I haven’t been online for some time now, and I know my last posts didn’t sound too optimistic, but I want to assure you all, I am doing fine.
A few weeks ago I was going through a very difficult time in my personal life, and so as a result, I have made the decision to start taking antidepressants. I wanted to talk about it, because first of all, this is the very first time for me to be on any sort of medication, and secondly, I feel like when it comes to mental health, we don’t talk about medication much.
When I had my first experience with depression and anxiety four years ago, my therapist offered me antidepressants as part of the therapy, but I refused them back then. I felt like I wanted to face my demons with a clear mind, and I was desperate to understand how my own mind works without relying on pills. What I didn’t want to admit to myself back then though, I was afraid of antidepressants. I thought they will make me stupid, slow, quiet and turn me into a zombie.
So what changed? Well, as I mentioned before, my last few months were a bit rough. As hard as I tried to see sense in everything around me, I’ve found my own head spinning pretty fast again. I felt anxious, had trouble sleeping, couldn’t concentrate for longer than five minutes and my head was overwhelmed with thoughts. Not always negative ones, some of them were nice and relaxing, but overall, my head was working on a full-speed non-stop, without a break. I became very irritative and easily frustrated. I felt trapped in my own head like I couldn’t control it and so I reached a point where I desperately needed my thoughts to stop or they will make me crazy. The feeling of it was just too much to handle and I didn’t want to take that risk.
I went to see a therapist, and when I said I feel overwhelmed, my doctor suggested antidepressants. To be honest, I still didn’t want to take them, but I was so desperate for a quiet day without thinking I said ok, let’s try them. Of course, I was made aware of the side effects, so I wanted to stop blogging for a while to go through them behind closed doors.
It’s been a full month now since my first dose and I can tell you I feel like this medication saved my life. First two weeks were pretty difficult due to side effects, I had no appetite at all, was very sleepy and feeling like a robot, I mean, I was fine, but everything I was doing felt like I was on auto-robot mode. I felt neutral about everything. As strange as it sounds, side effects were challenging during first two weeks, but at the same time, I cannot express how relieved I was. Over the course of a few days, I started to sleep better, didn’t wake up in the middle of the night to overthink anymore and most importantly I stopped feeling anxious. All of the worries I had in the past few months has disappeared entirely, and if I started to think about them again, my mind was telling me: you know what, don’t worry about this now, you are going to be just fine. I started to look at my life in a way I have never looked before, I was suddenly grateful for everything and happy with myself. I had more energy to wake up and to do things, and even the smallest tasks, like sorting out the drawers made me feel extremely proud of myself. My expression in the mirror was no longer dull and sad – I saw a smile on my face more often and somehow I was feeling happy again.
What I’ve found the most extraordinary about antidepressants is how my brain just stopped processing overflowing amount of thoughts. I was concentrating on one thing at the time, I didn’t think of what happened yesterday, or what will happen tomorrow. I am doing things now and only now matters. And so my mind doesn’t feel busy any more. It’s a relief I thought I will never feel in the entire life. I have been used to thinking about everything and to be honest, I thought it’s perfectly normal. I didn’t realize how damaging that was for my existence and how big of an impact that had on my life.
Looking back now I regret a little I didn’t take antidepressants four years ago, because perhaps my life would be completely different now, but I believe everything happens for a reason, and so I am grateful I have made the decision this year. I will be writing more about it in my next few posts, but I wanted to start the conversation about antidepressants now so we don’t feel ashamed or afraid of them. There is no need, in fact, they really do help.
Of course, I believe talking to other people about your struggles & asking doctors for help is a first step to take when you feel overwhelmed or you struggle with your mental health. However, let’s not be embarrassed about the fact that we are on medication – those little pills can often save your life and I feel super proud of myself I am taking them.