It’s time for me to get REEEEAL honest, because what’s the point in having a blog if you’re not going to use it like a diary full of honesty? I have had a lot of people asking me to write about my experience with mental health-related medication. So here goes: since May 2017 I have been taking sertraline – an antidepressant medication. Sertraline is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) which, in short, is supposed to boost your brain’s serotonin levels. Serotonin is often referred to as the ‘happy’ hormone, which some people, like me, are lacking in. Serotonin isn’t just responsible for your happiness. It helps with wellbeing, improving your motor skills and much more. I started on sertraline because I was struggling to get through my days without being severely anxious and depressed. These feelings were constant and began to affect everything I did, from socialising with friends to getting good grades at university.
This decision to start on medication wasn’t something I took lightly… For as long as I can remember, I was set against taking any kind of medication for mental health. I was SO worried about being branded as a ‘crazy’ person when people found out (so far from the truth and AS IF people would even care to ask). When it came to applying for jobs and even things such as listing medication at the dentist, I feared the judgement I would receive from others. For years I refused the opportunity to take medication, which of course isn’t the only route, however my mental health suffered dramatically because of this fear of being judged by those around me.
After finally getting to a place where I was ready to face this fear head on, I went to my doctor and was prescribed both sertraline and a 6-week course of cognitive behavioural therapy. From then on, my ability to manage my anxiety and ‘low moods’ changed dramatically. Medication isn’t a magic wand, but it for me it was a well-needed aid in my recovery. The medication raised my low moods to happier ones, and my anxieties became less and less prevalent in general. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, I still had down days and some anxiety, but generally, the medication allowed me to take a step back from my once, all consuming thoughts, and get a grasp on reality which I so desperately needed.
I recently decided to change my medication from sertraline to fluoxetine – another anti-depressant used to help people recover from depression, and has fewer unwanted effects than older antidepressants. I decided to change my medication as I no longer felt it was doing the job it was intended to do. My moods were getting lower and lower, despite upping my dosage, and having talked to my Doctor, she decided to start me on a new path using a different medication. Much like the contraceptive pill, anti-depressant medication works for different people in different ways and for me, the positive effects were no longer ‘working’. I have only been taking fluoxetine for around 3 weeks, so I will check in with you guys when I have established if this medication is right for me.
There is no real moral or lesson to this post, I simply wanted to share my experience with you. But, if you have been thinking about medication or maybe you’re on it now, please don’t compare my experience to yours. Always seek medical advice in order to establish what is right for you! Hey, you might find that therapy, meditation, or another kind of solution is perfect for you. We are all individual and unique, and so are our paths to recovery.
Lots of love x