Have you heard these myths about coming off antidepressants?

Myth 1: Antidepressants are a permanent solution.

Myth 2: Coming off antidepressants is a smooth process for everyone.

Myth 3: Antidepressants work the same for everyone. I’ll reveal the truth, but first, let’s dive into these myths and uncover the real deal. Stay tuned for an eye-opening journey.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Gain personal insights on successfully coming off antidepressants and managing mental health challenges.
  • Discover effective strategies for dealing with postpartum depression and regaining emotional well-being.
  • Explore the impact of societal expectations on mental health and masculinity, and ways to navigate through it.
  • Understand the relationship between antidepressants and weight gain, and learn how to address related concerns.
  • Learn how medication can help in overcoming intrusive thoughts and managing mental health.

The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:00 – Important Disclaimer

00:01:08 – The Importance of Mental Health Support

00:03:49 – Andrew’s Journey with Antidepressants

00:08:20 – The Process of Weaning Off Antidepressants

00:13:30 – The Internal Struggle

00:14:10 – Understanding the Decision to Take Antidepressants

00:16:20 – Exploring Alternative Options

00:19:27 – Challenges of Coming Off Antidepressants

00:22:11 – Overcoming Stigma and Masculinity

00:25:48 – Gratitude and Hope

00:27:39 – Emergency Mental Health Support

00:27:22 – Suicide and Crisis Lifeline


00:00:00 - Catherine Collins

Hey, everyone, it's Cat here. I just want to give a disclaimer that this episode mentions challenging topics like suicide, intrusive thoughts, and other mental health topics. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call 911 or you can call 988, which is a suicide and crisis lifeline. Thank you for being here.

00:00:25 - Andrew Dewar

This episode is different than most of them. This is going to be called, are antidepressants worth it? We're going to have a frank and open conversation about depression, anxiety, antidepressant medications going on them, living on them, and coming off of them. This isn't done from a medical perspective. It's done from a first person perspective. I am presently coming off my antidepressants over the last two years. I think it's a worthwhile discussion that people need to hear about. Cat, I want to thank you for indulging me.

00:01:00 - Catherine Collins

Yeah, of course.

00:01:01 - Andrew Dewar

Because I just kind of found that there wasn't a lot of information on it, and I think people need to know.

00:01:07 - Catherine Collins

Sure. I first want to say that both of us are in support of whatever healthy means that people need to take to get to a better spot in life. Each human body is so different. Some people have never been depressed. Some people don't suffer from anxiety. But everybody has something that they struggle with and they deal with. And antidepressants are some of the most commonly prescribed medications in North America. All of us have a lot that we're dealing with. And my first time taking antidepressants was when I had postpartum depression after my twins were born. And I will say that for me, during that time, it was very worth it. I waited way too long to get help. My twins were ten months old before I just diagnosed. For a lot of moms, it's like, super early on. And you can say, like, all you want about, oh, well, like, you know, research shows that exercise is sort of equal to antidepressants and all these different things when you're at home and you have infant twins who are preemies. What the antidepressants helped me to do in that moment were to get me back to a baseline. And from the baseline, then I started feeling like getting up and washing the dishes, putting the twins in the stroller, and taking a walk. But until I had that assistance in that moment, I could not get to the baseline on my own. And then I came off of them, had many, many years off of them. Then my twins were seven. I went through a divorce, and I could feel myself slipping back into that same thing. And I knew myself, and I knew my past experience well enough to know I'm having trouble getting to that baseline again. And I personally am still on them, and I find that they're very helpful for me. But then again, I have, for my lifetime, struggled with mental health. It's a big reason why we do this podcast. I'm sure there was a point where I encouraged you or I shared with you. Yeah, there are these two points in my life where I took these medicines and they helped me. And you also were on antidepressants after your divorce. Just recently, you started the weaning process. So that's why we wanted to talk about it today, because one of us is on, one of us is off. There are pluses and minuses to it for sure, though. So tell me why you decided to get on them.

