Hello readers. If this is your first time on my blog, welcome. I’m a wellness and lifestyle writer who aspires to lead as organic a life as possible. I’ve also got horrible anxiety and depression and have recently started taking medication for it for the first time ever. I’m aware this is quite the oxymoron, but I’ve always been super honest and vulnerable in my posts and that won’t stop now. Antidepressants are super common but rarely talked about, which is partly why I’ve always been scared of them, so I’m going to detail my journey with them with extreme transparency in hopes of breaking down that stigma. I can be a wellness advocate and still take medication. So, if you’ve ever been curious or are considering medication for yourself, keep on reading!
I’ve been super open with you guys and you all know, if you read my recent posts, that August was a tough month for me. I went from battling an anxiety attack once every few months to every single day. This change was sudden, no specific cause in sight. All the meditations and CBD in the world couldn’t give me the relief I needed, and I was sinking deeper into a depression because I refused to take the next step towards mental wellness.
For so long, I’ve been afraid of taking medication. All I’ve heard are the horror stories, how taking an anti-depressant makes you dependent on them, how it changes your mood/behaviors/personality to an uncomfortable degree, how the side effects make it almost unbearable to continue taking. I was afraid that if I were to give in and take medication, I would find myself struggling with a whole host of new issues thanks to it.
Part of what causes my anxiety is not being in control, so taking medication has always been a terrifying option for me. I was trying my best to manage everything on my own, but I realized it was time to ask for help. I started taking medication for my anxiety and depression two weeks ago. I was prescribed 50mg of sertraline, with a scheduled appointment in five weeks to check on the dosage. I was told of the possible side effects that I may face in the first two weeks: nausea, dizziness, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, loss of appetite, etc. Hearing this list ironically gave me anxiety, but I had to trust in the process. I was told I might not feel a difference for four to six weeks and to just hang in there. In any case, I was ready and desperate to give it a try.
When I picked up my prescription that Thursday evening after work, the pharmacist suggested I try taking it at night as it may make me drowsy. Well, that was a mistake. Not only did I wake up in the middle of the night nauseous, I was also completely incapable of falling back asleep. I hoped this was my anxious mind getting the best of me, as I was so nervous about starting the medication and its possible side effects. But no, the insomnia continued for the next few nights. Thankfully I had no plans that weekend, so I spent it in a zombie state…impossibly tired yet perpetually unable to sleep. I binged two seasons of The Great British Baking Show that weekend, which if you haven’t watched yet on Netflix is an absolute must but that’s another story for another time.
I talked to my doctor on Monday morning and asked if I was experiencing a side effect and just needed to weather the storm, or if I should take the pill in the morning. She recommended the latter, but warned me that it may take a few more days for the insomnia to leave my system. I was worried as I was leaving for vacation that Thursday and really just wanted to sleep. I had bags under my eyes, I felt hopeless and anxious and I just needed this to work. I hardly slept those next few days and I was heading into vacation blindingly exhausted. We traveled all day on Thursday, taking one long drive to LAX, two flights, and one long drive to our hotel. When we finally got into our room, it was only 7pm because of the time change but I was spent. I got into bed, taking all of the melatonin and CBD I had been taking for the past week, and hoped for the best.
Ten hours later, I woke up. Yes, I slept for 10 hours! I woke up a little before 6am and it took me a moment to realize I hadn’t woken up in the night even once. I went out onto our balcony that faced the beautiful ocean and sunrise and wanted to cry. Perhaps it was the exhaustion of the long travel day or the release of finally being on vacation or both that finally did me in, but I felt human again. For the rest of my trip I was able to sleep with hardly any trouble, although I kept my CBD in my nighttime routine as insurance. It’s now been a little more than two weeks on my medication and I’ve (hopefully) safely made it through the side-effect stage.
I’ve yet to feel a difference with my anxiety and depression but am not expecting to for at least another two weeks. I honestly can’t imagine my brain without anxiety, so I really don’t know how this will go. I’m so used to my thoughts jumping to the worst possible outcome, my stomach dropping at any moment, my heart racing multiple times a day. I’m very curious to experience life without these symptoms, I literally ask my boyfriend all the time what it’s like to not have anxiety, it’s that unimaginable to me.
I’m hopeful that I can feel some positive differences within the next few weeks, but I’m trying to remind myself that it might not be that easy. I may need to adjust the dosage or switch to a different prescription if necessary. Either way, I’m excited to be completely transparent with you all as I would have loved to read not just the bad but the good experiences when it comes to taking antidepressants. I’ll keep you all updated on my progress, but in the meantime I would love to hear from some of you if you’re comfortable with sharing. My posts on anxiety typically have the highest engagement so I know I’m not alone in this. I hope that, by my being honest and vulnerable here, you know that you’re not alone either.