I haven’t forgotten.
Bai for now.
I haven’t forgotten.
Bai for now.
So, a little over a week ago I tweeted about how I had recently stopped taking antidepressants, after having been on ‘em for the past ten-and-a-half years. Mind you, it was a very gradual taper since the previous summer, consulting with my doctor every step of the way. I wouldn’t have considered quitting these cold turkey. That would’ve been waaaay too much a shock to the system.
The first couple of days were fine, nothing too noticeable. I’d missed a couple of days in a row at least once or twice over the past decade. However, by day three and four (the first weekend), it started feeling fucking scary: waking up in the middle of the night with that anxious, sinking feeling, that had me bounding out of bed trying to calm down and figure out just what in the fuck was going on. The only way I could relax was to put on the kettle, make a mug of hot water and honey, and either pace around our condo’s hallway while listening to comedy podcasts (when I COULD listen to them), or go for a stroll around the neighbourhood in -15°C darkness.
After managing to get a few hours sleep, and it thankfully being the weekend, I did some siting meditation to attempt to ease through this transition. I totally think it helped. I’ve been trying to sit for at least 20 minutes per day since then, though the past week (March break) wasn’t as successful.
One thing that I’ve tried to avoid over the past decade was going to the interwebs to diagnose, etc. when it came mental health. I did break my own rule that first weekend by reading a site or two about coming off the same type of meds I’d been taking. It was to get a little bit of perspective in my situation; a friendly reminder that my brain had been getting some help over the past decade.
When asked by friends and associates what made me decide to go off antidepressants, I tell them that the situation in which I started taking them was no longer applicable; that I am not the same person I was ten years ago, and have a better perspective; that I have (better) coping mechanisms in place than I did ten years ago.
I also tell them that it was time that my brain did its own heavy lifting.
I am playing a jazz gig with a rock band that I used to be in. The stage is in a covering slightly bigger than a pup tent. A somewhat large crowd, that includes some grade school children, watch us through the mesh flaps and translucent nylon. The gig takes place in the parking lot of a strip mall which I can say is the median of my two childhood neighbourhoods. When the gig ends, I hear one of the kids holler that he wants to meet me. He then hands me a homework assignment of his for me to autograph, which I can barely make out as it is scrawled in pencil on black construction paper. He then says he’s going to buy a book written by a musician that I wish to lionize. This book happens to be on sale at the gig. It is a collection of abstract expressionist paintings made with the materials you’d find at a classroom art centre table. This musician is also in attendance, though keeping a low profile. He walks past me and gives a sideways glance. The musician looks nothing as I remember him, and is younger than when I had first met him. In fact, this person is not the musician at all.