mid-2017, to just stop. Yes, simply STOP and deal with the consequences. They were many, and it pushed me to question life itself, made me face some of my deepest fears and after almost a year I can finally say that Prozac is not part of my life any longer and it is not welcome back. Ever.
One key to my “success” was to decide that taking it again was NOT an option anymore. The other was to have a strong spiritual practice to rely on and the tools to make the necessary changes. I had sold my business, let go of an unhealthy relationship and moved to a city by the ocean where I could retrieve and just be. It became the “Year of Shedding”.
My path was unique, and it’s important for each person to find the right path with proper tools and support. My intention in sharing my journey is to bring hope that there is light after the darkness.