I felt as though Dr. Jim had smacked me across the face! “You will most likely have to be on these anti-depressants for the rest of your life,” he stated matter-of-factly. I just stared at him in disbelief as he prescribed my death sentence.

I felt like such a failure! I had spent three days hiding from the world. I had shut off the ringer on my bedroom phone, shut off my heart, my emotions and slept nearly non-stop. I didn’t eat, didn’t shower, and only left the bed to go to the bathroom. No one could comfort me. No one could reach me. I just wanted to hide myself in the protective cocoon of my bed for the rest of my life.

I finally admitted that SOMETHING wasn’t right. I agreed to see a doctor when my job was put in jeopardy because I wasn’t able to work. I was the main breadwinner in the family. I felt the weight of the world pressing in around me and I just wanted to sleep. I was tired of everyone else telling me how to think, act and feel.

I needed PEACE. I needed to be happy again! All I did was work and commute an hour each day every day. I had no friends, no hobbies, and no one in my life except my husband. We worked opposite schedules and rarely saw each other.

I felt ALONE. I wanted something more. I was at the end of my rope, feeling alone, lost and desperate for a break. The pressure and stress of always being the adult, always being strong, always making the decisions, finally broke me into a million pieces of shattered glass. The only way I knew to fix that was to stay in bed and avoid the world. Sleep gave me a temporary solution – a way to avoid the life that had become more than I could bear. Sleep provided that solution until the day I had to admit that I needed help and had to agree to take the anti-depressants.

I couldn’t stay in bed forever. I needed to start to participate in life again.

I became a human guinea pig as a couple of psychiatrists attempted to find the right “cocktail” to bring me out of the depression. I needed to function in the world. I needed to earn a living. The first psychiatrist prescribed something that caused migraines. Even after completing an extensive medical history that included issues with severe migraines, this doctor didn’t listen! 

“It could take three to four weeks before you start feeling better,” psychiatrist number one informed me in her business-like cold manner. “We’ll give you a note for work.”

I was back in her office within three days with one of the worst migraines I had ever experienced. It wasn’t bad enough that I was feeling hopeless. Now I was feeling hopeless, worthless AND in massive pain. I switched psychiatrists when it became evident that she wasn’t going to listen to me.

The next psychiatrist immediately started me on something different. I finally started to feel a little bit better after three weeks and was able to return to my toxic, judgmental place of employment. When my boss and his wife started telling me what I should do with my life I realized that I could no longer function in this environment and started looking for something that would provide me with less stress while I worked at feeling “normal” again.

What I didn’t realize was that my life would become a roller-coaster ride of anger, resentment, fear and experimentation with medications. Every time I started feeling a bit blue or couldn’t manage daily tasks, the doctor would add a medication or change my medications.

The chemicals in my body were altering the very core of who I was. I went through many years of pushing my family away, avoiding social situations and isolating myself. My weight soared to a high of 320 pounds as I coped with life through the mask of medication that was numbing me, putting me into manic modes or severely depressed modes.

I hated myself a little bit more every day. I hated my life. I hated being dependent on medications to just get through normal daily tasks. I took out all of my frustration and anger on those closest to me, my husband and daughter. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t feeling better. I had all of this medication in me that was supposed to FIX me!

After twenty years on anti-depressants, existing from day-to-day, going through the motions of life, missing out on much of my family’s gatherings, activities, and fun, I finally looked for another solution. I was tired of feeling sick and tired! I was tired of just existing and wanted more out of my life. I was tired of being on medication and couldn’t accept Dr. Jim’s pronouncement that I would be on this medication for the rest of my life.

I became desperate for another solution and sought help from my Acupuncturist. She had treated me for a neck injury with great success so I approached her about helping me get off of the anti-depressants. I was terrified of giving up my safety net but I had hit a rock bottom and needed to do something different. I credit Julia with saving my life! We developed a plan, in conjunction with my medical doctor, to wean me off of the anti-depressants. 

“You do realize that you may not be able to get off of them completely,” Dr. P said skeptically. He made it clear that he didn’t trust the idea of acupuncture. “You can give it a try but you need to know that you may not be able to just get off of them.”

I was determined to make a change and within six months I had not only eliminated one of the anti-depressants, but I had also cut the other medication down to half the dosage. This was almost five years ago and today, I am completely off of all medications, living a happy, productive life.

So much has changed in my life as I gained clarity and my sense of self through this process. I was able to start a business of my own and thanks to that business, I finally have found hope! I have found passion and purpose that gives me a reason to get out of bed every single day. I am finally free of the chains that bound me to my past and have a sense of renewed joy and happiness in my life.

I am finally FREE TO FLY! 

Your comments, feedback, and stories are welcomed and encouraged. If you would like to join me on this journey of growth, empowerment, and purpose, message me on Facebook for an invitation to my group, “Real, Raw and Fabulous” – a group of women supporting and uplifting each other through their shared experiences.

Jerri St. John is changing lives and helping others find financial independence as a Paparazzi Independent Consultant with a growing team of over two-hundred consultants nationwide. Jerri has overcome clinical depression, morbid obesity, domestic violence and a childhood of abuse. She’s using the powerful tools she learned to transform her life to help teach, empower and inspire other women to become the best version of themselves possible. As a result of her inspiring FB Live series, Finding YOUR Power, Jerri has launched a community of like-minded women seeking to encourage and support each other. Find Jerri and learn how to begin your own journey to financial freedom and growth. Join her VIP Group on Facebook HERE. And check out her website HERE.  

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