I ‘Forgot’ To Take My Meds

Last week I ran out of the medication which I take for OCD. 20mg of Escitaloprem has kept me on an even keel these last six years or so. One of them a day and Stephen is content. They prevent the slavering, starving wolf that is OCD from clawing at my front door and blowing down the house of cards which constitute my always fragile mental health. I rely on these pills. They are literally my first port of call every morning, washed down with a slug of Diet Coke.

This was utterly inexcusable on my part of course. I knew well in advance that supplies were running low yet did nothing about it. Why? I don’t know. Ask me a question on sport. For I knew the consequences if I came off my medication for any length of time. The tiredness, tetchiness and tension would descend upon me like three little prescription pigs, the precursors for Mr. Wolf’s grand entrance a short time later.

I’ve done this before. I know the score and it’s a bloated, lopsided one. When it comes to going toe to toe with the big bad OCD it’s a horrendous mismatch. I rarely see beyond the second round before I’m on the ropes, being pounded and pummelled to within an inch of my life. The referee has no option but to step in to spare me from any further punishment and I slump to my knees, battered and beaten. Same old story, same old stupid Stephen.

It can’t be laziness. Ordering a repeat prescription requires a one minute phone call followed by a two minute drive to the local pharmacy in order to collect it. It also doesn’t cost me anything. So it must be arrogance, thinking that this time I’ve tamed the beast, that I’m capable of throwing aside my consistent companion and striding off into the serotonin saturated sunset, a glorious new creation no longer reliant on mass manufactured medication to keep me on the straight and narrow.

I never cease to be amazed by my own powers of self delusion. Within three days of going ‘cold turkey’ I was a twitchy, neurotic mess. It started with a dull headache above my left eyebrow which gradually descended before taking up residence behind the corresponding eyeball where it proceeded to intensify until I felt like I was being stabbed in the iris with a knitting needle. I became more irascible and intolerant. The reasonably sane front that I presented to the world on a daily basis was no more.

I was about to blow a la Vesuvius….

It all came to a head last Thursday when I had two massive arguments at work when normally I would have bitten my tongue and walked away. Middle management meltdowns in the middle of an open planned office are not a good look, career wise. They left me feeling professionally embarrassed and clutching at straws to explain my bizarre behaviour. It was akin to an out of body experience. I was hovering above, powerless to intervene and switch off the torrent of paranoid nonsense that the lunatic below was spouting. Who is that madman? Does anybody know him? Oh hang on….it’s me.

I came home that evening with my tail between my legs and sheepishly explained the events of the day to Fionnuala. She suggested (insisted) that I reorder my prescription ASAP then collected it herself after I had, once more, forgotten to do so. So here I am, back on the meds. The headache has already eased and I’m ready to face the world again with the help of my little 20mg friends. Just one a day and I’m okay. That’s just the way it has to be.

I wonder. Am I that reliant on them? Or is it, and I pardon the pun, ‘all in my head?’ Do they actually. correct the chemical imbalance in my brain to such a degree that I cannot function without them. Or are they nothing more than an emotional aide memoire to convince me that I’m one of the ‘normal’ people when most days I feel anything but; I have thoughts that only fellow OCD sufferers could even begin to understand. Incessant images that only the relief of routine can remedy.

Until they start again that is. Circles of chaos which rise and fall as they rattle round my cranium that a runaway rollercoaster. The thoughts are never fall away, they prowl around the edges of the comforting campfire biding their time. Waiting for the slightest opportunity to pounce and drag down into the darkness of the abyss. I never want to reside their again. So I take the pill. Be it Escitaloprem or M&M’s. I take it.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

46 thoughts on “I ‘Forgot’ To Take My Meds

  1. Zoloft is my drug of choice. Here of late I am so bad about taking it. However it’s never long before I want to take out the entire world. I do no become suicidal but homicidal. Everyone and everything is stupid. It’s a terrible way to feel. We must keep with the meds to make the world a nicer place and for me to keep everyone safe.
    I just took two because I forgot again and I’m at a church camp and I can’t take out 1500 teenagers. Haha


  2. I take adderall to treat my ADD. I also exercise frequently to help boost my healthy brain chemistry, and I’m careful about my nutrition so I feed my brain properly. Sometimes it annoys me that there is such a difference between my focused self with the medicine and my unfocused self without. But usually I am grateful that modern medicine has allowed me not to have to endure the periodic depressions that used to occur when I would take on too much and then burn out, without understanding that my ADD made me more vulnerable to this. It has been many years since I’ve had an episode of depression, and years of therapy have been valuable as well. But if I needed medicine to avoid a descent into that dark place, I would reluctantly surrender. Am I happy about it? No. But as Byron Katie says, when we argue with reality we always lose, but only 100% of the time. So I keep taking my meds. And I’m grateful that modern medicine allows me to support my biochemistry. Grace. A gift. Take care, Stephen.


  3. The clarity with which you are able to paint the picture through parable and imagery is stunning. I only wish I couldn’t relate so well. My mind tells me disaster lurks around every corner. Doctors tell me it’s all in my head…. CFS… And my faith tells me God can use all if it for His glory… so we press on.


  4. Thank you for sharing your story and your personal struggle. Many will be able to relate and it could well serve as a reminder to take their own medication, renew a prescription, or perhaps even seek help for something that has been plaguing them.


  5. I “forgot” to take my medication for one straight week. I had gotten so sick and tired of having to rely on them that I just stopped taking them. Stupid, stupid idea.
    Won’t be doing that again, that’s for sure!


      1. My moods were everywhere. A rollercoaster of emotions. I wasnt pleasant to be around. I cried constantly, yelled at people and was just overall miserable. I finally came to my senses and realized my meds were definitely important for my well being.


