Hello!! Any advice or perspective welcome, sorry in advance if very boring!!
I am a long term taker of sertraline (or sometimes citalopram) - and I keep going on and off them. Trying to decide what I should do.
I have a long long history of anxiety disorder, social phobia, on and off with obsessive worrying, and a bit of eating disorder thrown in when I was younger. And one episode of full-blown panic disorder
I have weaned myself off the sertraline again (very slowly and carefully) and at the moment I am OK. But it's a constant battle to just feel "OK" - I spend hours at it - do a lot of self-help, mindfulness meditation, yoga, CBT, all the right things, they do help!
But it is a constant battle to feel "normal" or "just below normal" to be fair - and takes hours! - even taking all these positive steps I am just more tired, lethargic, foggy headed, can't concentrate so well, it feels like I am anaemic, even though I know I am not - I need to sleep such a lot too.
...but it's not like I am suicidal or in a terrible state...
....but life is SO MUCH easier when I am taking them. I don't need to constantly battle it, I jsut feel fine, calm, confident, in control, happy - I spend much more time just doing things I enjoy (reading, going out) rather than trying to control my mood...
...is this cheating? it's too easy?
Yesterday I sort of thought "sod it, I'm sick of this" and took one - but OH thinks it's a shame as I have done "so well" not taking them for a good few months. And it's true - in some ways I agree with him.
I know they are not addictive but at the moment that good-mood-feeling and wonderful energy does seem rather addictive - does that make sense?
Thanks for reading, if anyone has managed to get through it all, and sorry for waffling!
I have come off of citalopram several times for the sorts of reasons you speak of. And I have always come to grief. This time last year I was battling with awful feelings in the absence of the pills. I got past that stage and felt sort-of-ok for a few months, using exercise as an important part of keeping myself together. But, but, but ... even after I had got though the clump of bad feeling associated with transition from the pills, I kept going down, feeling grey, etc, and eventually became so low I went back on the pills again.
My GP always reassures me that it is good and positive to just stay on them indefinitely, if that is what you need, and that the health implications of long-term use aren't concerning.
I have kind of accepted his line. I don't like the thought that I will take citalopram for ever, but it does appear that I am just hitting myself in the face when I battle to come off it.
I always say that if it were a physical illness, would you deny yourself the treatment that could make you feel better? And would you feel better about yourself for not taking such medication, if you were still struggling with the physical symptoms?
I am guessing that the answer is no! It doesn't mean that you will need to take them forever, but while you will benefit from taking them, please don't beat yourself up for it. They are not chemically addictive and there is nothing wrong with liking the pharmacological effects that they bring about- who wouldn't want a stable mood and a bit more energy?