Serotonin Syndrome - The Recovery

To put it bluntly, it felt like someone was holding me down, repeatedly kicking me in the testicles, and playing a very slow moving video of all of my previous actions and behaviours back to me. While I was drunk.

The incredibly slow realisation of my actions and who I had become as a person was the most difficult aspect of everything for me to accept, and quite possibly the hardest to explain in a way that I could be understood. I had been accused of acting in a particular way/s throughout this whole ordeal and while I had faith in the people telling me what my actions were causing and that I was doing absolutely everything I could do to fix it, I didn't know what I needed to fix. I had the information and the tools to do it, but you can't saw through a piece of wood if you're holding the blade up the wrong way. Everything I was doing felt like it should have worked at the time, but the harder I tried, the further I was getting from my end goal. I can't even begin to describe how frustrating that felt for me.

I have always considered myself to be a pretty level headed and respectful person to absolutely everybody I come in to contact with, and to be told I wasn't being that way was so incredibly confusing for me because I legitimately thought I was still being that person. I didn't feel any different. One of the most difficult aspects of recovering from this condition was becoming more and more aware of the person I had become, and needing to live with the consequences that version of myself had caused to everyone around me. Some people were unfortunately impacted more than others.

The physical withdrawals from the medication was brutal, and I can now understand why drug addicts elect to go to rehab. I felt like I should have been under 24/7 care. My GP suggested that I cut the medication in stages, alternating half a dosage every other day etc and eventually coming off them completely in approximately two months. As I mentioned in a previous post, I promptly ignored that advice and in an act of defiance/anger with myself, I flushed the rest of the pills I had down the toilet when I got home and tore up my prescription. While that is one of the best decisions I have ever made, man did I regret that over the next few weeks. The first few days were great, and I had a sudden surge of confidence I hadn't felt in a long time. And then I crashed. Hard.

The following 2-3 weeks were the most agonising, tumultuous days of my young (ish) life. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't focus. My brain felt like it was receiving these strange electrical pulses; do you know the feeling you get when you're falling in a dream and you're suddenly jolted back awake? It was like that, but I was awake the entire time. I would drive to work and start meditating in my car before walking in (side note: everyone should do this, it's helped me so much over the last few months) and I would be a few minutes in and would suddenly realise where I was and what I was doing. Driving to work was all but a distant memory to me. This is really difficult to explain, but I was "feeling" emotions that I didn't even know were there anymore. They were familiar emotions for me, yet somehow foreign at the same time. My brain was waking up.

In the time that has passed since the symptoms of both Anxiety and Serotonin Syndrome withdrawals have ceased, I have achieved so much in such a short time period. I've lost weight, and I am now at the weight I was at the beginning of this year. I'm a better, more patient Father. I've made some new friends who I am now quite close to. I've reconnected with old friends, and I'm a lot closer with my family now. I've had so many life experiences I would never have had previously, nor would I have ever had the courage or the desire to pursue. I've taken up some new hobbies and rediscovered some old ones. I also have the confidence to talk to strangers again. Hell, I've even scored myself a few phone numbers in the process. I've found my confidence and my self worth again, and I'm finally putting myself and my wants first for a change. Legitimately everybody I am close to has noticed a dramatic shift in my mentality over the last few months, especially co-workers, and hearing that unprompted from others reaffirms my decision to dump the medication directly down the S-bend as one of the best (also dumbest) decisions I have ever made. I should have done it six months ago.

I'm still struggling to look ahead to the future when I've got so much regret and unresolved issues I've caused looking at me in the rear view mirror. My actions have damaged people and fractured multiple relationships beyond repair. I've hurt some really good people. People who only wanted what was best for me. I have a conscience, and it's so incredibly difficult not being able to make things right, but I've done all that I can. More than I should have in some instances which has probably only made things worse. I don't condemn other people for making mistakes in their past and I certainly don't judge them for it, but it's difficult trying to apply that same logic towards myself. I'm only human, and we all make mistakes - at least that's what I'm trying to tell myself. It's hard some days.

One foot in front of the other. One day at a time. I'm still a work in progress, but I am so much further ahead than I was this time six months ago. I'm excited to see how much progress I can make in the next six.

- KD

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