Alrighty grab yourself a stiff drink, some snacks and get comfy. I’ll wait…..okay good, you’re ready. I am about to give you a run down of my experience with antidepressants, but first I have to paint you a little picture with some background info, so it makes a little easier for you to see where I was at and how I was feeling. I am going to be as raw as my memory allows me. Forgive me if I have already mentioned some things; just pretend its brand new information that you are reading for the first time.
I am a very emotional person, I feel deeply and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am pretty blunt, upfront and a lot of the time, have zero filter, but I would not change a thing. Being this way helps me to empathise with others and get a whole lot more out of life. When I was younger being like this made me feel uncomfortable and I often held back but I was always uncomfortable in myself and felt that I wasn’t being true to myself. As I grow older I become more comfortable with this and accept that this is who I am.
Moving to Bathurst was one of THE WORST things that I have ever done. I had such great hopes and intentions (I may have placed too much weight on how happy moving would make me, you live and you learn right?). We would build a wonderful life, start a family, have great careers and make some lasting friendships. Boy was I wrong, none of that happened. Slowly but surely reality began to unfold. You may or may not have read previously I was ‘let go’ from the job that I thought would launch my career after 1 week and 2 days. I honestly don’t think that I have ever been more distraught in my life. I was crying on my way home from work each night, attempting to drive home with a massacre of tears streaming down my face and dreading turning up the next day. It just didn’t feel right, it was not what I was told it would be, I didn’t understand what I was supposed to be doing, I didn’t really feel like I clicked with any of the staff, they didn’t even seem happy there (red flag), the person who hired me seemed to have a complete 180 in personality/attitude from my initial interview. So all signs were pointing south.
I suddenly found myself jobless, in an unfamiliar town, eating into our savings trying desperately to make things work and stay positive. I took the first job offered to me, in order to bring some money in. It was the absolute pits in terms of pay and the toxic office environment began to show its true colours as well. I quickly became bored and wasn’t challenged and I think this is when my brain decided that it would be a good time to lose its shit and have a complete break down. Cheers mate, thanks so much for that. Just what every little girl dreams of. NOT!
I took a little bit of time off from work trying to understand what was happening and what I was supposed to do. I felt enormous pressure to get back to work and just get on with it but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, I would freeze with fear and cry until I was almost sick. I also felt an enormous amount of pressure to make it work in Bathurst as I was determined that this is where I needed to be. I felt helpless, worthless, stuck, frustrated with myself, I felt like I was defective, I was unable to control my emotions. It was all too much for me to cope with.
George took me to the doctor and we all decided (after a lot of coaxing) that I should go on antidepressants to level out my mood and help me get back in the game. We didn’t really know what to expect and did the best we could to carry on. I tried to gain as much control as I could in other parts of my life to counter the uncontrollable emotions from anxiety and depression. I was going to the gym often, going on little trips with George to find some moments of relief and happiness. This was a temporary solution. I was still unhappy and I could see the strain it was having on our relationship, I couldn’t see any light, just darkness.
During all of the above I was also trying to deal with the side effects of the antidepressants.
- Low sex drive. I didn’t even want George to look at me, let alone touch me. I was then getting more anxious about not having the sexy times, thinking it was not normal/healthy and that it would effect our relationship and we would drift from each other and that it was my fault.
- Loss of appetite. This one really worried me as I LOVE to eat food. Food is life! It eventually eased and I was back to eating semi normally, but I didn’t really enjoy what I was eating. Cue some more anxiety about things not being like they normally should be.
- Weight gain. This one is really shitty as one of my goals was to lose weight, get healthy and be more comfortable in my body. I am not one of the lucky ones who lose weight when stressed; I am in the ‘lets get huge to protect ourselves from danger’ category.
- Anxiety about all the side effects. What, didn’t you take the antidepressants to reduce anxiety I hear you say?! Why yes, that’s right that’s exactly what I did, ironic isn’t it?
- Fatigue.I liked this one the least (not that I liked any of them) as it made my mind cloudy. I couldn’t remember words or what I was going to say. So frustrating. I found it hard to be social because I was SOOOOO tired ALL THE TIME. I didn’t really want to do anything and then I would get anxious about not wanting to participate in real life.
When we decided to move back home (best decision EVER) I decided to come off the antidepressants once we were settled. It was always my intention to come off them as I don’t really like taking any kind of drugs. I started seeing a Naturopath and consulted with my Doctor. I have been taking some natural prescriptions to assist with proper care to my brain and body – they have been amazing! Don’t worry guys, I checked, you can take the Naturopathy prescription and my antidepressants at the same time, they compliment each other. Both my Naturopath and Doctor wanted me to be in a good place mentally before coming off the antidepressants. Following my Doctors instructions I began to gradually slow my dose and then phase it out completely. It has only been a little while with a lower dose/none, but I feel mentally A OKAY. Physically I have felt quite sick and a little bit tired with the lower dose, but now that I am off them completely I don’t feel sick at all. I do have the occasional mini melt down when too much is happening and I feel overwhelmed.
BUT, DON’T PANIC GUYS…
I have coping mechanisms in place and I am still taking my Naturopathy prescription, which helps to boost my mood and keep me healthy and mentally strong. I am exercising regularly and making time for me, which is SOO IMPORTANT.