Monday, 5 September 2016

Why Taking Antidepressants Does NOT Make You Weak

Why Taking Antidepressants Does NOT Make You Weak mental health illness wellbeing depression OCD anxiety help advice

When you have a physical illness, you go to the doctor. When you have a mental illness, you go to the doctor. Right? Wrong! 1/4 people (which is around 450 million people- probably someone you know) suffers from a mental illness, but only 1/5 of those people take medication to balance out the chemicals and hormones inside their bodies and only 1/3 people go to a doctor to seek help when they are mentally ill!

Why? 

Why? If we know something isn't right, if we know what we are feeling is abnormal, if we lose interest in the things we used to love, feel on edge on all the time, have out of control mood swings, having unwanted or intrusive thoughts and use compulsions to relief anxiety, feel sad, depressed, upset for days on end, feel worthless and hopeless or become to scared to leave our own house- why do we not talk about it? Why do we not go to a doctor? One little word;

Stigma. 


I take antidepressants. I take a little pill called fluoxetine. 20mg a day, every day to help control my obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD. Sure, it's not ideal. I mean, who actually wants to be on anti-depressants. No one. When I went to the doctor, to first be diagnosed with OCD and he said ' How do you feel about taking some medication?" My first internal reaction was; what the hell was he expecting me to say?

Of course, I would be delighted to have to admit to everyone that I have a mental illness and that I failed, gave in, couldn't control it on my own and had to result to taking antidepressants. What struck me, was he never referred to them as antidepressants, he never told me what he was giving me. As soon as I nodded my head in a state of shock and disbelief that I would be going on medication to control something which seemingly seemed so irrational before I knew it, he had printed out the prescription and placed it in my hand.

Stigma. When you say you're on antidepressants, some people automatically start to act very differently around you. People joke all the time, that their flat mate's OCD or they are so depressed, but when you say you take antidepressants for these seemingly harmless states of mind, some suddenly think you are dangerous, out of control or suicidal. 

It's like WOAH you take antidepressants; it must be serious! Shouldn't you be in a physiatric hospital? Are you like going to take your life? If they don't say these things to you, they are probably thinking them in their heads. Why would people say or think these things? Don't they understand that taking anti-depressants is one of the bravest things you could ever do?

The media. The media; which includes TV, books. Music and films portray mental illness in a very inaccurate and irresponsible way. If you don't suffer from a mental illness yourself or know someone close to you that suffers, your understanding and perception of mental illness feeds directly of the information which you absorb from the media around you, which most of the time is false and inaccurate. This creates a stigma.

And it's the same for antidepressants. Going back to what my doctor said, or lack of. Not mentioning the word antidepressants made me feel like the word was a dirty or bad word. Like my English teacher always used to say; bad and nice were swear words, due to their inability to describe something effectively. But I wasn't in any English lesson anymore. This was real life. Something I was about to start taking, for what could be a very long time. If the doctor couldn't even say the word, how was I going to talk about it openly with others or even admit it to myself!

Why Taking Antidepressants Does NOT Make You Weak mental health wellbeing illness support OCD anxiety depression panic disorder bipolar

What sucks about anti-depressants is there called 'anti-depressants' but you can be on anti-depressants and not be depressed. Jokes on me, because I am depressed, but you can have a number of mental illnesses from OCD to bulimia and not be depressed, but you just so happen to take anti-depressants to help control and balance the chemicals inside your head. When you say you're on anti-depressants, lot's of people will just assume you have depression. What if you don't? You are yet again stigmatised into a corner.

When I first went on anti-depressants, I was ashamed, shocked and to put it quite bluntly; bloody shitting myself with nerves. Not only do I have to admit to the fact that I am now on medication for a mental illness, but I also had all the potential side effects, some quite worrying to be looking out for! Plus having none of this really explained to me, thanks Doc!

Lot's of people choose not to go on anti-depressants, for various reasons which are absolutely fine! You do you! But if stigma is one of those reasons, then I would seriously consider reevaluating your choice. Anti-depressants are not a cure-all, and it's important that you know that. Lot's of people see medication as being a last resort, sometimes they are and sometimes they are not.

But one thing anti-depressants definitely doesn't make you is weak. Whether you have tried, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, healthy eating and yoga beforehand or if antidepressants are just put straight in your hand. YOU ARE NOT WEAK. Going on anti-depressants is not a sign of weakness, your not giving in, you are actually doing the complete opposite.

