Throughout the past couple of months, I have been really interested in learning more about the physical and psychological effects that antidepressants can have on patients that are prescribed and use them, in addition to the ways in which people utilize both acts of self-care and the use of antidepressants to manage symptoms of trauma, anxiety, depression, and the like. In today’s society, it is easy to see how spiraling into a depression or anxious state could be easy. When going through our day-to-day activities, its not hard to forget to stop and take a moment to check in with ourselves, both emotionally and physically. Personally, on a busy day when I’m running around without stopping I find myself completely deflated at the end of the night, with my brain feeling like one huge vat of information, worries and anxieties. I think that when someone is on an antidepressant, it becomes much easier to say, “well I’m taking my pill, so that means that I should feel okay,” when in reality taking antidepressants without allowing time for self-care can prove to be detrimental.
Living with depression can make self-care seem extremely hard, or even impossible. Frontal Lobe dysfunction affects several different skills, such as attention, decision-making, emotional control, reasoning, self-monitoring, will power, and the like. When we find ourselves struggling to complete the most basic of life activities such as showering, eating, etc., it becomes so easy to lose willpower and fall back into depression. It has been encouraged time and time again for those struggling with these types of issues to create individualized self-care regiments to carry out in order to stay mentally and physically healthy. Things such as spending time in nature or keeping a routine have been proven to be largely beneficial in helping those that suffer from depression create a more livable day-to-day experience.
When I first started experiencing initial signs of depression, I was not interested in taking medication. To me, it felt like cheating, and it felt like I wasn’t even strong enough to be a living, breathing, person on my own. As the depression continued to get worse, it seemed like there was no other option besides medication, so I jumped in. In the midst of my treatment, I began to feel so much better and was amazed that a pill could have such a strong effect on the way my brain was functioning. But, that meant that I was terrified to come off of the drug. Now, 2 years later, I still feel scared to stop treatment, but I’m confident that by taking this medication over the past two years I have been caring for myself in a way that my body and brain could not. By taking my antidepressants, I was giving myself a chance to get up every morning and not be burdened by the responsibility of making myself feel happy, because the pills were apparently doing that for me. However, this doesn’t go without saying that antidepressants have come with their own share of side effects, or that I should have stopped caring for myself in other ways.
Because I was so enamored by the effects of my medication, I stopped eating and sleeping in a healthy manner. I stopped going for runs, going to the gym, and reading or writing for fun. I stopped doing all of the things I enjoyed, and started taking part in more toxic activities. What I failed to realize was that the antidepressant doesn’t do all of the work for you, it just gives you a springboard for you to do that work yourself. This is why I believe that if antidepressants seem to be the correct mode of treatment, it is also important for health-care professionals to stress the importance of continuing self-care routines.