I think it’s about time I make a post about just how much of positive impact antidepressants have made in my life since I started taking them in 2018.
Growing up, my mum told me that medicine like antidepressants was evil. They were addictive and would kill you by giving you heart attacks. Each time someone died overdosing on drugs which included antidepressants, she’d show me the newspaper article saying “see, this is why you should never take it.”
I stayed far away from them for years, though I knew I desperately needed help. My anxiety was so severe I wasn’t able to leave the house at one stage.
It was 2017 when I came to a breaking point. My beautiful baby boy was born and though he was the most perfect baby and was everything I had ever hoped for, I was hit with major postpartum depression which I believe was caused by the hormonal changes, D-MER (a condition where during breastfeeding, there’s a huge drop in dopamine causing powerful negative feelings) and lack of sleep. I was unfortunate in the evenings. Sad would be an understatement. I would be absolutely a mess. It felt as if someone died. I loved my son too much that I’d start thinking of all these sad things like what if he gets sick, how could I cope when he had to be away from me… It went on, and on, and I felt isolated and hopeless. I’d often lie awake all night in full panic though my baby was finally sleeping through the night because I felt pressured to sleep.
My obsession with sleep almost destroyed me. I knew I needed an adequate amount of sleep to function, yet the more I forced myself to sleep, the more I wasn’t able to. Ironic isn’t it? I was so anxious about rest that I kept myself awake all night, and the next day, I felt like death. That’s when I realized I NEEDED help. This was going to destroy me literally. Previously, I made appointments to see doctors or even had a prescription but chickened out at the last minute. This time, I was going to do it. I needed help!
I decided that the effect of depression and anxiety would far outweigh the possible side effects of the medication and that Lucas, my perfect little boy, needed a mother who was able to function.
I finally started on Zofran 50mg, I had always been terrified of side effects, but I found there was little if taken a right. You have to take it after eating some food and flush it right down, otherwise, it can cause a lot of discomfort in the stomach. About a couple of weeks later, I started to take 100mg and have been on that since.
A few weeks later, I noticed small changes. It didn’t happen right away, they were gradual, but there came the point where I didn’t feel the need to be anxious about sleep. I just took it by the day, if I slept well, then great. If not, then there’s always tomorrow. These thoughts came naturally. I didn’t have to change my thinking at all. I didn’t get as panicked. Then, I noticed that dark hole of emptiness in my stomach, which was the depression slowly started fading away. I was ecstatic. I slowly felt excited again, and I gradually felt that I was able to enjoy life still.
I wasn’t thinking obsessive thoughts like what if I accidentally dropped Lucas, what if he didn’t like school? What if he got sick? I had severe sadness from missing being pregnant because I missed the little kicks and flutters in my belly, and all of these just manifested in my stomach into the biggest pit of darkness. I could feel that lift. I was just over the moon! I had forgotten what it was like to not have that feeling. My sleep slowly improved, and so did my overall mood.
Fast forward to now, I’ve been taking it for over a year, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. That does not mean all my anxieties are gone, or that I never get depressed. They do creep up from time to time, but they are much more manageable. They don’t rule me like they used to. I can take care of my son so much better, and sleep is enjoyable again.
What I learned from this was, sometimes our brains are just wired in a way that is highly prone to anxiety and depression. It has nothing to do with how we think; in fact, I believe it’s those things that wire our thinking. By taking medicine, you’re helping your physical brain, and that’s what helped my reflection in the end. It was able to think logically.
The point of this post is, if you’re in a similar situation and debating whether you should start taking antidepressants, and people are telling you not to, what I need to say is, listen to you. Do not let other voices overcrowd your own. What do YOU need? Follow your own heart.