Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something here – I definitely need to get better at this! Everyone is talking about the lockdown and how difficult it is for some, but I think once you get used to this new way of living, it is not that challenging any more, isn’t it? I have been keeping myself busy every day, doing little things around the house, catching up on movies and books, and it became a new norm for me you know? Just being at home all the time, reflecting on life, my goals, achievements, and realizing that what matters most to me is mine (and my family) health and happiness. It’s shameful how we take everything for granted, and we only realize what we have lost once it’s gone. But I can’t help but think it’s an incredibly good lesson for all of us.
I have to say, I wouldn’t be this optimistic if it wasn’t for antidepressants that I am taking, and today I would like to talk about them a little bit more.
First things first, we should never be afraid of antidepressants. There is still a big misconception about the usage of them, and it’s totally wrong. People still think that if you are being prescribed this type of medication it means you are severely depressed mental schizophrenic who cannot get up of the bed without crying or thinking about killing himself. That’s definitely not true.
So what are they and why people are taking them?
They are called antidepressants because they have been created to treat depression, that is a fact. However, they aren’t only for depression. They are used to treat various other issues, like addictions, eating or anxiety disorders, social phobias, and many more. They have been invented in the 1950s, and have been in full usage since mid-sixties. I am not going to bore you with details on how many have been created, different types, etc but what you do need to know is that they are safe, people don’t get high after taking them, neither they become dull or unresponsive. You don’t get addicted to them, have any cravings, or need to increase the dose to get the same results.
Some people – me for example – have a low level of serotonin which is supplied to their brain, meaning there is a chemical imbalance. OK, fine, but what does it mean exactly? Well, it simply means there is too much or too little of any substance that helps the body work the way it should. You see, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that passes the messages between brain cells, nerves, and the rest of the organs in your body. And antidepressants block the reuptake of serotonin (or other substances) into the nerve cell that releases it at first, prolonging its action in the brain.
In my case, low levels of serotonin cause severe anxiety, mood swings, anger, and negative way of thinking. I always thought this is who I am and it will never change. But I reached a point in which I just have had enough of myself because my behavior was breaking the relationships with everyone – my partner, my family, and my friends. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone, had no energy, my confidence was super low, and I was just frustrated all the time for no reason. I have been recommended antidepressants by my psychotherapist and I took them as the last call, I thought if this will not help me – there is literally no hope for me. Fast forward to now, two months on from my first dose and I cannot believe how they have changed me. The relief I am feeling every day of not being anxious is something I thought I will never feel. My head is no longer speeding in circles overthinking every situation from past, present, and future, but instead is calm, restful, and undisturbed. I could use all those smart words to describe how it exactly feels, but in reality, the only word that describes my life now is a relief. Imagine living with a buzzing noise in your head, like you would have a bee permanently flying inside your head, since you were a child, and now that bee is just quiet. There is no more noise. No more disturbance, no more sleepless nights, no more feeling tired. This is exactly how you feel after taking antidepressants. You feel relieved.
I have been through depression a few years ago and there were times where I would feel very lonely. I have been bullied at school where kids had bets on how long will I last and paid money to those who could beat me up. I have been called names, laughed at, and not taken seriously by teachers or other adults. I’ve lost family members, went through deep grief and anger. I have witnessed addictions in my family and have lost friends in accidents, sickness, and drug overdoses. I have experienced times where I’ve been suicidal and didn’t see a way out other than to end my life. So I know what it feels like when you feel like the world is against you, and you don’t have any more energy to survive. But, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think antidepressants help to see that light.
If you are going through some tough times, and you can’t do this anymore, my advice is for you to sit down, make yourself a nice cup of tea and make the call to your local doctor. Ask for help. Ask for medication. Don’t be ashamed or afraid. In America, 1 in 10 is taking antidepressants, where in the UK figures show it’s 1 in 4 people who are on them. So you aren’t alone. Don’t think that ending your life will solve your problems. Nobody has ever said that life is easy because it’s definitely not, but it can be a little brighter and calmer. Besides, how do you know that medication won’t help you? Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. But you do have to try, you can’t just give up on yourself just yet.
You know, we are in a weird situation now where people aren’t allowed to see family and friends or even go to work, and it is tough for everyone. I know it would be probably unbearable for me if I wasn’t on medication, but that is exactly the reason why I recommend them to everyone who is suffering mentally. Don’t do this to yourself. Don’t go into this dark corner. Your head is as important as your eyes, heart, or liver. Take good care of it and things will work themselves out sooner or later. But don’t ever lose hope. It’s going to get better. I promise. But make that call and ask for help. Don’t be afraid.
My next post will be Q&A about antidepressants, so tune in this week to find out more about them!