Now that I’ve updated you all on my gut health journey which you can read about here. It is time for me to put my big girl pants on and stand up for what I believe in.
Let me start off by saying although this journey of the last year has been pretty crappy (pun intended) I think I needed to have it to learn more about my body, my beliefs and my strength. I also want to preface this rant by saying that all the health professionals I have dealt with in my life are really trying to help everyone, and they are doing this with the knowledge they have had time to learn and the time they have been able to give. Having said that however, I do believe health professionals need to start looking at what’s going on with the whole person rather than just the problem or symptom that the client comes to them with.
This time last year I was not in a good place. I had come off my antidepressants within a month. At about 3 months post antidepressant the shit hit the fan… both figuratively and literally.
At Christmas time I was so severely agitated that I was basically drugged out so that I could sleep and give my body, brain and family some respite.
In January of this year I went to Darwin to stay with my sister and brother-in-law for a week and while I was there I was having bouts of depression and anxiety I was also pooping a lot. On my return from this trip the diarrhea continued and I went to see my local doctor. They did do a stool test for several things but nothing showed up. As my mental health declined over the next few months so did my bowel movements. I remember being in hospital for my mental health and telling them (and my friends who would listen) that my bowel movements were not normal. The doctors put the diarrhea down to my mental health.
From my memory, not once did a medical professional ask me how long I took to taper off the antidepressants in the first place. What I do remember happening was them saying all this tummy upset is due to your anxiety and depression and you not coping with being off andtidepressants. Here have some more drugs to fix your mind.
Previously I had been told that I could get off my antidepressants within a couple of weeks. That also ended badly. This last time I did not trust a Doctor to help me come off them so I did it on my own and in hindsight also not a great move. I thought two weeks didn’t work but one month, should be much better. I was wrong. If you haven’t been following my journey up to now then you can read all the details of what was happening here.
Fast forward to now and I know so much more. I know so much more now because I have looked for the answers that doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists never tell you. I am not saying that I don’t need to work on my mental health but there is a whole lot more going on in my body than in just my brain.
Did you know that the best way to taper off an antidepressant (especially so if you have been on it a long time) is by 10% every month or even less if you are not coping with the 10% decrease. I did not know this until I did some research for myself. My psychiatrist has never told me this and in fact his words were you will probably be on antidepressants for the rest of your life. When I went to him last week and said I would like to taper off the antidepressant properly because it is not helping my gut (and in all likelihood never has helped my gut) he said sure, you can decrease from 50mg to 40mg in a 4 week period and then go to 30mg after that and so on. This kind of tapering is what leads people into a very big black whole to try and climb out of and usually leads people back into the arms of the antidepressant (I am a case in point!)
There needs to be more education for people who are a) thinking about going on an antidepressant in the first place and b) thinking about getting off these drugs safely. Education needs to come from our primary health care providers and not the big pharma companies supplying these drugs. After all, we are taught as a society, that Doctors are trusted individuals, so whatever they say must be true and they must know more than we do about our own bodies, so whatever they say goes. We need to start taking back our own power and start believing in our own convictions when we know that something is not right. I believe we need to ask more questions and to not be afraid to do so.
For those people who are thinking about going on an antidepressant I urge you to look at other options and I also urge you to look at what else is going on in your life. There are so many factors that can cause anxiety and depression; whether that be what your putting in your mouth in terms of food and drink; what your body is absorbing and what nutrients are actually staying in your body; what toxins you are putting on your body or are in your environment; how much your lifestyle is causing increased worry and sadness. All of these factors impact how your body is coping and if your anything like me, you may find that lots of these elements are all contributing factors to how your mind is coping with day to day life.
Please, start looking further into your own health and wellbeing because you are worth it. We all are.
For those of you wanting to look further, stay tuned.