00:03:49 - Andrew Dewar

Well, part of it was at your suggestion. I did not come at things the same way you did. I was always in the personal growth community. There's a lot of stuff about how you should be able to kind of fix yourself without medications. And I was trying everything, you know, anything I could do. Nothing was working the way it was meant to, and I needed that help. But, I mean, I was so anti medication at all that, like, I don't take Advil. Like, you would see me, we'd have a day working, and I'd be like, you know, I'd be holding my head.

00:04:22 - Catherine Collins

Yes, he will suffer with a headache all day before he takes. Yeah.

00:04:25 - Andrew Dewar

So the idea of me being able to take anything on a daily basis into my system was just not an easy conversation. And the other part was that nobody around me at the time besides you. And even then, when you suggested it to me, I think that may have been, like, one of the first times that I had heard that you were on them, because nobody talks about it. It's like we're all anxious. We're all talking about mental health, and nobody is coming out and saying, look, this is what the real deal is. I thought the way I was thinking was normal, and I'm starting to realize that nothing about my life has been normal, and I'm good with that. But, I mean, I would be asking myself a hundred times a day, are you okay? And I would quickly answer, yes, I'm okay. And I would have this loop that would not let me get beyond okay. But I really was. And I was like, my jaw was tense because I was holding back emotions, mostly sadness. I would have moments where, like, when things got bad, I would have really dark thoughts. I would think about ending my life. I would think about, you know, it was always kind of self harm, just. And it wasn't so much that I wanted to die as that I wanted to escape the pain that I was in in that moment.

00:05:39 - Catherine Collins

Intrusive thoughts are very common.

00:05:42 - Andrew Dewar


00:05:43 - Catherine Collins

Nobody talks about those either.

00:05:45 - Andrew Dewar

No. And it was only when I went to my doctor and, you know, kind of said, like, I was so worried. I was worried that I was going to say, like, do you have thoughts about harming yourself? And I'm thinking like, no, I don't have thoughts about actually harming myself. I just don't want to be in my body anymore and I want to cash out, I think is maybe an optimal term. And it was really hard. It was hard to talk about it with anybody because nobody around me would talk about mental health. Most people in my circles at the time, this wasn't their reality. So I went on them and going on them sucked. At first it was really hard. I had to keep increasing the dosage. I ultimately was at the full dosage by the time for things to get better. What really helped was my doctor explained what was happening and how, not medical stuff, but basically the gut brain connection. A lot of the things that make you feel good are actually in your gut and they're feeding your brain and you don't have those things working right now. You're not creating serotonin in the way that your body's meant to. That's because my autonomic nervous system was just maxed out and has been maxed out since I was twelve. As we've talked about from the abuses that I suffered. And I just live with it because I thought that's what you do as a man, pure and simple. Stupidest thing. I would just about swore there. I'm so angry at myself for that. But we're keeping it pg, folks. But I felt like I failed. I really did. I felt like I had been a bad father. I felt like I had been a bad human. The way I was thinking, I felt like everybody else was enjoying life except for me. And I couldn't figure out what it was. So I did the outer layer of life. Things where you drink on the weekends and you buy new things and you think it's going to make you feel good. Just prolonging this deep, deep, deep pain that I had. And it was only when I decided to acknowledge that I would rather live a very, very long life with a lot of good things that I could help people. And I saw these things as happening for me, not to me that I was able to start moving forward with them, but it was really hard. Every drive to the doctor where I'm like, it's still not working, you start to really get worried because you're in your head all the time and you're like, well, what happens if I don't get better? You know, what happens if they give me the max amount and things don't change? And you're just always kind of forward pacing, worrying, because you don't know. So now fast forward. And from today, it was like probably four months ago, I went to him and said, you know what? I've had, like, six months where I haven't had any dark thoughts. I think I'd like to stray coming off of it. That was when the real challenges started, because it's unfortunate. Like, you know, I ballooned 20 extra pounds when I went from 150 to 200. And if you go back to our original episodes on YouTube, that's when I was, like, just about to start coming off.

