Sunday, November 22, 2015

Depression & Me

I was diagnosed with depression and put on an anti-depressant in Fall 2013. 2 years later I'm still on it. It still works for me, but being on medication for depression for 2 years isn't something everyone gets. My parents ask me if I'm ready to go off the medication and wonder how I can still be depressed, especially since I seem fine. I've also gained some weight since going on the medication which has affected the way I perceive myself. Another "problem" for me is that I was just tired of having to take pills to make me happy (which by the way isn't an accurate description of what anti-depressants are).

So for those reasons and I’m sure a few others I’m not really aware of, I decided to take myself off my anti-depressants without discussing it with anyone. Now, just to reiterate, this is NOT a smart idea. This is NOT something you should do. Despite knowing better, I decided to stop taking my medication cold-turkey. I stopped taking them for about 2 or 3 weeks and I definitely felt the effects.

Depression and Me | What happened when I went off my meds and why I decided to take my mental health seriously and take my medication again

So what happened when I went off my meds (without any medical advice)? I pretty much went back to the same situation I was in Fall 2013. I had a hard time getting myself out of bed and had a hard time not returning to it as soon as classes are over. It was difficult for me to get motivated to do homework. I got overwhelmed and stressed about EVERYTHING. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin again and had all sorts of negative thoughts about myself. I could cry about all sorts of things, especially since I was so easily overwhelmed and stressed.

I let those feelings go on for way too long. I knew after a week that I needed to take my anti-depressants again, but I didn’t want to admit I still needed them. I didn’t want to have to take medication to make me function normally. So I waited a few more days, and a few more, and pretty soon it was 3 weeks without my medication.

After a weekend in which it was painfully obvious that I was depressed followed by a few mishaps early on in the week that upset and stressed me way more than they should have, I was finally ready to accept that I need to be on medication for depression. And it doesn’t mean that I fail as a person or that I’m a “crazy” person. It just means that I need a little extra help and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I hope this story shows you that it’s important to take care of yourself whether it’s by taking medication, going to a therapist, or making some extra time for self-care each day. All of these are important in dealing with a mental illness and there’s absolutely no shame in getting help and taking care of yourself. If you’re like me and maybe your family or friends don’t totally get it, just be patient with them and be honest when speaking with them about it. If you do think you're ready to go off your medication, talk to your doctor about it and she or he can help you come up with a plan.

Do you have depression or a mental illness? Have you felt bad or embarrassed about it? Do your family and friends accept your mental illness?


  1. Invisible illnesses, no matter what kind, can be really really really hard - as you have learned from your parents' questioning. Yes, things "seem" fine. And they will. Which means things are working (hopefully, at least!), not that it's gone or you're "fixed." Depression isn't a "fix" kind of thing. It can pass, after time, but that will come naturally (if it does - for some it does not) and that is just how it works. It's hard to explain to people who don't get it.
    I've got mental illness in the family - and have heard stories about my dad, that I am not in contact with, going off of his meds for his Schizophrenia because he is "feeling better. " And while, for him, nothing too terrible happens, it is obvious that he is a different person without the medication, and not the smartest idea of a thing to do.

    It's no fun to feel that you need medication to feel "normal" - except that is not the situation at all. Your brain, out of all of the combinations of brain you could have ended up with, is just the way it is. If that means you need extra help than what most people appear to need, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. People won't always understand, and that sucks for them, not for you.
    Sending you love and well-wishes and understanding - and glad tidings that you were able to see that going back on your medication was the right choice.

    1. Yes, this is it exactly. It's hard to explain to family because it is so different for each person. So some people might say "Well so-and-so was on this medication and they were better after 6 months. Thanks so much for understanding and sharing your story.

  2. I think it's great that more people are talking about mental illness. There's nothing wrong in getting the help you need.

    Amy | Dervish Darling

    1. I'm hoping this post does just that - helps bring more awareness, helps people feel less alone, get the help they need, and take care of themselves

  3. I think it's great that you've written a post about your experience with depression :) I think the more people talk about it than the more stigma will start to disappear.

    I have depression & generalised anxiety disorder, and I feel uncomfortable speaking about it with certain people, even some of my family and friends because of the stigma surrounding mental health and I'm worried I'll receive comments like 'what are you depressed about?', 'everyone gets nervous sometimes' etc, a lot of people don't seem to take invisible illnesses both mental & physical seriously. Due to this, I don't tell many people 'in real life'. I made a sort of promise to myself earlier this year to be more open about it so I've started talking more about it and I wrote 2 blog posts about my own experiences during mental health awareness week.

    1. That's so great. Sometimes it feels easier to be honest about it online than in real life. I try to remind myself that usually people just don't know they're hurting you when they say things like that. It's hard to hear those things because it's difficult to explain how depression or anxiety disorder make you feel and how it is MUCH different than just being sad or nervous.

      I'm hoping to become braver with talking openly about my depression, too. I do talk to my family about it and my friends know I have it, but there's only one who I talk to openly about it. Hopefully we'll both get better about it with time.

  4. I totally get the struggle!
    Jabeen x