The Not-So-Fair Choice With My Antidepressants


When I am in a low of my depression, my world becomes small, dark and extremely desperate.

In this place, I wish I was “not around.” I want to take my life or have life to just take me out. It’s morbid to think that, I know. Trust me, I have been carrying this debate of “to stay or not to stay” for over 20 years, and it feels morbid each time I feel it.

The toughest part is, before my depression I was one of the happiest girls. You could find me socializing or dancing around without a care in the world. If anyone was to describe me, “bubbly” was usually one of the top three descriptors.

So when I turned 18 and was diagnosed with major depression, it was a shock to everyone in my family and almost harder for them to take because they no longer recognized the girl I had become.

A few years in, I went on two different types of antidepressants that allowed to me to have moments of that bubbly girl. Not all the time, but I would say about 50 percent of the time, which is great odd for someone who was in major depressive episodes so often.

Within the last four years or so, my medication stopped working.

I couldn’t leave my house, I couldn’t stop crying, my suicidal thoughts were increasing and I needed help quickly.

My psychiatrist told me to try a third medicine. I was hesitant because, well, to be honest, of the shame — I didn’t want to be the girl who needed three medications to make it through life because it still embarrassed me and hindered my pride.

After a few months I said OK and was told about the side effects: weight gain (that’s a fun one), muscle stiffness (hmm), twitching (embarrassing), along with 10 or so other ones.

I felt like I had to make an impossible choice between taking the meds and having the horrible side effects or not taking the meds and maybe taking
my life. Seems obvious to most, but this decision really isn’t fun. I am choosing to live yet have to endure odd side effects.

On these medications, one side effect seems to stick out. “You seem withdrawn, like you care about a conversation, but not really.” “You don’t seem rockbottom depressed, but you don’t seem happy.” “You are definitely not who you used to be, the girl with energy and the sunny disposition.” “I hope we get that girl back but if not, at least you want to be around.”

Ouch.

I know my loved ones are only trying to tell me the truth, but for me, this is the reality of taking antidepressants. The drugs want to alter chemicals in my brain causing me to be suicidal, and yes, they’ve done that, but they’ve also affected my zest and apparently my ability to engage in an energetic way in conversations. This is my life on meds.

If you are going through this too, my heart goes out to you. I want you to know I get it, and I understand.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Editor’s note: Please see a medical professional before starting or stopping medication.


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