00:08:51 - Catherine Collins

You went from 150 milligrams to 200 milligrams, just to clarify, because you're talking about gaining 30 pounds or 20 pounds or something.

00:08:59 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah. And I also, I gained 20 pounds when I went from that 150 to 200. And then when I knew that I had to come off, that was kind of when all the learning began because it's like, okay, so my body's going to stop doing this thing medically, it's going to have to start doing it on its own. So now I need to figure out how I'm going to work with this stuff. And having small wins in the day is a good thing. Having long term wins to shoot for and aim for is a good thing. But it's hard. It's really, really hard. There's been countless nights where I cry myself to sleep and I'm told, like, right now, as we are today, I went from, I think, 25 to zero, and I've been on zero for a couple of weeks. And there is a huge rebalancing that I have not heard anybody talk about. To be fair, I don't go listening for this stuff because I'm very suggestible with this. And I don't want to hear somebody say, like, oh, I had this pain in my toe, and now I'll be trying to pay attention to a pain in my toe.

00:10:00 - Catherine Collins

And everybody's so different, too. It's like some people have no symptoms coming off of it, and some people have severe symptoms coming. Our bodies are all so different. And so you don't know what's normal and what's not before, during, and after you take them. So you're at the point now where you're totally off of them. You used the time that you were on them to rebuild this new version of your life, your post divorce, bought a condo, building this business, taking care of your kids. And there's highs and lows. What made you want to come off of them? Was it. You hated the idea of, like, taking them from the beginning, but you knew that you had tried everything. You literally tried. You did. Just, if it's okay for me.

00:10:54 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah, go ahead. Open book here.

00:10:56 - Catherine Collins

Acupuncture. You did energy healing, exercising, apps therapy, very intense EMDR therapy, which is like light therapy. Very, very, very difficult. Sort of like a sprint type of therapy, right, where you go through a lot of trauma in a short amount of time.

00:11:16 - Andrew Dewar

To heal, just to heal.

00:11:17 - Catherine Collins

To heal. To heal. Like, you go through your trauma and you. We learn how to cope with it and move on. Even so, you could not get back to that baseline that we were talking about. And I think as a man, it's really hard. It's. I've heard other moms talk about postpartum depression and things like that, but you're supposed to be infallible. Society says, as this man, you're supposed to be able to think your way through it and push through it and, like, you could not live your normal life without this assistance. But what made you want to stop? You just, like, didn't want to take it anymore.

00:11:53 - Andrew Dewar

So partially it was that there were things around it. Like, I use muscle testing for a lot of stuff in my body, see if foods are good for me and whatnot. And everything outside of me was telling me I was good. And then the internal part, which is the most important part, was that I was starting to resent certain things of how I was. The. Being the heaviest I'd ever been, was having, like, this such a negative effect, the lethargy that I was experiencing. Like, it was like, well, I just need to get up and move more. And I'm like, I can't get off the couch today.

00:12:29 - Catherine Collins

So the side effects of being funny were really difficult for you?

00:12:33 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah. And I had heard people who were on these before saying, you know, like, I just don't feel like me. I don't feel sharp. It was almost like I was walking around, like, you know, the old school tvs used to have, like, the fine tuning where you could sharpen everything up. I guess cameras still have it now, too, but, you know, it just felt like, everything around me was blurry. I didn't feel good about my body. I didn't feel good that I had no energy. And so it kind of became this. Something needs to change.

00:13:03 - Catherine Collins

And you were ready to get back.

