I've been on anti-depressants (fluoxetine) since May 2008. They helped a lot. When I was initially ill with post-viral fatigue, they took the edge off. That summer when I was properly depressed, they helped me feel a bit more alive. I stayed on them because I needed them. Of course, not everything about being on fluoxetine is great. I wanted to come off it before I got married because my main side effect was super-vivid dreams and being very restless in my sleep. I wanted to avoid subjecting Rob to that, if possible. But about a year ago, it was clear I was depressed again, I think due to all the changes that were happening in my life, and rather than decreasing my dosage in the run-up to our wedding, I increased it.
In the months since we got married, I initially crashed in mood and energy levels, leading to a referral to an ME clinic and the realisation that I most probably do have ME/CFS. But in the last few months, I've been feeling much better, in mood if not always in energy, and so I decided it was time to come off fluoxetine for good.
On Sunday 28 November, I took my last dose. It's been over a week now and I'm ok. I'm not depressed or blank or weepy as I was this time last year. I'm still easily tired and a little frustrated with getting so tired, but I'm not depressed. As for the side effects, well, you'll have to ask Rob if I'm any less restless. I still dream, sometimes they're vivid, but I seem to be losing my least favourite dreams - the ones that come just before I wake up, where I'm endlessly trying to break out of dreams into reality.
Fluoxetine was a useful drug when I needed it. I don't think it in itself solved anything, but it lifted me enough to take the edge off depression, to make the lows less dark and help me cope. I hope I won't need it again in the future, but I won't be a failure if I need its help again.