Taking Antidepressant Medication Changed My Life

It's Been 1 Year Since I Started Antidepressant Medication, And I've Never Felt Better

I feel like a totally different person from who I was just a year ago.

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One year ago this March, I began taking medication for my anxiety and depression.

Before I started, I had very little control of my mental state. Honestly, I felt like I had no control of my life, either. Even with therapy, I couldn't always control my anxiety and depression when they arose. I had gone through so many highs and lows that I can remember years by what mental state I was in.

The summer before I began medication, I was dealt a major shock. I was betrayed by someone who shared private confidences with another, then by my other "friends" who chose to back this person. Even my so-called former best friend, the only other person who could have potentially leaked the conversations, stopped talking to me when I asked her if she was responsible. Her fear of confrontation overtook any responsibility she may have felt to me. She showed me exactly how little our friendship actually meant to her. My trust broke into a million pieces and my mental health receded severely.

The whole event felt like a confirmation of all the awful things I thought about myself as true: that I was a loser, people didn't like me, I was unlikeable and weird. To add salt to the wound, this experience was yet another in a long line of experiences involving me being dropped people I thought were my friends. Except this was so much worse, since I never thought these people, especially my former best friend, would do that to me.

To make things even worse, I had to switch majors at the start of fall semester once I realized I couldn't hack it at my original major. I had been so set on one thing, and this realization was like having the carpet yanked hard out from under me. I lost confidence in who I was and what I was going to become.

I sank into one of the worst mental states I've ever been in. I had no energy, no motivation to do anything, and my eating habits were worse than usual. I just moved through my day-to-day life in constant emotional pain, constantly feeling alone and shitty.

Why didn't I start taking medication earlier?

I was averse to the idea of taking medication for a long time. I had heard too much about people who took medication and didn't feel like themselves, or had negative side effects, or who jumped around medications and never found something that truly helped. I was scared of starting medication and walking through my life in a fog - I had already spent my first two years of high school in a depressed fog and I had no desire to feel foggy again.

Eventually, though, I forced myself to accept it was time. I was so miserable, so depressed and sad and broken. I was tired of feeling anxious over everything, of being scared to live my life. I was tired of skipping out on something that could make things so much easier to handle, since I clearly couldn't handle things on my own anymore.

One year ago, I told my doctor I wanted to start taking antidepressants.

She helped me feel more comfortable with my decision, saying she would start me off on half a dose so I could adjust to the difference, and would help wean me off if I decided this medication wasn't helping or if I decided later on to stop taking it. Knowing my doctor cared and wanted to make sure I was okay felt good. I trusted her to help me find something that would help.

I started taking medication and it changed my life.

I took my first dose the day before a big double audition. Auditions normally have me an anxious wreck, but I felt completely...normal. As in, I wasn't an anxious mess and just felt your typical nervous butterflies. No sweating bullets, no cacophony of anxious thoughts about everything that could go wrong. I immediately knew I was never going back to a medication-free life.

It's officially been a year since I started taking antidepressants, and my quality of life has gotten so much better.

I can drive without nonstop anxious thoughts overanalyzing every little shake of my tires, constantly fearing a flat tire. I can enter social situations with new people and socialize, rather than staying quiet the whole time for fear of being judged. I can throw on one outfit and not change multiple times before I feel "okay" with the outfit...most of the time.

I'm finally free of the dark depressed cloud that used to constantly loom overhead. That's not to say I never feel depressed, but my depressed moods are much, much less intense than they used to be. In other words, I'm not crying every time I get depressed because of the terrible self-loathing thoughts running through my head.

I've felt lighter ever since I began antidepressants. The heavy weight of my mental health has been lifted considerably, and it's much more manageable now.

Best of all, I regained a lot of my confidence. I began to love myself and my body again. I finally dyed my hair after wanting to do so since freshman year of college, and I rock it every day with a confidence that wasn't there before. I don't care what others think of my hair, which is insane because I normally care waaay too much about what others think of me.

Of course, life isn't perfect just because I'm on medication.

I still have bad days. There are still times when anxiety or depression rear their ugly heads. But medication has even the playing field significantly, making it a lot easier to get through the low moments than it once was.

If you're struggling with your mental health, I recommend giving medication a shot.

Just remember - there's no one medication for depression or anxiety. There's a variety of antidepressants out there because it all comes to down to chemical balances. There are a few different neurotransmitters that if there's an imbalance, can cause anxiety and/or depression. You just may have to try a few different medications before finding the one that works the best for you.

At the end of the day, medication can help take the edge off your negative mental health and make it more manageable. You deserve to put yourself first, and taking care of your mental health is a part of that.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Warm Weather Is Finally Here And That Means Seasonal Depression Can Go Fly A Kite

Like seriously, get out of here.

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Any form of depression flippin' sucks. Like something major. Mental health is wicked important and sometimes crazy hard to maintain. The cold weather of winter does absolutely nothing to help either and ends up making it a lot harder to stay motivated, want to get out of bed and to ever go outside to be productive and active. Vitamin D is so detrimental to the health of our bodies. The sunshine lets us soak that up, but it's almost impossible to do when it's sub-zero for four months straight (ok, a bit of an exaggeration, but not really).

Seasonal depression brings out the worst moods during the long winter months and drags us down. What we can do is to busy ourselves and push ourselves to be the happiest we can be with enjoyable activities. Make sure you do fun things that will help you avoid being stir crazy. It's a vital time of self-care and making sure you are physically and emotionally healthy.

Once the icy force field of the winter breaks, spring flourishes and so do we. The heavyweight that was hanging on our shoulders is lifted off. We instantly feel lighter. It's an amazing feeling and so relieving. Getting through the winter in one piece feels so successful.

So, have fun now. Enjoy the fresh air and let the sunshine kiss your skin. Embrace your happy and positive thoughts. Cherish not having to wear a jacket and the fact that you need air conditioning in your car instead of heat. Roll the windows down and blast the music. Make your days include some form of outside activities and exercise. Celebrate every single aspect of the spring and summer because when winter rolls around again, you will want memories to keep you going so that when you have to do it all over again, it will go smoothly.

So, goodbye seasonal depression, we won't miss you.

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