For those of you who follow this blog for the cycling alone this is not about doping in the professional peloton. Apologies for any confusion and you can leave now if you wish, though I’d love you to stay of course.
For the last ten days I’ve been drug free. I took the final step to stop taking the anti-depressants a week last Friday and though I had wanted to mark the occasion then and there, my trepidatious nature made me hang fire. However, so far, so good. It’s only in hindsight that I’ve realised what a big step it is. And it’s also in hindsight that you see yet again how science is not as clear cut as we are often led to believe. Let’s start with that first point. According to the nth GP I’ve spoken to about this the only side effects of coming off Citalopram are sickness and stomach upset and only then should these arise if you withdraw too quickly. Needless to say with the tapered withdraw I have been on this hasn’t happened. However, I have found that I have been feeling light headed, a feeling of being spaced out and almost on a high much the same as drinking too many good espressos. I’d like to say it was pleasurable but it is a little disconcerting. My GP said that this shouldn’t be the result of the withdrawal but as I haven’t changed my diet or day-to-day regime I can only assume it is connected even if indirectly. If you’ve come off Citalopram and had withdrawal effects I’d really like to hear though needless to say the scientific approach is somewhat flawed and that there is no average person even in a normal distribution of the population.
Going drug free has meant stepping up to the mark psychologically. When you are on medication most people (including the medical profession) ask if it is working. The problem is you only know if it is, or should I say was, when you aren’t medicated. Looking back from here on the experiences in reducing and stopping dosages I can now see some of the changes. I can see when and where being on medication helped. It was the crutch that I’d established it as. Now I am into the next phase of rehabilitation. The crutch has gone and I have to put the weight back on the break unsupported for the first time. That is what I mean by it being a big step. But big steps are actually made up of smaller steps. When I feel a wobble, instead of reaching out for the crutch its time to do some exercises and strengthen up, put into practice what I’ve learnt. Sometimes that happens, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a learning curve. But then life is. I can’t say much more than that. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on.