Why I Hate What Keeps Me Going

Anti-depressants. They are wonderful and horrible at the same time. They are the reason that I am alive today, and the reason I can go through a day without seriously considering taking drastic measures to end my life, but they are also one of the hardest parts of having a mental illness, especially depression.

I’ll start at the beginning. For those of you who don’t know, anti-depressants, be it SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs or Tricyclics, are notorious for having various side effects that can make life hell, and many are actually proven to have adverse reactions in many people. For those of you who don’t understand the acronyms, I have also posted a link in this post to help you out ūüôā


Anyways, there is no magic formula for figuring out which type of anti depressant, or as some say “happy pill” (which is an inaccurate description since they don’t just make you super happy all of a sudden) and this makes it really difficult to find the right one. I’m currently on my 4th anti-depressant, and so far, this one has worked the best (though I’m still not a fan). Not only that, but you also have to try different dosages (I’ve been on 6 different doses). In addition, the pill doesn’t work right away, it can take at least two weeks before you see any positive changes, so while trying to find a good fit, you get to go through two weeks of misery.

What does the two weeks (minimum) of misery entail, you ask? Well, it’s a lovely time filled with nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, irritability, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, tremors, high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, constipation, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, fatigue, and a slew of other horrid side effects. It often makes me wonder, is it all worth it? Of course, the answer is yes, because once you’ve adjusted, the only issues that continue are the weight gain (a pain for a young woman trying to watch her figure) and dry mouth or much less intense continuations of the previously listed effects. I’m not trying to sound like the warning sheet you get with a prescription every time you go to the pharmacy, I just want people to understand that people who decide to stop taking their pills aren’t entirely nuts.

The next part that sucks, is having to take the pill all the time, every day, at the same time, sometimes more than once a day. I’m quite forgetful, so keeping track of my pills is next to impossible, but I still try my best. However, life can get busy, and if I happen to forget my pills for a couple days in a row, I begin the next fun part of being on serious drugs; the withdrawal. I hate withdrawal the most, because it serves as a reminder of my dependency on my anti-depressants, and while I know it isn’t something to be ashamed of, I still struggle with it. Part of me always wants to just quit so bad, but I of course know this is not a feasible option at all, because it’s true; I DO need these pills, and they are extremely important for my well being. Nonetheless, I will never like them. Once I feel the withdrawal kicking in, I immediately take my pills, when¬†I get to go through the initial adjustment period of intense side effects all over again. You can see how finicky and irritating these pills can be.

Don’t get me wrong, anti-depressants have done wonders for me, and I’m so grateful that medical technology has advanced far enough that I can have access to medicine that can make me feel okay again. There is, however, the opposite side of things. Yes, my medicine makes me feel a lot better, but sometimes, if I’m adjusting to a new dose, my brain can get quite confused, and the aforementioned irritability, or adverse affect comes into play. I’ve had times where I’ve had more drugs in my body than I was used to and it really screwed with my head. Aside from the¬†original side effects, I also felt like I had minimal control over my brain. My thoughts were scattered, and my words didn’t seem to match my actual personality, making maintaining relationships quite hard. It takes a lot for me to swallow my pride and admit that I am not in fact invincible, but there are times where I feel like my medicines have more control over my brain than I do, and it’s absolutely terrifying. I’ve taken heat for using this as an excuse, with¬†people saying that no matter what, you always have complete control over your words or actions, and while I’d like to believe that, when you are on drugs that seriously alter your brain chemistry, there are times where that is simply untrue. People often believe that what your body does, its physiological responses, can alter your mood, but the same is true for the opposite – your emotional state can have a serious affect on your body in a very physical way, which is the core of my other illness, conversion disorder. Anyhow, my point is that my drugs control my brain – for better or for worse – they are part of what shapes my thoughts and actions, and I am lucky that they help me have better thoughts and actions 99% of the time, but quite often, people are extremely unforgiving of the other 1%.

Below is a more concrete article on the disadvantages of different types of anti-depressants, and I desperately hope that someday an anti-depressant will be invented that can not only act close to instantaneously (like pepto bismol!) but can also have way fewer side effects, or be one that needs to only be taken once in a while, or as needed (like cold medicine).


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