Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Update on Life

It's been a while since I've talked to you about my life. About a year ago, I talked about my issues with depression (though I referred to them as mental issues. It's easier for me to label it now) and the medication I decided to start using to help me with my depression. A few weeks ago, I began the process of slowly getting off these meds. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a short excerpt from the post I made little over a year ago.
"After 3 months of absolute chaos and confusion, I made another step [after starting therapy]. I decided to start using anti-depressants. It was a big decision, one I refused to think about for years because (in my opinion), it was weak to even think about it. Who uses anti-depressants at 23? Not me! I needed to do it on my own. However, in February of 2016 I realized that I could not do it on my own, not while also trying to balance university, living on my own, and social contacts that were fading and breaking due to my issues and feelings. After getting the process started, it took a while before I finally had the pills in my hands. It scared me. These things are quite heavy and they didn't take it lightly either. They weren't just going to hand it to me, there were a lot of rules that came with it. One of which was that I was not allowed to not talk about it. I needed to share it in therapy but I also needed to share it with the people close to me."
It took me (and my body) about 6 months to get the dose right and to get used to the medication. After that (during my last session with my psychiatrist) we decided that I would use them for a year and then I would have to do it on my own. Well, the year is up and here we are. I'm a few weeks into the process. I will do about half of the dose I was used to (30mg t0 15mg of mirtazapine) for about 2 months. If that goes well, I will use 7,5mg for another two months, and after that it's done. It's harder than I thought it was going to be. Honestly, in the last few months I forgot my meds at least once every two weeks and it was never a problem.
But now, I notice my body is trying to adjust. I'm tired a lot (also has to do with the season) and I have zero to no need for food (and what I do consume, or feel like consuming, isn't exactly healthy). I can feel my thoughts getting clouded more easily, more often. The annoying, negative thoughts have been a little silent for the last 1,5 years. They are not so silent anymore. But now I can at least recognize them as such. I hope this also means I will slowly start to lose weight (I gained a lot of weight, more than I  care to admit). I'm not unhappy with how I look, I can still function properly and honestly my boobs look great. I would just like to be fitter again, so I feel more comfortable doing sports. I'd like to fit into my clothes again (I'm a little tired of constantly wearing hippie-pants. Sorry Siete). I know it will take my body and mind a while to adjust, and once again the change is not easy. But I can do it, and that is all that matters. I do not need them anymore.

I am not cured, I might never be. But I feel like I finally have the tools to be able to deal with what life throws at me. Even now, busy with writing my thesis, getting ready to go to England for 5 months, looking for a master (applying for it too) and dealing with a shit ton of personal situations, I'm still no where near what I used to be. I can get myself out of bed in the morning, I can stay out of it, I can work on school without crying, I can meet with friends without anxiety, I can adjust more easily when things don't go the way I planned and, all of a sudden, I can also be spontaneous and impulsive when it's okay to do so. I never used to do those things, not while I was depressed at least.

Anti-depressants have helped me a lot in the time that I've used it. It (and therapy) made me fall in love with life again, it made me hopeful and it provided me with the necessary tools to tackle my day to day life. This year I went hitch-hiking for the first time. A friend and I went to Paris (hence the picture). It took us about 13 hours, but it was a lovely experience. Meeting those people was really meaningful. I would have never done so before the meds and therapy, my anxiety would not have allowed it. And I did it! It was exciting, stressful, but not so stressful that I couldn't enjoy myself.

I'm also looking forward to going abroad for a few months. I remember, about 2,5 years ago, I was supposed to go abroad with my previous studies. Hell, it's one of the reasons I decided to stop with that educational program. It scared me senseless, I did not want to go away and miss my family and live all by myself with no one to fall back on. I didn't even like myself, why would I want to be by myself the whole time? And here we are. I'm not required to go abroad anymore, but I've still made the choice to do so anyway. Why? Because it will be an amazing experience! The variety of classes is endless and they are  super interesting and it makes sense since I study English Literature and all. I'm still terrified, but I'm also excited. I know it will be good. I also, for the first time ever, read something I wrote (as in non-fiction) during 2 open-mic events! For that alone, I'm beyond proud. Not because what I wrote was 'life-changing' (it's really not), but because I had the balls to read it out loud with other people in the room.

I have also started to deal with situations from the past. There are a lot of things I regret: Things I did to myself, but mostly things I did to other people. One by one I've started to deal with them. I've gotten through most of it, unharmed and unscratched (even I find this hard to believe). I've dealt with things I never thought I'd be able to deal with. I've forgiven myself for things I never thought I could, especially when it comes to my ex's, who I put through a lot. But one of them also put me through a lot. I always blamed myself for everything, even if I never admitted it. Only now have I come to realise that what happened between me and this particular person, was not my fault. I was so young and naive, I just assumed I must have done something wrong because he was perfect (and older so I thought he knew what he was talking about). I was wrong, but more importantly, he was wrong. I realise that now. And I'm not angry at anyone, but I used to be so angry with myself. I used to hate myself. And now I can finally let go of all the anger and it's so liberating.

It wasn't easy. It still is not easy, but then when is life ever, easy for anyone? All I'm trying to say is that I've started to appreciate myself as a person, more and more. I'm not there completely and I doubt I will ever be, but at least now I know that as long as I keep reflecting on myself, I will be able to live with (and forgive) myself. And that is a prospect I never thought I would  have (again). So my Pirates of the Caribbean tattoo has become a reality: "No cause is lost if there is but one fool left to fight for it" (I got it years ago, but it was never really true, until now). 2017 has been a good year and I can't wait to see what 2018 has in store for me :)

Oh, also. I really love my boyfriend, who has been with me through it all. I know it wasn't easy, babe. We've been to hell and back. I know how much it hurt you to see me in pain.. I know it was hard when I didn't want to be alive and you were the only one who knew about it. I'm sorry about all those nights I was so done, done with everything, and all you could do was cry and hope I wouldn't remember in the morning. But we are here now baby. I'm not going anywhere, anymore. Thank you for understanding, or trying to understand. Thank you for coming to my house super late at night (or early in the morning) when I couldn't stop crying and I needed someone to hold me. Thank you for taking me to therapy when I was too upset to go there by myself. Thank you for picking me up when I needed it. Thank you for always getting me chocolate when I don't ask for it, but you know it might cheer me up. Your support made this struggle more bearable. Thank you for being with me every step of the way. We are still young and we still have a lot to learn from each other, but I'm grateful for what we have and what you've done for me.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Alyssa! I've been thinking about you guys lately, wondering how you were, and I am so glad to hear that you are doing better. Making progress like that is so hard, but so worth it in the end. If you ever need a friend to talk you, you know where I am <33

    1. Hey Tia!
      That's sweet :) thank you!
      How have you been?