WHOA . . . Back Up The Truck!

by Renee Greenland

So the other week I jumped LIVE onto the F.A.B Mumma Facebook page and talked about the side effects of anti-depressants!

Me being me, I didn’t really plan it out . . . I just felt like I had to share what I had been through and what I had learnt recently. I may have come across the wrong way but I didn’t think so at the time.

As a result, the video received some strong comments about my point of view. Which is fine . . . that’s what social media is all about right?!

Well those comments ‘plagued’ me for days. I’m the type of person who avoids conflict!

I know . . . I probably should have thought about that before talking about something quite controversial.

Anyway, I ‘got it all out’ in my journal and decided I needed to share this to make some peace with it all.

Here’s what I was trying to say

“It was my intention to share with people the side effects of anti-depressants. I wasn’t told and there was no information with the medication I was given.

Had I been told of these side effects, by my doctor when I was prescribed, would I still have said yes to going on them? Most probably because at the time I wanted a quick fix. I just wanted to feel better.

But I had a right to know what I was ‘signing up’ for. And I think doctors have a duty to explain all the side effects . . . why you shouldn’t just stop taking them, what happens to your body etc.

Here’s 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Taking Anti-Depressants.

My journey of depression is completely different to yours. I have no idea what goes on behind your name and profile picture on Facebook. I would NEVER tell anyone they shouldn’t take anti-depressants. It’s entirely your decision but I believe it should be an informed one.

My experience with anti-depressants wasn’t great

They took two to three weeks to start ‘working’ and by that I mean for me to feel any different.

All of sudden I had insomnia which was fucking awful. I’m an 8-hours-a-night kinda gal!

Even after being on them for a few months, my moods were still up and down, and I wasn’t myself. So after consultation with my GP I was put on a different anti-depressant.

Again, I wasn’t told when I started on this journey, that it could be a rough and long road to finding a medication that worked for me.

Transitioning to a new anti-depressant was torturous

The transition from Citalopram to Efexor-XR was at times, unbearable! I had to slowly come off the first before staring the second. And again, no one told me how bad that would be. It ended up being a ten week process.

Note: NEVER EVER just stop taking your anti-depressant medication. Always talk to your doctor first!

I used my Mental Health Tracker while transitioning. You’ll see below how up and down things were.

Over that ten weeks, I had a partner who was nervous every day because he had no idea what I was going through or what to expect every morning after I woke up. And you know what, I had no bloody idea either and I had some pretty bad days.

I didn’t want to be this person. And, at times, I was scared I was going to feel like this forever.

But the new meds soon kicked in and I was doing OK. I was still angry, irritable . . . experiencing the feelings and moods of my depression mainly in the evenings. But I still wasn’t myself. I wasn’t back to normal. I was a duller version of me and I really didn’t like it.

I wrote about Transitioning To A New Crazy Pill.

An interview sparked change for me

Then one Wednesday, Hiria shared an interview between Marie Forleo and Dr Kelly Brogan. And BOOM! It hit me . . . right between the eyes. I totally resonated with what was being said and I decided to take action from that day.

The key things Dr Kelly spoke about were nutrition (whole foods), exercise (that you enjoy), meditation and gratitude. Stuff I wanted to incorporate into my life and this interview gave me the kick in the butt I needed.

I knew some of my daily habits weren’t serving me and that I needed to change and take action if I wanted to feel better.

The first change I made – I quit sugar

If you go back up and look at my tracker page, you’ll see I was having sugar pretty much everyday. And this was BAD sugar . . . I’d have an energy drink (usually ‘sugar free’ Red Bull) pretty much every day. Sometimes I’d eat a whole bag of lollies. Most days I’d have an ice-cream after dinner or some chocolate. I was seriously addicted and I relied on sugar to get me through the day.

Two months later, after quitting sugar the very next day after watching the interview, I’m off the anti-depressants and I’ve stopped taking my contraceptive pill. And I feel SO much better than when I was on the crazy pills.

So seeing this interview, reading A Mind Of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, and learning how my body works, has been what worked for me to get off my meds.

Do your research

Your journey, story or whatever you want to call it, with depression will be different to mine . . . maybe not! But I seriously recommend doing some research or reading into what you’re going through. Know all sides of it so you feel informed and empowered when making decisions around your mental health.

Not me, not Dr Kelly Brogan, or anyone else can tell you not to take anti-depressants. But I feel we have an obligation to tell you the risks and side effects so that when you make your decision, it’s an informed one.

Believe me, at the time I started on the crazy pills, I strongly believed that’s what I needed to feel better. But after counselling, a crazy and unpleasant transition between meds, and a lot of reading, I decided anti-depressants weren’t helping me to be me.

And I’m pretty fucking awesome. Myself and the world was missing out on that. Just saying!

I just want to enjoy life. Full stop. That’s my ultimate goal. Through this journey of depression and crazy pills, I’ve started to find the joy again.”

Yes, the side effects of anti-depressants sound pretty scary but please do what’s right for you, right now. If you need this medication to feel better, to feel that you’re not a risk to yourself and your family, talk to your doctor and come up with a plan.

I would highly recommend asking your doctor to do a full check-up too. Get blood tests for thyroid, adrenals, low iron etc to make sure there’s not something else going on in your body that is contributing to how you’re feeling.

And remember, you’re not alone. Please reach out if you need support or someone to talk to.

Big hugs,

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