Lessons Learned From One Year Off Antidepressants

06.25.2020 Life
Veronica Lombo
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I took my last dose of Lexapro in March 2019. As I write this, I am almost two months into COVID-19 quarantine and over a year SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) free. I’m grateful to say that even amidst this unprecedented time on planet Earth, I am the most clear, strong, and tuned in that I have ever been in my adult life.  

The road to this place has been far from easy. In my last piece, I wrote about my experience tapering off medication. In this piece, I share the lessons I’ve learned over the past year post Lexapro, a time which I’m now seeing as an extended dark night of the soul.   

Be patient. Life happens on the Universe’s timeline, not yours.

I expected life to be smooth sailing after I stopped taking medication. I thought I would experience withdrawal effects for a couple months and then be good. What began as a process of spiritual emergence in 2018, turned into a full spiritual emergency in 2019. I experienced waves of bliss and deep knowing followed by surges of darkness and ancestral trauma coming up from the depths of my being, asking to be seen, heard, felt, and loved. I felt more anxious than I previously ever had, my skin looked like shit, and I felt directionless. Many of the things that previously brought me joy were too triggering or stimulating to bear, so I said goodbye to Netflix, cannabis, and coffee.  

I thought the worst was over when I stopped taking antidepressants, but I was now being challenged on another level that existed beyond the physical. As my third eye and intuitive gifts started to reveal themselves more strongly, I couldn’t sleep for about a year, and I struggled to do my job or be a functioning member of society.  

I was angry, frustrated, and impatient. W.T.F. I worked so hard to get to this point. This was not what I expected. For every anxious, sad, terrifying, remotely negative feeling that arose, I resisted. I hate that I’m feeling this way. When will this end? How much longer? 

As soon as I stopped resisting the fluctuations and started surrendering, things got easier. I let go of the ‘when,’ and accepted that I may feel ‘off’ for a while. I couldn’t predict how long this period would last. I focused on getting grounded. Realizing that I was so extremely out of my body made me see how much I had spent most of my life in that state. I allowed whatever needed to come up to do just that. I stopped judging myself for not being in a certain place in my life or for feeling any kind of way. I just allowed… and as soon as I did that, I started sleeping again.

Being in this place now, I see that everything happened in perfect divine timing. If I hadn’t gone through such an intense process of spiritual awakening, I would undoubtedly be having a much more difficult time right now amidst COVID-19. All the changes that happened last year challenged me to let go of control, trust, and just go with the flow, as cliché as that sounds. This year post-antidepressants was an opportunity to strengthen my root chakra, feel safe within myself, and rebuild my life on a solid foundation moving forward. 

Life had always been working for me, not against me. I just had to be patient and let go of my idea of what I wanted it to look like. I had to be open to possibilities beyond my limiting beliefs. 

Energetic sensitivity is a gift. You can either feel empowered or imprisoned by your intuitive gifts. The choice is yours.

I don’t have any scientific, evidence-based studies to support the following, but many people who have messaged, shared, or spoken to me about their mental health journeys have been empaths or highly sensitive beings, whether they recognized it or not.  

Intuition, the ability to sense something beyond words and logic, is a psychic gift that gives you access to your own internal GPS system. Many sensitive beings, myself included, spend their lives numbing out from feeling and trying to run away from their gifts. I would often feel exhausted and blame other people for bringing me down, but in actuality, it was my lack of boundaries and reluctance to take responsibility for my energetic wellbeing that was at cause. 

Much of what I have had to master this past year has been my energy — how to keep a high-vibrational baseline, how to interact and respond to the energy of others, how to enact boundaries, how to feel energy and let it pass through, how to care but not carry.  

You are spirit in human form. Treat your vessel less like a frat house and more like a temple. 

The whole process of getting off antidepressants was less about the pills and the dietary changes, and more about healing the relationship I had with myself. I ate the right things and took all the right action steps, but underneath it all was an unstable foundation built on negative self-talk, unworthiness belief systems, and a desire to escape. I saw human life as a punishment rather than an opportunity and a gift. Nothing changed until I wholeheartedly accepted my life and all of its challenges as a spiritual assignment — one in which, according to Ram Dass, I had to follow the curriculum.  

Once I cleared the antidepressants out of my life, I began to see more clearly the ways I was mistreating myself (self-blame, self-punishment, playing small, lack of boundaries). Habits and relationships that supported my wellbeing became easier because I wanted to love and support myself. 

If you struggle with this, start where you are at this moment. What is one loving, supportive thing you can say to or do for yourself right now?

Please note: If you are on antidepressants, my intention is not to judge or chastise you. Healing is not one-size-fits-all, and each of us is here having a different experience. What is right for me may not resonate with you, and that is totally okay! Antidepressants served me for a certain period of my life, until they didn’t. If my words do resonate with you, I hope you know that you are not alone in your journey. If you want to begin the process of tapering off medication, please do so under the guidance of a medical professional.  (Shoutout to my amazing naturopathic doctor, Dr. Branson!

Veronica Lombo is a writer, teacher, and intuitive guide for sensitive beings. She has been teaching yoga and meditation for over 10 years and is currently a therapist-in-training. Veronica is here to help you embrace challenges as sacred opportunities for growth, learn tools to support your wellbeing, and connect to the Divine light within. Find her on Instagram or on her website.

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