journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

The stigma of Mental Health Problems and Antidepressants

Antidepressants.

The one thing in the world that nobody wants to talk about, or admit that they are on. The one thing that everyone thinks does more harm than good. The one thing that people say shouldn’t be used.

The majority of the population believe that antidepressants cause more harm than good in treating mental health problems. Many people think taking them is a sign of weakness or inability to just get better yourself. Many people misunderstand that antidepressants can take up to 2 months to work as they start to adjust chemical imbalances in the brain. Many people misunderstood that antidepressants make it worse before it gets better.

I’m so tired of people judging situations they have no understanding of. I’m so tired of people passing negative views on antidepressants because of things they have read or heard. Something that works for one won’t work for another. Every person is an individual.

Since I was 11 years old, I have battled an array of mental health problems. For 6 years I dealt with these problems with no medication whatsoever. These were the hardest 6 years of my life. Self harm and self hatred was constant. The desire to die was all I ever thought about. Then, at 17 I went on citalopram (an SSRI) and for 18 months increased and decreased this dosage until I decided to come off the drug. When I came off, I realised how much they had actually been helping me. Then, for a year I struggled again with no medication and the simple use of herbal remedies, the outdoors and exercise. Kalms did not work. St John’s Wort made me suicidal. Rescue Remedy worked for 10 minutes and then the illness would be searing back. Nytol had no effect whatsoever. Herbal remedies are designed to treat mild forms of depression and anxiety alone. Not a mixture of mental illnesses or eating disorders or personality disorders or major depressive disorder.

Do NOT tell me to try herbal remedies. 

Before I decided to take antidepressants I tried every coping strategy under the sun until I could no longer cope.

I have recently been put on prozac and although its currently making me worse I believe I need to give it time to kick in. I can’t give up and give in on myself. It’s been nearly 9 years of fighting mental illness and I still have not found a solution. I will try all options. You would too.

Nobody would bat an eyelid at taking medication for back pain or giving insulin to a diabetic, something you cannot see or quantify, so why is there so much stigma around medication for mental health? Nobody would question giving an asthma pump to an asthmatic or give medication to a patient with a heart condition. All antidepressants do is balance out the hormones in your brain, which when they are low can cause people to become depressed, much like the contraceptive pill to stop you from becoming pregnant.

Antidepressants have been proven to not be addictive; they are just a tool to help people when they are suffering and need a bit of help with their low mood.

Stop being shocked when people tell you they are taking antidepressants, and don’t assume that they are weak and vulnerable. Some of the strongest people I have met are taking medication for their mental health, and that is what helps them to keep going. Antidepressants don’t change people, and they don’t stop them from being themselves.

PROZAC

journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Update: 2 months without meds!

It’s been 2 months since I came off ALL medication for mental health problems. The decision to come off medication was decided pretty quickly and I know its something that should be considered for weeks and months. In order to pursue an opportunity of a lifetime, I needed to come off medication and therefore made the difficult decision to stop them. The first few days were great – I didn’t have any withdrawal symptoms and wasn’t as tired.

Month 1 was very up and down. The first few days of coming off medication was absolutely amazing. I felt like I had more energy and didn’t need to nap. However, I did feel emotionally torn at first to part with them when they’ve been a rock for so long. I didn’t think they had been working anyway though and quickly got over the emotional attachment. Towards the end of the 1st month, symptoms of mental illness started coming back. On medication, I still experienced these symptoms but quickly came to realise that the medication at least helped ‘mild’ them out. These symptoms – without medication – hit with all the power they had. On medication, depressive symptoms weren’t constant, but arose now and again. Without medication, depressive symptoms were constant.

Month 2 wasn’t up or down – it was very much down. Suicidal thoughts, depressive episodes, panic attacks and self harm came 100 miles an hour. I’ve come to realise that although the medication did not get rid of mental illnesses nor did it stop symptoms, it prevented my mental illnesses getting extremely bad. Without medication, mental illness has full rein against your mind – or my mind at least.

I know that being on medication is different for everyone. A lot of people refuse to take any type of mental health medication, where as others seize the opportunity because therapy refuses to work. I’m still unsure on whether coming off medication was in my best interest, but I accept that each month will be new and different. Each month without medication will either get worse or better – and that will be the deciding factor on whether medication is needed in my life.

If you’ve recently come off meds I’d love to hear how you’re getting on. If you’re considering coming off meds, please look into every option before hand and weigh the pros and cons. Coming off medication is a HUGE decision and can positively or negatively impact your life.

Take care lovlies.

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