00:13:05 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah. And, you know, I will admit I'm the kind of person that, when I met, made my mind up to get off of them. Nobody was talking me out of it, and that's not a good thing. I have to overcome that in my own mind, because it's not about winning the war against the antidepressant in my body. It's what is the best thing for me. And I get those mixed up sometimes in my head. So that's why I decided to come off them, is because I did not feel like myself. And it's one thing to not have the dark thoughts, and it's one thing to not feel those things that I was feeling before the medication. It's a different thing to be sitting there and going, like, I feel like my life is just trickling away right now because, yes, my thoughts are okay, but I have no ability or desire or drive to do anything beyond that. And that sucked for me, as somebody who's a manifesting generator is somebody who likes to just go, go and do, do, do, and you gain your pleasure and your sense of purpose from, like, helping people.

00:14:08 - Catherine Collins

Yeah, suddenly you're at.

00:14:10 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah, suddenly you're at this point where you're like, I can't. So I just kind of felt like it was time, and maybe it had been time long before that. Maybe it was too soon. I don't know.

00:14:22 - Catherine Collins

Well, I think it's whatever's right for you, and it's good to talk about, because I definitely don't want to present it as, like, this magic cure all. It's like you take it in the sky's part and everything. Like, there is a trade off. And so, yeah, you don't have these dark, intrusive thoughts about, I feel like I want to die. However, for somebody like you, who's very athletic, hardworking, super high energy, to feel lethargic, you forgot good looking. My bad, obviously.

00:14:54 - Andrew Dewar

Sorry, folks. I just had to throw a joke.

00:14:56 - Catherine Collins

In you had to have that trade off. And what I want to share with people is, if you're considering getting on antidepressants, first of all, I want to take away the worry that I think a lot of people, especially, like, mom's postpartum, they're so afraid that if they go and they tell someone I'm having these dark thoughts, someone's going to put them in a hospital, take their kids away from them, you know, especially, like, going through a divorce or something like that. You're so afraid that if you're like, I'm so depressed from this divorce, I'm having these horrible thoughts, you're going to lose custody of your kids. And so there's all these, like, massive fears about, like, how society views them. So what I want to share with that is, first of all, anything that you say is private. And if they are intrusive thoughts and you do not have a plan, if you do not want to actually commit suicide, you don't have a developed plan. They're just. These thoughts are just shooting in your head, or I want to hurt my kid, or I want to do this. They're just shooting in your head as intrusive thoughts. They are so much more common than you can possibly imagine. And going to get help and learning that they're so much more common than you can imagine is comforting in itself. Also, if you are on an antidepressant, it's not working. You're gaining weight. You're not having these things. There are lots of types. Your doctor can switch them. There are lots of different things. You can do this want to share, like, a different avenue for people. If they're on it, they want to get off. If you're not ready to get off, just know that you do have other options. You just have to get that help, right?

00:16:28 - Andrew Dewar

Absolutely. This is all about getting the help you need right now. I think part of it, too, is that we think that, oh, then I'm going to be on them forever. And it's like, nothing is forever, folks. It's just, you need this right now. A couple of things came up, as you were saying that one of these things is something that I just found out in the last couple of weeks, is that some genes, I got my 23 andme done, and there are, like, genetics where, like, the SSRI's do not work as well with certain people. So if it's not working for you, it's not your fault. It's just. It's.

00:16:59 - Catherine Collins

It's your body, your biology.

00:17:01 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah, yeah. Know that. Know that. It's okay with that. When it comes to other things, like your intrusive thoughts, I think one of the best books I read this year was overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts. That book just kind of helps you see that. Like, look, we all get crazy thoughts sometimes. That doesn't mean they're true. You don't have to believe every thought you think every thought you think is not a fact. You know, like, I watched Star wars yesterday. I wanted to be a Jedi. That is not a fact. It's just five year old Andrew coming out and wanting to play. I'm trying to give some levity to this, but we all would do better if we get the help we need and we remove the stereotypes around it. If you are having these thoughts, talk to someone. If you feel like you just need something to get you through, go get what you need. We want you. Here I am talking to that person who is looking at this right now or listening to this and going, I don't know if I can. I felt that way. I am much better on the other side. And, yes, this rebalancing has been hard, but thanks to Catherine doing the research, because I refuse to deep dive on these things for my own sanity.

