One of the most common misconceptions regarding depression is that any sort of medication will make someone feel "like a robot". Wrong. Perhaps the misconception starts earlier than the medication itself. Maybe it's the depression aspect that people don't understand. Depression is different for everyone who has it simply because everyone has different genetic makeups and our brains don't all react the exact same way. There's even a variety of different depressions one might have! Symptoms of major clinical depression can include fatigue, impaired concentration, insomnia, thoughts of suicide, and loss of interest in activities along with so many more!
With so many symptoms, depression can truly take over one's life. That's why it is so important to seek treatment! Treatment is available in a variety of forms. Personally, I've found the combination of medication and counseling so incredibly helpful in managing my anxiety and figuring out what I can do to help change my train of thought when need be. Like I previously mentioned, each case of depression is unique and so is treatment.
Outside of a variety of visible symptoms, depression looks different on the inside too! The image below shows a lessened amount of brain activity in a brain that is depressed in comparison to one that is functioning healthily.
So how does an antidepressant help? It helps to adjust the chemical imbalances in the brain, such as serotonin, to help us feel better. While side effects are common in the beginning, they should go away in a matter of weeks. Ultimately, antidepressants are to help us function. Depression is what makes us feel numb, and the right combination of medication can fix that and help us return to doing things we love. With a wide variety of medications such as SSRIs and SNRIs and different dosing levels, there's bound to be something that works specifically for you!
Take it from me. After my diagnosis, I was nervous about trying medication, but it was definitely worth it. While the first few just didn't work for me, I am glad my doctor worked with me to find one that ultimately makes me feel a million times better. I do have bad days here and there, faced some nasty side effects, but for the most part, medication has made my life easier. I'm more motivated to get things done and I enjoy writing, making music, spending time with family, laughing with friends, and just being a healthier version of me!
It's almost 2019 which means we need to start the conversation. Depression isn't "feeling blue" for a few days. It's an illness that deserves treatment just like any other physical ailment. If you or a loved one is struggling, encourage them to seek treatment! For more ways to help a loved one with depression: 10 Ways to Love Your Friend With Depression
Remember to be patient, take your meds on time, and ALWAYS communicate any changes to your doctor!