Today I wanted to speak about something quite important – antidepressants.
Most of you who have been following my blog for a while will know I am on antidepressants for my anxiety, and when I first featured on my blog that I was on them, I received a lot of questions and continue to, about all the pros and cons of them, what they do, and if they actually work, so I’ve decided to talk to you all about them in this blog post.
I have been on antidepressants since February, when my anxiety became so severe that I was barely leaving the house, and was having regular panic attacks. My mindset was so permanently negative, as I was so scared of life, that I became depressed. Nothing brought me joy, not even my blog and Brighton Girl Problems, which has always been something that makes me so happy. My family, my friends, my anxiety therapist, and then when I went to see her, my doctor, all said that I needed to consider antidepressants as I’d gotten to such a bad stage in my life, I couldn’t cope any longer.
Before I started talking about my experience with them, I just want to say that I’m not trying to promote taking medication and I’m not saying it fixes everything – I tried many things first, including anxiety therapy for months, a very expensive hypnotherapist, and just trying to tell myself to get on with it, but nothing was working, and I was so unhappy. Antidepressants haven’t cured my anxiety by any means, but they’ve taken the edge off.
When I knew I was going to the doctors to talk about antidepressants, I spoke to a friend about them, and he said something to me which has stuck with me since. He said, ‘Right now, you’re a house that is crumbling a little bit, and you need some help. The antidepressants are the scaffolding, holding the house up whilst it’s being worked on, and when the house is as strong as it used to be, the scaffolding can be taken off’.
What he said was so unbelievably true, because antidepressants have held me up, and allowed me to actually be able to leave the house a lot more, and be a lot happier, whilst I’m working on the root of the problem.
The antidepressants I am on are Sertraline 50mg. They are in a group of drugs called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). What it does, is affects the chemicals in my brain, which are unbalanced due to the anxiety and depression.
When you first start taking anti depressants, you may feel a little bit worse whilst you adjust to the medication; if you feel worse or suicidal, you need to speak to your doctor immediately, that’s really important.
To be honest, I felt better straight away; the medication takes around 4 weeks to start having a noticeable effect but because I knew I had something in place to help me, I felt so, so much better. I had gone along for so long, trying to find my way without a proper plan, hoping that one day I’d just wake up and feel better, but it just didn’t happen.
Depression and anxiety is like the weather; there’s no guarantee each day when you wake up whether it’s going to be sunshine or rain, or you’re going to feel happy or down, or incredibly anxious. And just like the weather, the day can start of sunny but gradually things can cloud over.
It’s now August and I have been on Sertraline since February. I can honestly say, that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made for myself, to go on the anti depressants.
Side effect wise, I haven’t had many. I am a lot less emotional, in the fact that I used to cry a lot, not even in connection with my mental health but just over different things, and now I don’t cry often at all. They say that women can be effected by a lack of want for intimacy, which I suppose I felt at the beginning, but it’s evened itself out now.
I really recommend taking the pills with juice rather than water. I take mine with orange juice. When I take mine with water, I feel a bit sick, because it takes me longer to swallow them and then the taste can become quite bitter. With orange juice, the consistency is thicker so I can swallow them down in one, and not taste them.
I started off on one pill a day, and I now take one and a half because I felt one wasn’t enough. I feel like this is a good amount for me, but I’m not ready to stop them just yet.
My doctor, who has honestly been so understanding and amazing, recommended for me to not come off them as Summer ends and the colder months start; she said that she always recommends for people to come off them in Summer as it generally lifts peoples spirits so it’s easier to come off them.
As for coming off them, I was worried that I was going to get really bad withdrawal symptoms, which is one of the reasons it took me a while to actually express my need for them.
However my lovely doctor has explained that she will take me off them really gradually, so instead of taking one and a half pills a day, I’d take one pill for a week, and then one pill every other day, and just gradually be taken off them so that I didn’t get a huge crash in mood and emotions.
I feel like that’s pretty much everything, but of course if you have any questions you want to ask me about anti depressants, feel free to tweet me or email me and I’ll do my best to get back to you.
I hope this blog post has helped any of you that are feeling hopeless or low, and like there’s no point in anything because honestly, I felt that way for so long, I thought I was in a black tunnel and there was no end to it. But there was an end, and I can now enjoy my life the way I was meant to!
All my love BGP xx