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Detoxing from medication isn’t always voluntary. I want you to know detox is why I took almost two weeks off of blogging. In fact, it might be something you’ve gone through yourself. I changed jobs two weeks ago. That’s not a major life change for most, but managing a mental illness means every change has to be carefully noted and risky spots are taken care of.
Here’s a big trouble spot: most insurance doesn’t kick in until 90 days out. What does that mean? Oh, that means no medicine.
“But René,” you say. “All-natural remedies, fairy dust.” With all due respect, no. I was going to tell you to go to hell, but that’s not respectful – oops. Here’s the thing: natural remedies may work for some, not for all. They’re not proven in some cases and my doctor has a medical degree. If you think special teas and vitamins are the only way to treat my disorder, you probably don’t. Moving along.
No medicine is like driving 75 MPH, seeing the cops and slamming on the brakes to bring it down to 45. It is a jolt, abrupt, it shakes up your life. If you, like me, take an antidepressant to control your symptoms, you’ll experience detox.
Detox is your brain turning slowly to mush. Thinking during an antidepressant detox is like squinting really hard to see when you need glasses. You can see, but the effort exhausts you. Needless to say, your productivity goes down. Your irritable mood? That alienates the people you need on your side. People like your friends, family, and coworkers will try to be understanding but really they want you to get it together. You will watch weeks worth of medicated progress go down the drain. You will try to stop it but boy are you tired and maybe if you can just take a nap you’ll feel better.
Why not fill the drugs, you ask? Wellllll, that requires money. Let’s put it into perspective. With an antidepressant that costs $150 with no insurance and an ADHD med that costs $400 with no insurance, most of us become symptomatic rather than starve.
Here’s the best part. You’re starting a new job. You need to mind your manners, watch your attitude and keep it all together. These are things you struggle with while medicated. Without medicine? This quickly becomes a serious challenge. You make mistakes, you make a bad impression that follows you throughout the company. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Lather, rinse repeat.
These problems are so serious. Abrupt detox can cause flu-like symptoms, worsening depression, etc. lost wages, time off work, job loss are soon to follow. All because of a little pill.
People deserve to put their best foot forward whether they can afford to or not. I was fortunate enough to borrow money to stave off the detox. Some of us are not able to do so. What’s your detox story?
Until next time,