Antidepressants. The drug that nobody wants to talk about, yet alone admit that they are on. I have been taking Citalopram for my depression since around June last year, and my dose was quickly escalated to the highest possible at 40mg as nothing else seemed to work. Since then I have slowly reduced my dose to 20mg, then 10mg, and have actually hopefully taken my last tablet this evening, depending on how stable my mood is over the next few weeks.
Many people believe that taking an antidepressant is a sign of weakness or an inability to deal with problems. Others think that they can be addictive or have no therapeutic value. However deciding to take medication for a mental health problem can be one of the bravest thing people decide to do. It shows that they are willing to get help, that they want to get better. It reflects that they believe that they can get better.
I was really wary about going on antidepressants to start with, but taking them has allowed me to understand my emotions and take the edge off things a little bit, in order for me to focus on getting better. Since taking a tiny pill every day I have been able to appreciate the little things in life, like the smell of flowers or a bird singing in a tree, as I am not so wrapped up in my negative thoughts all the time. My antidepressants have allowed my mood to be lifted slightly so that I can start to get some enjoyment and have little bursts of happiness. My emotions seem less tangled and confusing and I was able to start to see a way out of the darkness.
Nobody would bat an eyelid at taking medication for back pain, something you cannot see or quantify, so why is there so much stigma around medication for mental health? All antidepressants do is balance out the hormones in your brain, which when they are low can cause people to become depressed, much like the contraceptive pill to stop you from becoming pregnant.
I have never been reliant on my antidepressants. I have never felt panicked about not taking them - in fact I have been eager to come off them to prove that I am much better than I was 9 months ago. But I have also never felt ashamed to admit that I am taking them. Antidepressants have been proven to not be addictive; they are just a tool to help people when they are suffering and need a bit of help with their low mood. I firmly believe in psychological help such as counselling along with medication, but sometimes antidepressants are a necessity for those suffering with their mental health.
Stop being shocked when people tell you they are taking antidepressants, and don't assume that they are weak and vulnerable. Some of the strongest people I have met are taking medication for their mental health, and that is what helps them to keep going. Antidepressants don't change people, and they don't stop them from being themselves. They have helped me to rediscover myself and be the happy person that I normally am, all while appreciating the little things around me and being able to focus on overcoming my depression.
The strongest actions for a woman is to love herself, be herself and shine amongst those who never believed she could.
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