Goodbye, Prozac.

I have an announcement that is both scary and exciting: I’m going off medication.

I’ve been on Prozac (fluoxetine) for two and a half years now. It helped me accomplish things in therapy that I was unable to accomplish on my own at the time. Those of you who have been on this ride with me since I started therapy three or so years ago know how much I struggled with the decision to medicate. I was very opposed to the idea, but my therapist talked me into giving SSRIs one more shot.

Getting to a high enough dose for positive effects was difficult. I almost quit many times. But the battle was worth it. I started making progress. I started feeling like I could handle things. I started to believe in myself more. It was exactly what I needed.

Over the last couple of years, Prozac has continued to do that for me: make OCD manageable.

Things have gotten dramatically easier to deal with the past few months, even though I haven’t changed my dosage. I’m finally getting to a point where the Exposure Response Prevention exercises have paid off. I’m finally seeing real, tangible evidence of my brain being reprogrammed. OCD is retreating, and it feels amazing.

So I decided to get off Prozac. Those of you who have been reading for awhile know that I never wanted to be on medication permanently, that my therapist and I planned to use it as a temporary tool, something to help me get to a better place. Well, I’m in a better place—a much better place. It’s time to stand on my own again. That’s both terrifying and exciting. Terrifying because I could fall flat on my face. OCD could pop back up. But it’s exciting because I believe I’ll be fine. I know what I’m doing now, and I’m going to work really hard at continuing ERP exercises as I taper off Prozac.

I’m very hopeful and confident about this. I can’t wait to see what happens.

That said (and this is for those of you who don’t have OCD) this doesn’t mean I’m on my way to being cured. There is no cure to OCD. Yes, I’m doing better lately than I have done in years, and I’m getting off medication, but that’s only for now.

The reality is that I’ll need to go back on medication at some point in the future. It could be months away, or it could be years, decades down the road. There’s no way to tell how long this good period will last. I’m not being pessimistic here. That’s how OCD works. You can overcome your obsessions and your compulsions for a time and have a bit of freedom from that anxiety, but OCD just lies in wait, dormant, when that happens. It doesn’t disappear entirely. I will always have OCD. Always. That’s just how it is. And remembering that is important because I don’t want to punish myself when OCD hits me hard again. I don’t want to blame myself for something I cannot control.

So I’m going to enjoy this period fully. I’m going to revel in being off medication. I’m going to get my hands dirty and take advantage of whatever momentary freedom I can grab. I’m going to continue pushing myself outside my comfort zone. I’m going to store up how good it all feels because I’ll need these memories later when things get difficult again.

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15 thoughts on “Goodbye, Prozac.

  1. I am praying for u. I recently told my fiancé about ur story in hopes that it will encourage him. He has just found a therapist who has used ERP and is starting sessions with her along with some changes in his medication (which he hates). One of his biggest challenges is that he doesn’t think therapy will make a difference and very negative about it. How long have u been in therapy? Sending positive tgoughts and prayers ur way!

    1. Thank you for the thoughts, etc. It’s hard to be positive, but encourage him to stick with it. I was in therapy for a year and a half. Though I’m not in therapy anymore, I still practice all of the things I learned in therapy. I moved recently and have been meaning to find a new therapist here, but therapy can be really expensive.

      I hope your fiancé sticks with it for awhile. Therapy can be really difficult but so worth it if he puts in the work. Patience and diligence is key.

  2. I love this post, and am so happy medication worked as intended for you, and now you can move forward without it. You have the tools to continue to fight your OCD with everything you have learned in therapy, so maybe you won’t need the meds ever again. If you do, that’s fine too, but I think you just might be surprised at how well you do without them. Please keep us posted. Good Luck!

  3. So glad to read that you’re feeling better about things and handling life as it comes at you. I can only imagine the hurdles with OCD. I enjoy reading about your wins!

      1. Fun to write about but can also serve another purpose….. Looking back on wins keep us going into the future. I know there are many days I have to go back and read some of my wins to pick myself up lol

        Congrats on your progress!!

  4. Congratulations, and best of luck on your next part of this journey! While I’d love to hear your progress, I feel it “right” to share that if you move away from this (your blog), then I can only hope it means you’ve moved on to an even better path along your journey.

    You are a inspiration to me, and a source of hope and support during my own struggles with OCD. Keep up doing what you’re doing (taking care of you)! And thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

    1. Thank you. I intend to keep writing because I’ll never be fully rid of OCD. And I also really want to stay connected with fellow OCD sufferers here. But I probably will post less. Thank you for your kind words, and I hope your struggles lessen soon, too.

  5. Almost a year ago I stopped taking my medication, with support from my psychiatrist. I had been on various doses of Prozac for five years, along with Cymbalta for the last of those five years.

    Alas, the latter half of last year became trying at times, and my psychiatrist also retired – but thanks to the five years of therapy I’d spent with him, I can now live a lot better with depression when it strikes.

    All the best with this new stage of your life! 🙂

    1. Thank you! I’m glad being off medication has work for you, for the most part. I’m glad that medication was helpful to me with therapy and that it got me to a place where I don’t need it for awhile. I’m so excited about this stage. I feel like I can do anything.

  6. Good for you! And long may this period of strength last.

    Remember these times in the future for if OCD does strike back. Remember you have been strong enough to beat it before, and you are strong enough to beat it again.

  7. Wow. I JUST found this blog. And I’m at exactly the same point right now in my treatment for OCD. I hope it went well for you. I’m going to continue reading…

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