Coming off my meds

Brighter Blessings says:

The Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and longest night of the year, and is the traditional time to celebrate the truly important things in life: your family, your children, your home and looking forward to a wonderful year to come. Also known as ‘Yule’, the Solstice is a time throughout time that honours love and new birth, as well as the collective unity of man.

For those who don’t know (and there may well be a few of you, because I don’t really broadcast this) I am dealing with mental ill-health. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2009 following a major breakdown in 2008 and a decade of undiagnosed manic depression before that. When I was first diagnosed I spoke to all my oldest friends and not one of them was surprised at this diagnosis, which really worried me! How bad had I been?? (Please don’t email me back with the answers cos I have a fair idea!)

So, like the good girl I try to be now, I followed the psychiatrist’s advice and took my Lithium every day since 2009. When it didn’t work he put me back on anti-depressants as well (late-2009) and then when that didn’t work he tried me on anti-psychotics (2010 – following Granny’s death). And, for over a year now, I have been stable in my moods with this combination of Lithium and anti-psychotics.

I’m finding the death of my beloved Granny doesn’t hurt in my soul in the same way as it used to. I no longer feel the pain of her passing as a physical one, cutting deep into my body and leaving me gasping for breath. Instead, I am grateful for the loving support of Chris and my parents and I thank the gods for bringing me Foxy Foxy and his Mamaas he lights up my life and has really helped me to stabilise my moods. There’s nothing like a dog to bring you into the present because that’s where he lives! So, because I feel stable and strong at present and because of the side-effects (I am sick of the horrible acne, weight gain and feelings of complete apathy) I have made the decision to come off my medication.

I intend to do this slowly and carefully and will be sure to monitor my moods so I don’t allow myself to fall so low or rise to those dangerous highs again. But I just want to be more true to myself as a yoga teacher and, as I mentioned earlier, I am sick of the apathy. I just want to FEEL things again – both happy and sad. At the moment it’s like everything that happens to me just slides off and the main feelings I experience are irritation, frustration, anger and annoyance! I’m not saying I want to feel ecstasy and agony on a daily basis but I’d like the option…

So now, on the eve of the Winter Solstice, I will be reducing the amount of medication I take on daily basis and by the time we arrive at the Summer Solstice I am planning to still be stable but also to be drug free! What are your plans for the winter solstice? For this time of “love and new birth”? Comment below or on Facebook as I’d love to hear your thoughts.



About Victoria Cunningham-Downey

A Yogini, Pilates Instructor and Teacher Trainer I have travelled the world in pursuit of happiness and found it back here at home with my husband and my dog!

Posted on December 21, 2011, in Self-help stuff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Love you and see ya over Xmas Cousin dearest. xx

  2. What a wonderful time to take the step of getting off your meds. I hope as the dosage lessens, you grow stronger, like the sun does each day past the Winter Solstice. I wish you all the best in the coming year. You deserve it. Happy Solstice. 🙂

  3. Victoria – thank you for sharing this personal story and I think if more people felt they could talk about their condition it would help them take this step to – so maybe we should all ask or friends and family if they need our help with anything. Just take one day at a time at don’t forget if you need any support from a Life Coach- call me I would be delighted to help you on your journey

  1. Pingback: Too tired to sleep? That’s me! « Stretch NI

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