The world gets a little bit big and scary when you stop taking Zoloft. It’s been a week, and my go-to emotion since then has often been fear: fear that my boss thinks I’m doing a poor job at work, fear that friends are upset over tiny transgressions, fear that the client who dislikes me is a threat to my physical safety. I have to work to avoid thinking that my wellbeing isn’t constantly at imminent risk.
I started taking the medication a year ago as a ploy to regain control over my own brain, haunted incessantly by demons far more potent than the ones described above.
But that strategy came with a cost. SSRIs have a way of making you feel, as a friend put it, “zombified”—cut off from much of the emotional range that gives life its zest. Coming back from that has been unspeakably satisfying. Sights and sounds and moments have a depth that, for much of the past year, I struggled to experience and almost forgot even existed. I have more energy. Conversations are more rewarding. I feel more creative, more compassionate. It’s like the minute when “Wizard of Oz” suddenly flips from black and white into full color.
I’ve opted for the full-color world, even if it means being a little jumpy for a while. Despite this rocky transition, the medication unquestionably worked—I can handle the anxieties on my own, and I’m sure they will diminish as time goes on. I couldn’t have said that a year ago.