• Gary Moller

How to safely get off your depression medications

Updated: Aug 12, 2020

Depressed man

I went through a really bad patch in life during the early '90s. My life was a mess. My business was struggling, my marriage was broken, I was a sole parent of three children, I felt terribly alone and I was broke and might have to sell the house. On top of that, I had run myself into the dirt physically and even my heart was struggling. I had a mental breakdown. The doctor prescribed medication which I dutifully began to take. It had no effect that I could tell but I kept taking i. I took my children on a road trip. Unknown to me, my toddler son found my pills in the back of the car and he swallowed the lot! High as a kite and drifting into unconsciousness, a hasty diversion was made to the nearest hospital where his stomach was pumped and he was observed overnight. That was the last of the pills - no more no matter the need! On reflection, my son did me a favour.

I was forced to confront the "Root Causes" of my ills. I was forced to clean up my life and not to just ignore the mess with the help of some pills.

My life was trash. It was chaotic and I was incapable of sorting through the mess. I did not know where to start. I was being bombarded left, right and centre. I had no idea what to do. My brain was mush. When I look back on it, I still wonder how I survived this terrible time of my life. I was an emotional basket case and I did some really stupid things.

I was burdened by

  • Duty and obligations to everyone else other than myself.

  • Anger.

  • Guilt.

  • Shame.

  • Embarrassment.

  • Trying to please everyone.

  • Not knowing how to say, "No!"

  • Confusion, including bad decisions.

  • Financial hardship.

  • Physical exhaustion and ill health.

But that is all in the past. It is nothing for me to feel ashamed of and it is interesting to reflect on what got me through the hard times.

So what got me through?

  • My children.

  • Unconditional family support. My brothers and sisters rallied behind me despite my stupidity and my siblings being spread wide and far.

  • Community support, including help with meals, housework, and childcare. In my case, the Tongan community really stepped up to help me out.

  • People willing to lend an ear in a non-judgemental way.

  • Cuddles and hugs.

  • Counselling services, but ones that were focussed on generating action - positive change, including help with emotional and physical decluttering of my life. Thank you to the Sisters of Compassion here in Wellington for seeing that I was in trouble, reaching out and arranging this for me - amazing!

  • Saying "No!" to everything other than what is really necessary.

  • Time out. Extended periods of rest with ample time for reflection. This included "going bush" for several weeks at a time with the children (Special thanks to Pakirikiri Marae in Tokomaru Bay, for taking us in).

  • Time itself. As the