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5 things I didn't expect from anti-depressants

I rushed into anti-depressants head-on, just desperate for a way to feel better. I didn’t care what the side effects were going to be, just as long as my immediate stresses and breathing difficulties were dealt with.

Through lack of research however, I never anticipated any of the following:

Admittedly, my doctor did warn me that I may experience disturbed sleeping as I adjusted, but nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of the nightmares that arrived every night. My nightmares would often drive me to be physically abusive to my boyfriend lying with me, and I would wake up drowning in sweat and panic.

Intolerance to alcohol
Three days into taking my anti-depressants I was on holiday, and as usually occurs whilst abroad, a fair amount of alcohol is drunk with our evening meal… whatever happened after dinner is lost in my memory. Unfortunately I heard from family the next morning that I had become utterly hysterical from dinner onwards; an inconsolable mess – something that alcohol has NEVER done to me regardless of quantity. Now if I know I am going to be drinking more than a couple of units I will ensure that I take the tablet as soon as I wake up, so that the effects wear off in time.

People’s assumptions
The few people that I decided to inform about the anti-depressants assume that something truly awful must be happening in my life, or must have happened in recent years. It angers me that this is a common assumption that those on anti-depressants are in NEED of a clear-cut reason for how they feel. People with depression or anxiety do not have to have had experienced a traumatic experience to feel the way they do.

The level of dependence you have on your medicine
A few months into taking the medicine I thought to myself that I would test myself for a few days without them; to prove that I don’t NEED them to live happily. The first day passed alright, but by day three my breathing was incredibly shallow, I was reduced to tears when choosing what to wear for work again, and everything my boyfriend said or did irritated me. The anti-depressants ARE needed, and they do make me feel better.

Finding out that so many of my friends and family cope with anxiety and depression
As I started opening up to a few people about the way I was feeling and the panic attacks, it transpires that I actually know rather a few people who also take similar medicine in one form or another. This is a very sad truth that so many people suffer from mental illness, but on the flipside it also means I have a supportive base of people who just “get it”. They understand that you don’t need a definitive reason, and that it’s hard to pinpoint what feels wrong. They simply appreciate the need for medicinal help.

Photo Credit: Amanda Hatfield

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