Why I chose to come off anxiety meds

Since September of last year I have been on an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) for anxiety. I originally chose to start medication because counselling alone didn’t seem to be working. My main issue was that I had no idea why I was anxious. Some situations terrified me, some very similar, or even objectively scarier situations were fine, which made it very difficult for me to rationalise the anxious thoughts.

I have very mixed opinions about how much the medication has helped me. There are times in the last 6 months where I have felt more anxious than I ever have, regardless of the tablets, last week being one of those times. There have also been weeks where I have felt absolutely fine, and I don’t know if that’s the medication, the counselling or something else entirely.

Last month I decided I wanted to at least drop the dose of medication I was on, so with my doctors support I have been doing just that, and again, I have very bad days and very good days. But no different from before I started to lower the dose. I have another appointment with my GP soon, to decide whether to come off them altogether, but I think I will. I have noticed that since I’ve reduced the dose my mood has been a lot better, which is a massive plus.

There are probably 3 things that have prompted me to do this.

  • The side effects of the medication are not fun, and a lot of the time exacerbate PoTS symptoms. I struggle to sleep and often feel very sick.
  • I now have a better idea of what’s causing my anxiety, and so it is easier to work on. My main anxiety is my health, and specifically how I will cope physically with stressful situations. Now I know this, I can work on it.
  • My anxiety is not as bad as I thought. We always considered the severity of my anxiety based on my physical symptoms, the dizziness and lack of sleep, however it seems more likely that these are a symptom of PoTS, rather than anxiety, as the symptoms tend to come before the anxious feelings.

So over the next few weeks I will hopefully be coming off the medication completely. I’m definitely nervous about coping without the crutch of medication, but I know I can, and honestly, it’ll be a relief.

Disclaimer: Any medication you take should be discussed with your doctor, these are my own personal experiences.

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