Trigger Warning: I discuss my experience with crappy mental health and I also talk about suicidal thoughts.
Hello, me again! 🙋🏼♀️
As if talking about mental health wasn’t fun enough last week; this week I’m talking about yet another taboo subject – antidepressants. When hearing that someone is taking antidepressants, the mind instantly jumps to Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted.
People suddenly think you’re crazy or you’re weak, which is f*cking hilarious to me. As someone who’s been taking antidepressants for almost two years now, I’d like to point out that I’m not weak and I’m only a little bit crazy. In fact, with 70.9 million people prescribed antidepressants in the UK in 2018, I think you’ll find that many people you know are taking them. So why is there this huge stigma around them?
When I was 12 years old, I was prescribed the contraceptive pill. Not because I was a massive whore but because my periods were extremely heavy and painful.
Sorry for the insight into my womb but I promise there’s a point here. Anyway, at 12 years old I was taking Rigevidon. The side effects of this pill include, fatal blood clots, kidney failure and my good old friend, depression. The fact that I was prescribed this pill and willingly carried on taking it until I was 19 years old BLOWS MY MIND.
Despite the horrendous side effects, society tells women that “it’s normal” to take the contraceptive pill or that “it’s our responsibility” to so that we don’t get pregnant. So WHY is it such a taboo to take Antidepressants to treat mental illness?
Now the reason why I take Antidepressants is to treat Generalised Anxiety Disorder. In 2019, I was at a point in my life where the anxiety was too much to handle and I ultimately wanted to kill myself. Not because I wanted to die, but because I couldn’t cope with dealing with this disorder anymore. I remember when the doctor asked me if I was suicidal and I replied, “I love my life. I want to have an amazing career, a family and to experience everything I possibly can… but I can’t carry on living like this.” And so, I was prescribed my first box of Sertraline.
As is with everything, one size certainly doesn’t fit all. I know people who have tried lots of different Antidepressants and Sertraline didn’t work for them. But luckily for me, it did. For the first few weeks, I experienced a few side effects including fatigue, nausea and losing the ability to focus. As your body gets used to the medication, this is perfectly normal. You may have heard the phrase, “It may get worse before it gets better,” well this is definitely the case with Antidepressants.
After a few months of ups and downs, I eventually got to a place that before now, I could only dream of. The anxiety was manageable and I definitely didn’t want to die. In the end, despite the hardships with my mental health, 2019 was a brilliant year for me. In my working life, I passed my apprenticeship with the highest grades in my class, earned a promotion and now work at one of the biggest advertising specialists in the UK.
In my personal life, I was back to being the sarcastic, sassy friend who definitely drinks way too much and I was back to doing normal things like shopping and going on holiday to Ibiza. I know for a fact that none of this would have been possible without the help of Antidepressants. Despite this disorder that I will no doubt suffer with for the rest of my life, they have genuinely helped me to get my life back on track.
Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “Well that’s great but you can’t be on Antidepressants for the rest of your life” – which isn’t true. If you have Diabetes, you take Insulin. If you have Asthma, you receive treatment for it, the list goes on. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that our lungs and pancreas are organs and so is our BRAIN. The one organ that remembers so much information, yet we forget that it sometimes needs treatment too.
However long you decide to treat your brain with Antidepressants depends on you and your Doctor, not society’s opinions. For me personally, I was only meant to be taking them for around 6 months until I started therapy. However, life got in the way as it always does and two years on, I’m still taking them. The reason why I haven’t stopped taking them yet is very complicated and I can’t actually discuss it online yet (exclusive content coming soon guyz 😘 ✌🏻). I could be taking them for many years to come, but that doesn’t make me weak and any less of a person than people may judge me as.
I hope that this week’s rambling has helped you in some way. Whether you take Antidepressants or not, I wanted to remind you that suffering with crappy mental health is not a taboo and is nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re suffering with mental health issues and this is potentially an option for you, I hope that by being frank and honest about my experiences, I can help you through your recovery journey.
If pills aren’t your thing, then stay tuned for next week’s blog where I’ll be discussing how I’ve learned to deal with anxiety.
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