Anti-depressant Withdrawal Update

Hey everyone,

I just wanted to give everyone an update about my detox from anti-depressant medication.

The first two weeks were absolutely horrible. I initially thought I would be fine because I had no symptoms for two days. But when day three came around I felt horrible. I was nauseous, dizzy, anxious, tired, I had a constant headache, and my emotions were all over the place. I had a lot of dreams in which I died, I was constantly paranoid, and I just felt horrible overall.

By the second week the flu-like symptoms weren’t as bad. I still had a bit of nausea after eating but it wasn’t as bad. The worst part of the second week of withdrawal was the pressure headaches. It was like there was something pushing on my forehead and eyes from the inside out. It wasn’t really painful, it was just really uncomfortable. I also experienced some dizziness and shakiness which was made worse by caffeine so I would recommend avoiding coffee.

I am now into my third week without medication and I feel great! The crazy emotional rollercoaster has settled down and all of the physical symptoms has dissipated. Even though the first few weeks were really rough, I’m really happy that I stuck with it and didn’t go back on the medication. That said, if you feel that you still need medication in order to deal with the stresses in your life, do not go off your medication!! This was a personal choice that I felt was best for me. There is nothing wrong with taking anti-depressant medication if you need to!

If you DO decide to go off your medication, please make sure you consult your doctor first because he or she will give you specific instructions about how to taper your dosage to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal.

How can I Instill Such Hope, But be Left With None of My Own?

In the song “Hope for Now”, Dallas Green asks the very important question, how can I instill such hope but be left with none of my own?

This song is extremely important to me because it is basically describing exactly how I feel. I work so hard to raise awareness about mental illness and end the stigmatization. I am trying to give other people who suffer with mental illness hope for their futures, but at the same time, I am left with no hope of my own. I’m not sure where to go from here or how to deal with everything, I just need to be strong and fight for everyone who is suffering in silence.

A message for my abuser

Another night, another fight. Just one more reason to resent my abuser. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions.

My request: he owns up to what he did. Rather than continuing to act as if I am in the wrong for ignoring him, I want him to admit to my dad that he abused me. I’m done fighting with my dad who can’t understand why I won’t talk to this person. The next time will be the last straw. If it comes down to a fight you can bet I will be ready to tell my side of the story, and I can guarantee it won’t cone out sounding nice. Therefore, he should consider himself lucky that I am giving him the opportunity to own up to his crime. He has the chance to tell my dad what he did and potentially hold onto some semblance of their relationship. Sure, there will be a fight and no it won’t be pretty. But in the end I can promise that it will come out better from him than from me. I hate him for what he did and I am done feeling like it is my fault.
He needs to be accountable for his actions. Someone needs to teach him a lesson. He lies, he cheats, he steals, but he is NEVER held accountable. They say its because he has a mental illness. Well guess what, I’ve got 4, all of which can be linked to the abuse that I suffered in the past. His illness is not an excuse. I hate it when people use it as such. I realize that for some people, mental illness can and does cause them to do bad things. I understand that, but it is circumstantial. Not every mental illness has that affect and in his case, he is just perpetuating the stigmatization of mental illness by making it seem like anyone with a mental illness is a horrible criminal.

So my message to my abuser is this: Man up. Take responsibility for your actions. Admit what you did was wrong. Show a little remorse. Stop making my life hell by trying to keep the abuse a secret. Every single day that passes is another reason for me to resent you. You had a world of chances, I’m not giving you anymore. You’ve already lost my respect and you will never be a brother to me. The least you could do after all the pain you have caused is own up to what you have done.

Color therapy

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Have you ever considered the therapeutic potential of colouring? I’ve recently discovered that it is a great distraction when I’m feeling anxious, stressed, or self I destructive. It allows me to just think things through and it actually helps me to calm down when I am feeling overwhelmed. It provides me with a distraction when I am feeling the need to self-harm and it also gives my hands something to do which helps to stop the tactile urge to cut. To someone who does not deal with self-harm this might seem crazy but it works. If you are suffering from self-harm I would highly recommend trying this out. Its a great way to distract yourself and if you are an artistic person like me it can also provide you with a creative release.
This is by no means a replacement for professional therapy, but it definitely helps in those high-stress moments. Your therapist can’t be there 100% of the time to stop you from self-harming and if you really want to recover you’ve got to come up with some distraction techniques and coping skills. This one definitely helps me.
If you’re looking for new ways to cope I would suggest that you give this a shot. If it doesn’t work, there’s no harm done. But if you never give it a shot you won’t know if it will help you!
Other techniques I use to cope and distract myself are journaling, Sudoku puzzles, playing guitar, playing with my dog, talking to a friend, going for a walk, or listening to music (usually in combination with the other activities because music doesn’t really distract me enough on its own).

If you have any other coping strategies that you’d like to share please feel free to leave a comment below!!

Xo

Ayla

For the love of Demi <3

For the last year Demi Lovato has been one of my biggest inspirations. She has helped me come to realize that recovery is possible. She has helped me come to realize my dreams of working towards ending the stigmatization of mental illness. Her strength is inspiring; she has given me so much hope for my future. 

For all that she has done for me, I want to give her my vote for this year’s VMAs and I hope that you will too. If Demi has given you strength and inspired you, please show her your support and vote for her using the hashtag #votedemilovato on Twitter, Instagram, and/or Vine.

Show your support.

xo

Ayla

Mental Health YouTubers

I recently came across this video on YouTube and I proceeded to go on a binge-watching spree because I loved her videos so much. Laura Lejuene talks about eating disorders, self harm, anxiety, OCD, body image, and SO much more on her channel. She is a great advocate for mental illness and I highly recommend that you check out her channel. She has something to say to everyone whether you are suffering from a mental illness or you just really want to learn more about it.

A lot of people might consider some of her videos controversial (ie. her video entitled “if you’re going to harm yourself“) but if you stop and think about it for just a moment you will realize that videos such as this could actually save lives. By educating people about how to be safe when self-harming, she is reducing the risk of people accidentally hurting themselves dangerously. Laura is not promoting the act of self-harm; rather, she is recognizing that people are going to do it (lets face it, its bound to happen) and teaching these people how to be safe about it.

I know this might be cliche, I mean is there really a way to be safe about self-harm? The short answer is no. But even though there is no way to be “safe”, there ARE ways to be *safer*. See the difference?

Take a look at her channel if you are interested in learning more. She is a great resource!!

xo

Ayla