  6. My daughter does this with her meds and turns into a suicidal zombie like person. I wonder at times if it’s how she’d really be or just side effects from coming off the 100 MG of depression meds. That’s why they say you have to ease off them just like when you eased into them. Hard to really say if you could live without them. For her, she’s already dreaming of the day she can but I don’t know how it’s possible. She’s way better on them and is alive. So to me, I hope she never gets off them unless she’s truly better.


      1. We’ve had to draw lines in the sand. You go off your meds, you can say bye bye to your job. We took her phone at night too because that’s been a trigger for her to stop taking care of herself. It’s a domino effect. She looks at her phone, doesn’t sleep, becomes withdrawn, stops taking her meds, stops eating, lashes out at everyone… Its awful. But we now notice the pattern and set boundaries so we can nip some of it in the bud.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Haven’t read this all yet, but as to whether you’re ‘really that reliant on them’, no one is advised to suddenly discontinue SSRIs. That can produce unpleasant to horrible withdrawal symptoms in anyone who takes them (or maybe in some cases minimal to none), needed or not. You are supposed to taper the dose down slowly over several weeks. So you can’t determine from this experience how reliant you are on them, you’d need to taper down and then give it a month or two on a zero dose to see (preferably with mitigators like cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, though many may get by without that.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! No I am on a very dull and slow train to Plymouth where my ferry is hopefully waiting. Claude has been tied up in a different carriage which is where I’d rather be (not tied up obviously 😁) … too many hot and bothered children in here. I think I’m becoming rather intolerant in my old age (this too shall happen to you – you’re only a year behind me!) 😄


          1. Well I’m exhausted… I’m on the ferry, have met a dozen fellow very chatty cyclists plus a couple of scary looking motor cyclists who were rather charming and have pulled the seat off Claude .. Oops – first stop tomorrow cycle repair shop. 😬


              1. Indeed she is because although I’m exhausted, I’m strangely unfazed by this. This is the sort of little issue that makes it a challenge because it’s no good me having a meltdown!


                1. You will be fine. Deep breath and inhale lots of bread and cheese for you will need the calories. Keep talking on here and your WP family will provide you with all the support you need. Is your phone okay for blogging? How long is the sailing?

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I think it’s fine for blogging and I have WiFi right now. It’s a night sailing so arrive 7am French time. Thanks … you’re right, lots of calories needed and fluids. Am scared but quite happy at the moment. I think I’ve worn myself out. Shall have a sleep … thanks so much 😊

                    Liked by 1 person

  8. “Pressed reply too soon … “
    above. An accidental case of not taking them won’t give you a result with any substance. I often run out and then panic, but still don’t re-order mine until four or so days later. I’m procrastinating because I don’t like making calls … and then I hate myself for being so pathetic and also disorganised. Grr … (the good news is, you’re not alone!)


  9. As a pharmacist, I can tell you what you experienced was SSRI withdrawal syndrome. Once you’re on these meds for a bit, your body gets used to the increased amount of serotonin floating around. When you stop cold turkey and the amount of serotonin drops, your body does some very…uh…strange things. I did it once and it felt like I had the flu. If you were to decide to come off it, the dose should be tapered slowly, but the amount of time it takes to get off the med differs from one person to another depending on how sensitive you are to serotonin.

    That being said, it IS possible to come off these meds. I don’t have OCD, but social anxiety. I was on Zoloft for about 4 years, but once I’d established myself at a stable job and was comfortable with my coworkers and my responsibilities, I was able to come off it. Unfortunately, I had to go back on it 2 1/2 years ago for major depressive disorder. I just recently cut my dose down, but think I may have cut too much. I really flipped out on my husband the other day. Granted, he had just nearly burned the kitchen down, but my reaction was still perhaps a bit extreme…😬


  10. Stephen, I appreciate your honesty about the “delusion” of self-reliance. I think we all suffer from that particular ill, different variations but the same animal. When I finally allowed myself to “rely” on antidepressants, I found peace I had not known. Peace always in Jesus, but if my brain tells me lies without the meds … glad you wrote about this. Have a blessed day. In Christ, Julie


  11. Why do we “forget” to do the things that we know are best for our well-being? I’ve been traveling lately and recently gotten sick and only now, after reading your blog, can I identify the habit I’ve neglected that may be contributing to my lingering suffering. Thanks for your sincere posts. I love that we live in a world where we can learn from and help one another.


  12. I am in the same boat, and have been pondering a similar idea as of late. The specific medication I take is now being tapered down, and I hardly recognize myself. The changes aren’t drastic- I’m not robbing banks and raising a ruckus- but I feel the paranoia and shortness with others where I usually wouldn’t.

    I wondered too whether I was merely a product of the medications that I take, or whether there was more to me than the “skittles” (our preferred nomenclature) I have to take each day. What helped me was looking into my past, to the “pre-skittle” me– and that’s how I was able to discern my true self from the ugliness that withdrawals (all as prescribed and directed by my physician) have lately bestowed upon me. From your writing, I would imagine you can look back to a time before all the little circles we take, and would be pleasantly grounded in the decency in the core of your person.

    PS, I believe I remember your blog from a very long time ago when I wrote under another name, where (perhaps) a family member had a health issue. If not, I apologize, if so, I hope all is well. I will keep your family in my prayers regardless.

    God Bless.



  13. I take one anti-anxiety medication, one anti-seizure medication for epilepsy, one medication for nerve pain, one for acid reflux, one for anemia, two inhalers for asthma, I’m supposed to take an antidepressant but I stopped taking it three months ago they made me feel weird. So I hear you!!!


  14. One of the reasons your writing resonates with so many is because of your willingness to be real. I needed (and I’m sure many others do as well) to read this because I too, have to rely on meds to balance myself. It’s refreshing when we hear that “me too.”


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