00:18:20 - Catherine Collins

Research is how I cope.

00:18:22 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah. And it's definitely not my coping mechanism. So at any point, I can turn around and start back on them.

00:18:31 - Catherine Collins

That's right.

00:18:31 - Andrew Dewar

And I've had conversations with you and with my parents about this, saying, like, I'm aware that these things are happening. I'm aware that these thoughts are not normal and they're not normally me. I have to give myself grace, time and space to see how it goes because I know I can always go back on them right now. And that's kind of my thing. So I'm doing the things naturally. Like, I just listen to calm your mind with food. Great book. I've been listening to a lot of things. I'm like, if this is a stomach thing, if this is a gut thing, then I need to have a good gut microbiome. So I need to learn about this stuff so that I don't go back to the old ways that I always was to lead me to maybe these things. Because there's a biology to this. There's chemicals involved. It's a lot more than just a pill that works or doesn't work. There's a lot of dynamics at play. What were you gonna say, Cat?

00:19:23 - Catherine Collins

Oh, I was gonna say why I was researching things. It's because the coming off of the meds has been a challenge for you. I was trying to help, and I helped by researching. Not that you asked, but this is just what I do.

00:19:40 - Andrew Dewar

I'm grateful you did, by the way.

00:19:41 - Catherine Collins

Yeah, well, I know that everybody's different. What I learned is because you were like, oh, it's been, like, three weeks, and I don't know why I'm feeling bad. Like, you might have just a burst of sadness or whatever it was. And like, I, knowing you as well as I do, I was just like, God, you're just not quite yourself, you know? And when I went and I was reading the general consensus of recent research is that for some people, the withdrawal effects from getting off of antidepressants take weeks. For others, it can take months. The withdrawal effects of antidepressants can be severe for some people and can be mild for others. But overall, there is very little research on coming off of these meds. There are physicians who specialize in very carefully downgrading from the meds. For some people, going from whatever it is, 200 to 100 to 50 to 25 to zero, depending on whatever your meta is, whatever the dosages are, is fine for other people, they have to go to a compound pharmacy and break it down even more by milligrams. Everyone's brain is different. There is not enough knowledge and research for physicians today. All they know now is like the typical guidelines of every two weeks kind of drop down in dosage. But for some people, it has profound negative effects. And so you just have to kind of do what works with you and work with a doctor who really listens to you and who can help you. And so, like, from everything that I've read, when I'm ready to go off my medicines, I'm going to have a really frank conversation. And I know because I'm very sensitive to the dosing and very prone to anxiety and depression, I know I'm going to have to take it exceptionally slow. For me personally, I know that about myself. In case anyone listening didn't even know that it was an option to go even slower getting off of them, you can. You've got to find somebody who will work with you. So, yeah, that's all I wanted to share, was that the surge in antidepressants is a relatively recent medical phenomenon, and as such, there's not a lot of knowledge of the best ways to come off of it for each individual.

00:22:11 - Andrew Dewar

Yeah, it's true. Again, thank you for the research and for sharing that stuff. Everybody chooses their own path with this, but I feel like it's always that, knowing what you know now, would you go back and do it? Yes, because I'm not having intrusive thoughts. And if there is, like, a slightly shaded thought, I won't call it a dark thought, because I haven't had those, but a slightly, you know, less than great thought, it doesn't last, whereas before it, you know, that would have been.

00:22:40 - Catherine Collins

Ours at this point. You had the coping skills developed when you were first feeling depressed, when you were in a bad spot. That's not the time to build the coping skills. Like, you gotta build it when you're well.

00:22:51 - Andrew Dewar

And I'm overcoming a lifetime of trauma that's been repressed. And there was a lot of stuff that I was dealing with, and maybe the guys will understand this. Maybe you will. I really don't know. But it felt like I was cheating. I felt like, in taking these drugs with all the other stuff I was doing, I was cheating. And it's such a stupid thing to think. I mean, I want to go back two years and smack the face off of me with that one. Like, it's just not right.

