I’ve got another depression-related post for you guys today! I know I said I would try to make this a regular series but I’ve decided that it might actually be a better idea to just write about things as and when I experience them myself, so that I’m as well informed as possible on each topic.
So today we’re talking about depression treatments, and more specifically anti-depressants. When I first went to the GP to discuss my depression in February I was immediately prescribed anti-depressants. I feel it’s very important to point out I was put on them so rapidly because I was at risk of seriously harming myself, most people suffering from depression are advised to wait to see a therapist before starting them, but as the wait was most likely going to be 6 weeks or more for me to see a therapist, the GP and I decided that it would be a lot safer for me to start the anti-depressants immediately.
Starting anti-depressants is one of the most horrible things I’ve experienced. The first day I started them I was really ill and couldn’t leave my bed all day because I just felt so awful. The next day I still felt ill but slightly better than the day before, so I headed off to my lectures and practical session. I found that I struggled to concentrate on the lecture, and when programming our study in the practical session my thinking was really slow, I was about 5 steps behind everyone else in my group and it took me way longer than everyone else to understand what we were doing! After the first two days, the side effects really did get better and by day 5 of taking them I felt totally normal again.
The positive effects of anti-depressants take a week or so to really kick in, so for the first week I felt a little bit disheartened about them, they just didn’t seem to be helping at all! I had another appointment with my GP a week after starting them and expressed my concerns about whether or not they were working. She reassured me that this was totally normal and that it usually takes a week or so for them to really start working.
Two weeks in and I started to feel a lot better. I felt a lot more normal, in a way. Things that would normally really get me down or irritate and upset me just didn’t and I felt a lot more relaxed. I just felt a lot more comfortable in my skin and way more content and happy with where I was. I also felt a lot more connected to my emotions and, in a way, more connected to myself. Before taking anti-depressants I felt a bit like I was trapped in my own body, which was almost always on auto-pilot, especially when socialising. In my head I was telling myself how much I hated myself and how nobody wanted me around but to the people I was socialising with I seemed to be acting like normal, it was kind of like somebody else was controlling my body. It’s really hard to explain, but I hope that kind of gives an idea of how I felt! So basically the anti-depressants made me feel more like a whole person, and less like I was trapped and somebody else was in control.
One thing that used to really make me anxious was house parties. I went to one about three weeks after starting the anti-depressants and I knew only one person there. I was absolutely fine, and actually had the best time I’ve had in a long time! I talked to loads of people and felt like I was totally in control of myself, I never once felt like I was on auto-pilot!
Okay this is turning into a really long post so I’m gonna wrap this up now. So now I’m on two pills a day, I started with one a day and found that they kind of wore off after 4 weeks or so. I did reduce my dosage to one a day again after a week on two, but found that I started slipping back into my depressive thoughts and feelings so I’m now back up to two a day. Anti-depressants are a tricky thing, they really do help if you’re struggling with depression, but starting them is horrible and I’ve heard coming off of them is really difficult too. Therefore, if you can avoid them, I definitely would! If you have any questions about anti-depressants then leave them below in the comments and make sure you tick the box to say you want to be notified if you get a reply!! If you would rather ask something in private, then drop me an e-mail at [email protected] Hopefully sharing my experience has been insightful and helpful to at least some of you, next topic I’m going to try to tackle is advice for friends and family I think!