As of Friday, May 25, I am now medication free. This has been, for me at least, one of the most difficult parts of dealing with my PTSD. I am extremely independent by nature and having to take pills to help me, even though it did help, was really going against the grain for me. Actually it took several doctors telling me that anti-anxiety meds would help and me getting to the point where I just wasn’t functioning to even consider taking them. The latter was what finally made me capitulate. What was supposed to be just a couple of months of taking these meds turned into almost a year. What bothered me the most was that I had gotten where I was depending on these meds and was scared to even attempt to get off of them. Back in September/October, I attempted to get off of my meds and failed spectacularly. Recently my psychiatrist and therapist had both told me on separate occasions that if I wanted to taper down and eventually get off of the meds, that the choice was now mine. I took that to mean that I was healing and getting stronger. It also frightened me. After discussing tapering my meds with my therapist in a session, I cried as I drove home. Although that’s not unusual for me to do, the reason for the tears was. I realized that in less than one short year of my life I had become dependant on a lot of things. This too went against the grain for me. But it wasn’t strong enough to overcome my fear of losing my ‘crutches’. See…when my PTSD symptoms went out of control in July of last year, it felt like (and still does) that someone took my life and turned it upside down, shook it up for good measure and then handed it back to me. I’ve spent so much time and energy working on how I could put it back together. Even though it’s mostly put back together, it’s not like it was before and never will be. Another tough lesson I’ve learned. But while I’ve learned to put my life back together, I’ve also had to learn to rely on people and things. A very tough thing for ‘Ms. Independent and In Control’ to learn. Since the day I took my first pill, a voice in the back of my mind has told me ‘This WILL be temporary’. I wasn’t sure what temporary meant, other than not for the rest of my life. Silently holding onto that vow, looking forward to the day when I had healed enough to get off of the meds has helped me to get through some pretty rough times. When I first started tapering I went online and got all of the information I could about the withdrawals associated with my meds. Glad I did. Knowledge is most definitely power. If I hadn’t been expecting what hit me, I think it definitely would have made the withdrawals worse. The last several weeks have been the hardest. But I knew two things while going through the withdrawals: 1-This, unlike the PTSD, at least was temporary, 2-I had been through worse and I would get through this. The past several weeks, I’ve not been posting much. I’ve read a lot, but just trying to deal with the day to day (plus withdrawals) was just about all I had in me. I’m putting this under the heading of ‘success story’ because this is a success to me. I know that in a lot of instances what’s big to one person is no big deal to another. But this is enormous for me. I’ve felt like so much control of my life was stripped away and I’ve been picking up bits and pieces (sometimes crumbs) of it as I’ve healed. This, to me, is a very large piece I’ve been able to take back. And I’m totally stoked about it!