The Backcountry Prescription Experiment

The Backcountry Prescription Experiment
Mathina Calliope goes off her antidepressant and into the woods.

Longreads

Mathina Calliope | Longreads | December 2019 | 13 minutes (3,134 words)

In 2014 my doctor took me off the antidepressant I had credited with making life okay for the previous 16 years; at 41 I was trying to have a baby with my boyfriend, Inti. I didn’t get pregnant, but this story isn’t about my failure to become a mother. Instead it’s about how a break from my meds led, ultimately and circuitously, to another kind of birth; to a different life for myself.

My doctor’s orders seemed rash. Going off antidepressants is fraught, especially since so many people who want to stop taking them have been on them for so long. New guidelines are emerging that acknowledge this danger; a 2019 study in The Lancet Psychiatry recommended patients taper “over a period of months and down to amounts much lower than minimum therapeutic doses.” But my doctor was…

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