00:23:18 - Catherine Collins

Well, be kind to yourself, because the only reason you think that is because of societal norms that are pressed onto masculinity and how you should be. You didn't, like, think that on your own. You know, those thoughts are developed over a lifetime of what it means to. To be a dude and a dad and whatever.

00:23:35 - Andrew Dewar

Exactly. And I can either stay silent or I can start talking about this. So I'm talking about it.

00:23:40 - Catherine Collins

And I appreciate your vulnerability. I think it's gonna help a lot of people.

00:23:44 - Andrew Dewar

I hope it does. I really do. You know, I will suffer to help others. You've seen that already. But if this can help other people stop suffering, I'm way, way more open to that. Some of the stuff that I've experienced in the last couple of weeks coming down has been okay. But going from. I went from 25 to zero. Like, I'm a very, very calm person, as, uh. As Cat can attest. But the sadness has always kind of been there, and it's not depression or anything. I was like, I just got things that I cry about, and that's a healthy way of dealing with things that I never dealt with before. You know, like, if something made me sad, that was just a reason to go drink, basically. And not that I drank a lot, but, you know, like, that was just. That was the coping skill at that point, because I didn't know anything better. And now I recognize that alcohol was doing way more damage than the coping skill that it was serving at that point. So I pretty much cut out drinking. I haven't drank, I don't know, a couple of years now. So the feelings that I've gone through, I've, like, I've had sadness, I've had guilt, I've had anger. Came up quite a bit in the last week, and I'm not really sure why, but I just trust that as my body is rebalancing, feeling these things that I haven't felt in a long time sometimes allowed myself to feel, ever. When it comes to anger and certain other emotions, it's just part of it. And everybody's experience is going to be different with this. So what I'm really trying to impart is do what you need to do right now and you'll deal with the coming off of it later on when it's right for you. But I would rather be in this place now, being here and talking to you. Having gone through the ups and downs of going on them and the coming off than not having gone on them. I probably wouldn't be here because the thoughts were taking me over more than I care to admit out loud. That's the first time I've actually shared that publicly with anyone. But I wasn't going to be here much longer if I had had not gone on them. And now when I can contrast that version of me a few years ago to me today, he is so much better equipped. And I'm grateful for that because I don't get to this point without those pills. So that's my story.

00:26:03 - Catherine Collins

Well, I want to say thank you for your vulnerability. Normally at the end of each episode we do glimmers, but the way I want to end it today is by saying, hi, Andrew. I'm very glad you're here. You're one of my favorite people on earth. And Earth would not be the same or not nearly as bright without you. And I'm so grateful that you took the steps you needed to get care. I'm really proud of you for everything that you've done and even more proud that you shared that today. It's going to help a lot of people.

00:26:42 - Andrew Dewar

Thank you. I would just like to add one thing before we leave.

00:26:46 - Catherine Collins


00:26:46 - Andrew Dewar

I'd like to thank you. I'd like to thank my parents and everyone and, you know, David, Willie Joe, there's a whole. I got a long list. People who love Monica, like, people who have called and supported me when I needed it. I'm really touched by it all. But you get the brunt of it because of our working dynamic and everything. I just want to say thank you. Support of the people around you is everything. So thank you.

00:27:17 - Catherine Collins

Of course.

00:27:18 - Andrew Dewar

All right, everyone, thank you for listening. Take care.

00:27:22 - Catherine Collins

Hey, guys. Cat here. Thank you so much for listening to this episode and for supporting Andrew as he tells his story. If you are experiencing mental health issues, we want to encourage you to reach out and get the help you need, please seek help from a therapist or a medical doctor. If you are in an emergency mental health situation, please call 911 or nine eight eight, which is a suicide and crisis lifeline. Thanks, guys. Take care.