Embracing the New Me - Avideh Saeed

How many moments can you point to and say: “That’s when it all changed”? For some, there are specific moments that stick out immediately. Others only realize these moments weeks, months, or even years later. The morning of July 13th, 2019 is my moment. That morning I had a medical emergency at work which soon turned into a scary diagnosis. Before I knew it, the life that I lived prior to that day became a thing of the past. I quickly realized that I had to let go of the person I used to be in order to find the new version of me; the version that I had no choice but to become. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped it would be. 

As someone who has suffered with mental health problems for as long as I can remember, this was even harder to accept. The main reason being that in order to stay healthy, I had to stop taking the medication that helped keep me sane for so many years. There’s a big stigma around taking medication for conditions such as depression and anxiety. Thankfully, It was never an issue for me, and ignoring it actually saved my life. At first I had hoped that stopping my antidepressants wouldn’t be a big deal. I had changed a lot since I first started taking them and was in a completely different place in my life. What I didn’t think of however, was just how much my other health problems would affect me. I slowly tapered off of the antidepressants, so it wasn’t an overnight change for my mental health. 

Once I was completely off of them it still took a few weeks for the medication to fully leave my body. After that point, it seemed as if the change happened overnight. The combination of not being on medication that I so heavily relied on for the last few years along with my new health problems became too much for not only my mind, but also my body to handle. This new way of life that I had to live became more and more difficult by the day. I became angry, cried at every little thing, and was overall a monster of a human being to deal with (just ask my roommates). Watching my friends live their lives, go out drinking, and stay up all night killed me. I stayed home a lot, and the nights that I did go out usually ended with me going home early just to cry in peace. My friends and family were the only thing that prevented me from fully hitting rock bottom (I was pretty close though). Without them, I quite literally would not be here today. Does this mean I’m all better now? Not even close; majority of the time I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And while I still refuse to believe that everything happens for a reason, I’ve learned a lot during this past year.

 I’ve realized just how precious life is, and that you should never take your health for granted. We go to bed every night expecting that tomorrow is just another day in our lives where we go about our same old routine. The little things we do everyday seem to go over our heads, and we don’t think about how some will never be able to experience them ever again. And while my condition isn’t life or death, I feel deeply for those who are in that predicament. I’d like to think that this whole experience has made me a better person, but I’m still getting acquainted with the new me. It’ll take some time to fully adjust, but it helps to know that I’m not alone. 

-Avideh Saeed

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