You realised something was wrong. You plucked up the courage to talk about it; you were brave enough to go and talk about your thoughts and feelings, and you are strong enough to give them a go. Millions of people suffering from a mental illness, never seek help or take medication, so if you CAN do it, you are taking a step in the right direction towards recovery.

Hope.

There are no rights and wrongs when it comes to your feelings and moods but it's the choices we make to deal with these feelings is what defines us. Going on on anti-depressants is one of those of choices we make. When you can accept that going on anti-depressants is one of the bravest things you could ever do, you will start to feel better, more open and more proud.

Going on anti-depressants and finding the right anti-depressants for you is a journey and everyone's journey is different. We are all different, our chemicals and brains are different. You can't hold yourself accountable for what happens with your mental illness, but you can hold yourself accountable for having the strength to try.

Thank you for reading, as always X 

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24 comments

  1. What a great post, just like all your other mental health ones and them all in general really! I went to the doctors today and got some medication for my anxiety. It's definitely not something to feel weak about, it's finding what works for you and will be beneficial to your recovery xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. oh well done Lauren. That is a massive step to take! I hope it goes well for you, please keep me posted on how you are doing x

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  2. I found going to the doctors really difficult in the first place, and I wasn't offered any help for the first two years of repeated appointments, even though I was in a really bad place and struggling with S/H. It totally put me off going back and I think a lot of people are worried about that too - a doctor can't turn around to someone and say 'I don't believe you have a broken leg', but they can about mental illness and it's horrible

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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    1. aw I know steph! I hope you find the support you need one day, don't give it up! xx

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  3. Love this post! So interesting and true. It really clicks with me x
    Lottie | LottieLately.com

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  4. Love this post, very very inspiring and very true also. Beautifully written. Keep smiling beautiful!
    Lots of love from Mollie xxx | http://wwwtheperksofmolliequirk.blogspot.com

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  5. Gorgeous post thanks for sharing, for me going on medication was scary but having been on it for over a month and I feel a lot more in control now I still need to work up the courage to attend cbt but hoping to do it soon blogs like this help me so much so thank you 😊 Xxx

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    1. aw that's great lovely! Keep going!!! xx

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  6. Seriously love this post! I was put on antidepressants as a last resort after various other therapies did nothing for me, I think admitting that I needed something to chemically rebalance me was probably the bravest thing I did - I just wish others saw it like that. The stigma really needs to change, hopefully more people talking about it will help

    Emily x | emilyclairewrites.com

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    1. I 100% agree! The stigma needs to change so much xx

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  7. Nicole, I absolutely love your blog! Whenever I see a new post pop up in my feed, I immediately click on it. Your posts never fail to disappoint. This blog post is not an exception! I completely agree with you- antidepressant don't make you weak, if anything they make you strong. Stay beautiful. xx

    https://guiliannamarie.blogspot.com

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  8. Like you I'm currently on 20mg of Fluoxetine a day and it took me a whole year to actually pluck up the courage to go on the medication. I was more worried about the side effects of the drug that were going to affect me, but I didn't like the idea of having medication to 'cure' my anxiety/depression. But like you say, it doesn't make you weak at all and I'm so glad I actually took the opportunity to go on the meds and I'm feeling much better as a result!

    Lucy | Forever September

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    1. well done lovely, that is so brave of you! Please let me know how you are getting on! I hope it helps you xx

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  9. I also tale 20mg of Flouxetine daily, and I've tried to come off it many times (each time with lots of anxiety and guilt after I feel like I've 'given in' when I inevitably have to start taking them again) My parents are mental health professionals and strangely they are the ones that continuously remind me that it's apparently 'not OK' to be on any sort of medication long term... but I've finally decided to stay strong and stick with it- I mean you wouldn't tell a diabetic to stop taking their insulin, would you!? I have this theory that creative people (i.e. the type of people who might write a blog) are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression because we're more highly attuned to everything going on around us and this can be really overwhelming! I recently read 'The Highly Sensitive Person' and it helped me so much- I'd really recommend it! Thanks for writing this post :) sending you love xxx

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    1. oh lovely, well done for sticking with it! That is very brave of you! That sounds very good, I will check it out for sure xx

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  10. Such a well written post! Thanks for sharing your story <3 xx

    Blessings,
    Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

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  11. I've just come across your blog and love it. More and more people are talking about mental health, whether it's awareness or publicising their own health and I think it's great. The more people that 'accept' the issues that some people are going through everyday, the more people that are too scared to get treated will start to open up whether it's to a friend or a doctor. Danielle x

    missdanielle.com

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