I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.

Anne Frank

It’s been two months since I stopped taking fluoxetine (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – a commonly prescribed antidepressant). And, three months since I didn’t continue my psychotherapy. After I moved back to Jakarta, I haven’t find the right psychiatrist to continue my treatment. The last psychiatrist that I met, told me that I didn’t need an antidepressant anymore. It was a relief to hear about it, but from time to time anxiety kicks in and I felt like I wanted to throw up or just swim deep into the ocean and never resurface.

"When you’ve found yourself at the bottom of a black hole, and it took every single piece of energy in you to scrape yourself out, of course you never, ever want to fall back into that hole again. Whenever any sign of the anxiety and depression started creeping back in, I immediately became frozen with fear that I was headed back into that horrible black hole, and that this time, I wouldn’t be able to get myself out."

The fear of relapse, can be debilitating.

I was under the impression that it would be almost impossible for me to go off-meds without going back to relapse. And yet, the fear is still looming in the background. After my first episode in 2017, I also slightly got better. But then I relapsed even worst in the last months of 2018 and the beginning of this year. I would always plunge back into darkness triggered only by the slightest kind of pressure. All that pressures, would be manageable if I’m in the right state of mind. But, I wasn’t. Sometimes, I am not sure if I ever will.

I don’t want to go back to that darkness anymore though. It was simply, the worst kind of feeling that I’ve ever felt throughout my life. The last thing I want from writing about depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues are to romanticized it. There’s nothing romantic about not being able to get out of the bed and hating yourself for not even able to do the simplest thing like waking up and taking a shower.

This fear, will eat me up alive if I keep ignoring it.

However, one thing I remembered was, recovery is never linear. I remembered that Kaitlin, my therapist, told me that fear of relapse is a very common thing. Especially because I’ve been hospitalised and heard too many verdicts about my condition. It becomes self-fulfilling prophecy, and not a very good one I would say. She told me to arrange a plan whenever anxiety kicks in and I fear of going back to relapse.

So this is my plan: #30DaysofStorytelling.

Writing has always been therapeutic for me. I love the time I spent readings, researching, making myself a cup of coffee, lighting up my cigarette and pour my worries into writing. There’s a moment of silence inside my head, wherever I am, when I decided to write. That moment of silence is my safe haven. The time and place where I could converse with myself and pour out my feelings without having to fear judgment.

So here goes, the prologue to 30 Days of Storytelling. I’ll be using 30 Journaling Prompts for Self-Discovery that I found from Psych Central. In the next post, I am going to write about my favorite way to spend the day.

Wish me luck, and if you’d like to hop along this 30 days of journey. I welcome you with an open hand.

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