Things to know before going on Antidepressants (from a person who was on Antidepressants):
Massive disclaimer: please do not take antidepressants or medication for any mental health issue that was not prescribed to you by a professional that has not properly assessed the situation, medication like this isn’t something that should be taken lightly and please consider the side-effects before taking the decision to medicate.
I have OCD and I was on Antidepressants and medication for anxiety for three months, then I stopped taking them for a while and then I went on a different brand of antidepressants.
While the medication was very helpful and effective there’s a lot of stuff that I wish someone had told me before I started medicating.
Make your own schedule:
Since medication affects everyone differently it would be best to make your medication schedule based on how the medicine affects you. I used to take my antidepressants in the afternoon, but my friend who also has OCD takes them at night because of how the medication affects them. Maybe your antidepressants might make you drowsy, they might make you fatigued or they might suppress the fatigue. There is no one time that works for everyone when it comes to medicating, it’s listening to your body until you find what works for you, but the most important thing is to have a proper meal before it so your stomach doesn’t hurt.
Be prepared for changes:
When I was on antidepressants my appetite changed, now that on its own isn’t a bad thing; the bad thing is what I was eating. When my appetite changed, my cravings were insane, like I felt very crappy for most of the time because of the lack of fruits and vegetables I was consuming. In this case, it would be best to make nutritious meal plans that are jam packed with the right nutrients from the right sources so at least one or two meals a day will be good for you. Now this isn’t always the case, when I changed brands my appetite had decreased. To combat that, I had more juices for energy and I would recommend the smoothies that are packed with veggies and fruits for more nutrients; just make sure you’re getting the right amount of nutrients no matter what your appetite is like.
Medication isn’t a magic fix for everything:
Medication helps you work through your problems but it does not fix them for you, they are a tool you can use to help you work through the problems but they do not make the problems go away. Think of medication like it’s an extra 200 monopoly dollars, you don’t automatically win when you have the extra money but winning is slightly easier. This is obviously something you should also be discussing with your health provider, but it is very important and I can’t stress this enough.
Sometimes they aren’t always the best fix:
Medication works for some people and sometimes it doesn’t work and there’s nothing wrong with that. In the same way other treatment methods don’t work for everyone, this is also like that. For me, I had to take a break from medication the first time I was on it because while yes it was working, it wasn’t the best fix for me. Just make sure that you speak to your health provider.
Keep track of your side effects (hypochondriac edition):
If you’re a hypochondriac, be careful when keeping track of your side effects; speak to your mental health professional to know if it’s the right fit for you. Side effects aren’t something that everyone experiences. When I started taking antidepressants for the first time I had really bad side effects but when I had them the second time I didn’t experience any side effects. For the most part , side effects wear off within the first two weeks- when you’ll most likely be on a low dosage. Just keep a general list of the side effects, like a headache, dizziness or nausea so you can discuss them with our health provider.
Taking antidepressants doesn’t mean you failed some nonexistent task. You don’t need to feel ashamed for taking antidepressants. Your mental health isn’t a product of your own shortcomings. There is so much stigma around mental health and medicating mental health, and honestly it sucks. If you don’t need antidepressants, good for you, but if you do that isn’t something you should feel bad about. Your mental health is important, and no one has the right to shame you for doing what is right for you. Don’t let the stigma around mental health and medication discourage you from taking the necessary steps to get better.