It’s been over a year ago now since that doctors appointment. The one where I was put on medication and referred to a counsellor for depression. I remember that appointment so vividly . . .
That Initial Doctor’s Visit
I had gone to see my doctor mainly because My Silver Fox and my mum had told me I needed to. They were worried about me and knew I needed some help. Something I couldn’t see for myself at the time.
You can read My Depression story here.
I had other health concerns at the time. Nothing major really but I discussed these with her first, trying to avoid telling the truth and exposing myself . . . or my weakness. So after getting advice for those, my doctor asked, ‘Is there anything else I can help with?’
I replied, ‘I think I’m depressed!’ and burst into tears.
It took awhile for me to gather myself. I had been holding strong for so long and this was the first time, and first person, I had actually admitted this to . . . that I thought I was depressed.
The stand out question she had for me was, ‘What were you hoping to get out of coming here today?’ I replied, ‘To walk out of here with a prescription to try anti-depressants. I feel like I can’t do this on my own.’
I remember so clearly, that feeling of just wanting a quick fix. To feel better, to feel happy and to be honest, without all the effort. That’s my truth!
I’m a Mum With No Time for Me
I felt I couldn’t help myself through this because I was a mum of two boys and they needed me. I definitely put their needs before my own because that’s what you do as a mum right?!
I didn’t have time for self care . . . to exercise, to eat better and to get good sleep. And I knew those three things would be the start to feeling better, and eventually happier.
So I walked out of my doctor’s office thinking the pills and counselling would fix me. Or make me happier at least.
Counselling was definitely what I needed. Here’s 5 Things I Learnt At Depression Counselling.
Anti-depressants, I discovered after a rough six months, were not my answer. You can read my journey of Transitioning To A New Crazy Pill here.
But after watching Dr Kelly Brogan’s interview with Marie Forleo, I decided I needed to try something different.
Here are the changes I made to my life that got me off the anti-depressants. Please remember that everyone is different . . . so what works for me might not work for you. But I reckon anything is worth a try if you’re not wanting to go down the ‘chemical’ route.
1. No More Anti-Depressants or Medications
Warning: Never, ever just stop taking your medication. Always consult with your doctor first. You need to wean yourself off them VERY slowly!
Looking back, I think it was nearly a ten week process to wean off mine. And believe me, it was not easy . . . like a rollercoaster ride even. But like I said before, the meds were not working for me so stopping them was the best option for me.
I also decided to stop taking the contraceptive pill. My Silver Fox and I weren’t having much sex anyway and the only reason I was taking it was to not get pregnant.
2. I Removed Toxins & Chemicals From My Body & Home
I stopped using perfume.
I threw out my supermarket-bought deodorant and swapped it with a 100% natural one.
I swapped my facial products and shampoo and conditioner to a brand that used natural chemical compounds.
I replaced all our cleaning products with less harmful ones.
3. I Cut Out Sugar
Well I tried . . . this was, and still is, my biggest struggle! I was having an energy drink a day plus lollies or biscuits. I seriously wasn’t being kind to my body with what I was eating.
I used my Mental Health Tracker to really keep track of my progress. And I literally took it one day at a time.
4. I Eliminated The Biggest Stressors In My Life
I am an over-achiever. I have high expectations of myself. If something wasn’t working for me, or I wasn’t ‘successful’ at something, it was because I wasn’t good enough.
When my depression was drowning me, one of the causes was definitely stress.
I was working part time as a graphic designer. I was trying to grow another business where I made kids activity boxes (by myself). I was Mum to a two year old and a four year old. I was a partner and in charge of running the household.
Looking back, what the f#ck was I thinking?!
So I closed my kids activity box business. It took months to finally decide to do it but I knew, for my mental health, something had to give. And now I know it was the best decision for me and my family.
I also took a step back in my design business. I turned away work that I didn’t feel inspired to do.
5. I Fell In Love With Essential Oils
The oils have played a HUGE role in managing my mental health. Believe it or not, they have truly empowered me . . . for managing my moods and emotions and in supporting the health of my family.
I use the oils daily! As a perfume and diffusing in the house.
I love my daily ritual of waking up and acknowledging my feelings. Then deciding how I want to feel and going to my oils to support me in feeling that way.
The Best Decision For Me
So it definitely wasn’t just one thing that got me off anti-depressants.
It was a process and it really was changing daily habits.
But I’m SO much happier now. I’m loving life, I’m grateful for what I have, I’m a better mum and partner, and I feel really empowered and in control of my mental health.
This is the biggest win for me!
Because I felt I had lost control of my moods and my life when I was on the crazy pills.
One of the strongest feelings while on the meds was, ‘I don’t want my life to be like this. This isn’t me!’
It wasn’t easy. Getting off the meds felt torturous at times. But deciding that anti-depressants weren’t for me, and taking the time to figure out what I needed to feel in control again, was the best decision I made.
And you can do it too!