Well, on Wednesday morning I took my last fluoxetine pill.
I’m not too worried yet since I know that the half life of fluoxetine is pretty long, so it’s not like I’m totally “on my own” without medication. It’ll be hanging around my system residually for a bit longer. But still, not taking that pill everyday? That’s an adjustment.
A brief history
I’ve been taking fluoxetine for about a year (this time around). I started taking it because I was having severe panic attacks and anxiety with my contamination OCD. My psychologist recommended I see my primary care doctor and get a prescription filled.
Though the first month of taking the medicine was incredibly rough since I experienced somewhat severe depression symptoms, the fluoxetine eventually made life easier. I wasn’t as anxious and worried about my obsessions and could therefore engage in cognitive behavioral therapy with more success.
Once I got my OCD under control and retained that control for awhile, I talked with my doctor and started the weaning off process. I have noticed some regression but overall am trying to maintain my progress.
Maintaining progress wasn’t too difficult for me this week since it’s been fairly busy. I’m working actively on editing my mental health book (which has turned into not just editing but adding in a ton of stories and personal experiences). My kids had two snow days (!). The holidays are coming up and church responsibilities and social activities are increasing. I am keeping myself occupied, let’s say.
Granted, I still have obsessions and compulsions I try to resist. Just going to the bathroom is still exposure therapy for me, and I don’t know if it ever won’t be. Sometimes I wonder how I lived life just a year and half ago without worrying so much about certain things. I ask myself how things can change so drastically so quickly, where something that you used to not even think about suddenly becomes a source of so much anxiety.
Unfortunately, I can’t really answer that question with a response that changes my current reality. I just have to keep living, keep doing exposures, and keep resisting compulsions. I can’t simply turn off my mental illness. It’s a part of me, and I’m okay with that– as long as I’m the one primarily in control.