By Christina, the Authentic Adventurer
5 min read
I never imagined that I would be personally affected by depression… I guess none of us ever really do. There were times as a young adult where I would get sad, which I expected everyone would get from time to time. And most of the time, I would blame it on hormones. But it wasn’t until years later, while in toxic relationship, that I realized my sadness and anxiety were actually having a negative impact on how I was living my life. After reoccurring feelings of sadness and emptiness, I just wanted it all to go away. All I ever wanted was to feel happy.
It was during this challenging time that I decided I wanted things to change. I knew it was time to give myself the self-care that I had needed. So, I went to counseling and learned about different strategies to help with the feelings of being overwhelmed and sad – meditation, journaling, etc. However, it felt like nothing gave me that long-term feeling of happiness and contentment, especially because some days I couldn’t even work up the motivation to use these strategies.
After trying a non-pharmacological approach without success, my counselor suggested that I go on medication. At the time I was nervous about taking medication. To me, taking pills meant that something was really “wrong.” With recommendations from both my counselor and doctor, I decided to give it a try.
But I had many questions: Which pill is right for me? What has the least side effects? Well, the first pill I tried was wasn’t the right pill for me. I was on it for about a year-or-so, but it wasn’t helping my mood. It also gave me stomach issues and the withdraw effects were extremely difficult to deal with. Because of my not-so-great experience with this pill, I decided to go off of medication for a while. In the meantime, I was still in a toxic relationship dealing with chronic pain and a job that was all around dissatisfying. Crying every day was the new normal and I was pretty miserable.
After another talk with my doctor, he recommended trying a different medication. The only side effect that I’ve had is a few days of fatigue. Being on this medication for two years, a medication that works for me, has been a life saver. Since I am on a low dose, I can still get some episodes of depression and anxiety, but I am able to cope a lot differently than before. Sticking with counseling during this time was also a key to success.
What I have learned from my own personal experience is that IT IS OK TO TAKE MEDICINE. A great counselor once told me that “sometimes the brain does not provide enough serotonin, and by taking medicine, you get the right amount for what your brain needs.” Our bodies are complex and they don’t always work perfectly, as much as we want them to. If you tell yourself that taking medicine means there is something wrong with you, do you think you’d say the same about exercise or giving yourself the right foods? No way! Because those are tools that help your body in a positive way and that is exactly what medication can be for you!
Another thought that crossed my mind when I chose to take medication was do I have to be on this forever? Right now, I still don’t have an answer to that question because I haven’t gone off my prescription since I started it. It helps me deal with daily challenges that I face in a less overwhelming way, so for now, why stop?
I tried a lot of strategies before trying medication, but nothing seemed to help. At first, I never expected that I would benefit from a medication. However, my advice for anyone out there is if you’re trying different things and they just aren’t working, it’s worth starting a conversation with doctor about it! It doesn’t mean you have to jump right into it. There are millions of people that go to their doctors and ask the same question; there is no shame in that. And guess what? Finding the right medicine is like dating, it might take a few tries before you find the right one! I would personally suggest trying a medication for at least a month or two to see if it might be the right one for you. These pills can sometimes take up to 30 days for the effect to kick in, so it’s worth giving it some time. Most importantly, I am not a doctor, just a friend giving advice. Always consult with your doctor about starting and stopping medications and whether or not it’s the right decision for you.
Christina, the Authentic Adventurer is just an everyday girl who can’t help but experience and explore! She’s dealt with quite a few struggles in life but she hasn’t let that stop her, instead, it has helped her grow! You can connect Christina via her website, follow her on Instagram, and check her out on Pinterest.
Stories, tips, and resources from others who have experience with anxiety can be found below:
The What, Why, And How Of Perfectionism
Mental Health as a Priority in the Workplace
The Young Introvert’s Social Survival Guide
How to Cancel Plans Without Feeling Guilty and Hurting Feelings
Tips to Manage Anxiety Around Work
5 Ways to Feel Less Anxious When You’re a Sensitive Person
Mental Health is a Team Sport: I Have Anxiety/Depression and my Husband Doesn’t, But We Both Fight It.