What is being on antidepressants like?
In December 2020, I made the decision to try antidepressants for my depression and anxiety. A culmination of years of anxiety and the pandemic has caused me to sink to an all-time low. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to choose medication. However, I’m so grateful I did. You can read about my journey to taking antidepressants here. You can also read an update here. I’ve since weaned myself off, but I’m so happy I made the decision to try them.
So, the important question is… what is being on antidepressants like?
I’ve already told you about making my decision to reach out to the doctor and ask for medication. The next step was to start the medication. Taking the first tablet was tough because I was petrified of the side effects. My two biggest worries were that they would make me feel sick, and I’d lose my creativity. Honestly, they kind of did both! But it was okay. After taking the first tablet, I felt quite sicky (although it could have been due to my anxiety). However, it did quickly pass. My creativity was also impacted, however, that was also okay. My confidence increased, and I found myself able to tap into my creativity in other ways.
It was nice to know I was doing something to help and that I finally felt like my life could move forward.
The side effects
For many people, when they ask ‘what is being on antidepressants like?’ What they really mean is what are the side effects like?
I had to keep reminding myself to take things slow. To me, it was just a tablet I was taking every day, but I forced myself to step back and remember I was altering the chemicals in my brain. It sounds scary when I say it like that. I’ve mentioned my side effects in other posts, so I’m just going to list them. If you want more information, then check out the posts I linked at the beginning.
Weight gain (?) I’ve popped a question mark next to this as I started a new contraceptive pill around the same time so that could be a contributing factor to those extra pounds!
Forgetfulness – it’s possible that this could have just been me haha. However, I found I was forgetting things a lot easier, and it was near impossible to recall.
How they made me feel
I felt good on them. While on them, I thought I felt amazing on them. Having come off of them, I can now see my emotions were all dampened down a little. However, that meant the negative emotions were a lot easier to cope with. Having felt so awful before starting them, I confused the feeling of being on them with true happiness. As I weaned myself off, I realised this. In saying that, I was happy. The biggest changes I saw in myself from taking antidepressants were that I was relaxed and I wasn’t stuck inside my own head. I think I’ve been struggling with those two things for years and I hadn’t realised until I started Sertraline.
The first week of taking them, I ran myself a bath, and it felt amazing to just relax. Normally I’d be thinking about everything I needed to do and then I’d start getting anxious and so I wouldn’t enjoy it. For the first time in a long while, I could relax and enjoy myself. I did meditation and yoga alongside taking the tablets and it’s really helped me to be present.
Knowing it was time to come off of them
I was umming and ahhing about when to stop them, and then suddenly it felt like the right time. I was eager to come off of them before we went into Autumn/Winter. When the cold weather and the darks nights hit I tend to feel worse so I didn’t want to combine that with coming off the tablets. I’d made great progress and felt the time was right. Plus we’d just got a puppy, so I thought I had the perfect distraction to get me through it.
Coming off was quite tough, but I’m going to tell you about that in another post.
If you have any questions then please feel free to drop them below.
Overall, I would say my experience was very positive. I would definitely opt for medication again in the future if I felt I needed it.