10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Taking Anti-depressants
While I love my GP, she really is an awesome doctor, I feel I should’ve been given a pamphlet or something when I walked out of her office that day . . . the day I was diagnosed with depression. Yes I had a prescription for anti-depressants and a referral to see a counsellor, but now what?!
What could I expect to feel once the meds started working? What else could I be doing to make things easier and more bearable while I wait for the meds to kick in?
It has been a real guessing game and having the private Facebook group for support has really helped me get through.
But I wanted to share with you what I’ve learnt as a result of taking anti-depressants. I truly think this information should be more readily available.
So here goes . . .
10 Things I’ve Learnt From Taking Anti-Depressants
- It takes time for the meds to start working. It can take up to two to three weeks but for some, they can feel better the next day.
- It’s highly likely you’ll put on weight. Great!
- The meds will likely affect your sleep. I had issues with falling asleep, staying asleep and some insomnia. So not cool!
- Something crazy happens with your dreams. Mine have become extremely vivid and I can always remember what happens.
- The first anti-depressant you try might not be the right one for you. WTF?! I know . . . it’s a bit of a guessing game.
- Take your meds in the morning. The majority of mums take theirs in the morning to help them get through the day. Makes sense! I was taking mine at night because the particular type was making me sleepy. My new one doesn’t . . . WOO-HOO 🙂
- You might suffer side effects. On the box of my meds, there is a sticker saying they medication may cause sleepiness and may affect driving. The most common side effects are nausea, diarrhoea or constipation. Total honesty here . . . my bowel movements actually improved. Just another thing my GP can’t explain about me!
- Some mums notice a lack of libido. Sex? What?! 😉
- Be cautious with natural therapies. We all think ‘natural’ equals good for us but some foods, herbs or supplements might not mix well with your particular medication. Ask your doctor what to look out for.
- NEVER just stop taking your meds! Always consult with your doctor about coming off anti-depressants. Believe me when I tell you, it’s not pretty coming off them and I transitioned over weeks. Can’t even imagine how crazy I would have been if I’d just gone cold turkey.
My Mental Health Tracker – It Rocks!
I also wanted to share with you that my Mental Health Tracker has really helped too. My memory for things is useless these days. Trying to remember how I felt two weeks ago when I was taking only one pill compared to this week when I’m taking two??
And the other thing about the tracker, my updated version, is it has shown me a relationship between my mood during the day after bad night’s sleep. This is great because I have looked into other tools I can use to get better sleep.
Obviously I have no control of my boys coming into my room every night. But introducing a bedtime routine that leaves out devices and gets my body ready for sleep has been paying off.
Everyone Is Different
This is obvious but what works for me, or one mum, might not work for another. We’ve all got our own stories when it comes to anti-depressants.
But what I’ve learnt through all of this is to listen to your body . . . and your head. If you’re not feeling ‘right’ then contact your GP or specialist and tell them. And I think it helps to know of the list above. It’s a good start to what you can expect from your meds.
Another thing I’ve learnt is to try different tools and ideas, as a supplement to your anti-depressant, and see what works for you. For example, changing the time of day you take your pills or trying a natural therapy for sleep.
Anything is worth a try if there’s a possibility of living each day a little happier right?!
If you’ve got any advice for someone starting on anti-depressants please email me and let me know. I’d love to share it!
Until next time, please take care of yourself.