Sunday, November 22, 2015

Depression & Me

I was diagnosed with depression and put on an anti-depressant in Fall 2013. 2 years later I'm still on it. It still works for me, but being on medication for depression for 2 years isn't something everyone gets. My parents ask me if I'm ready to go off the medication and wonder how I can still be depressed, especially since I seem fine. I've also gained some weight since going on the medication which has affected the way I perceive myself. Another "problem" for me is that I was just tired of having to take pills to make me happy (which by the way isn't an accurate description of what anti-depressants are).

So for those reasons and I’m sure a few others I’m not really aware of, I decided to take myself off my anti-depressants without discussing it with anyone. Now, just to reiterate, this is NOT a smart idea. This is NOT something you should do. Despite knowing better, I decided to stop taking my medication cold-turkey. I stopped taking them for about 2 or 3 weeks and I definitely felt the effects.

Depression and Me | What happened when I went off my meds and why I decided to take my mental health seriously and take my medication again

So what happened when I went off my meds (without any medical advice)? I pretty much went back to the same situation I was in Fall 2013. I had a hard time getting myself out of bed and had a hard time not returning to it as soon as classes are over. It was difficult for me to get motivated to do homework. I got overwhelmed and stressed about EVERYTHING. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin again and had all sorts of negative thoughts about myself. I could cry about all sorts of things, especially since I was so easily overwhelmed and stressed.

I let those feelings go on for way too long. I knew after a week that I needed to take my anti-depressants again, but I didn’t want to admit I still needed them. I didn’t want to have to take medication to make me function normally. So I waited a few more days, and a few more, and pretty soon it was 3 weeks without my medication.

After a weekend in which it was painfully obvious that I was depressed followed by a few mishaps early on in the week that upset and stressed me way more than they should have, I was finally ready to accept that I need to be on medication for depression. And it doesn’t mean that I fail as a person or that I’m a “crazy” person. It just means that I need a little extra help and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I hope this story shows you that it’s important to take care of yourself whether it’s by taking medication, going to a therapist, or making some extra time for self-care each day. All of these are important in dealing with a mental illness and there’s absolutely no shame in getting help and taking care of yourself. If you’re like me and maybe your family or friends don’t totally get it, just be patient with them and be honest when speaking with them about it. If you do think you're ready to go off your medication, talk to your doctor about it and she or he can help you come up with a plan.

Do you have depression or a mental illness? Have you felt bad or embarrassed about it? Do your family and friends accept your mental illness?