Disclaimer: This post deals with my own personal experience with depression. Read at your own discretion. I am not an expert on the topic, and therefore, I am unqualified to give professional advice. If you are suffering from depression contact your health-care professional. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency please contact The US National Suicide & Crisis Hotline at 1-800-784-2433.
In the first post in my series titled Depression Diaries, I spoke about common conceptions of depression and my own experience with it. If you missed that post, you can catch up here.
In the second post of this series, I’m going to talk about my experience with antidepressants. The decision to begin taking an antidepressant was not one I took lightly. I’d heard horror stories about people’s experiences, and the long list of side effects frightened me. Furthermore, I’m cautious of putting potentially harmful substances in my body. I didn’t want to be dependent on a medication for the rest of my life. These are all common concerns that anyone has when starting any medication.
In addition though, I had the feeling antidepressants were almost as stigmatized as the disease they treat. I felt as if I was a weak person because I had to resort to medication just to be able to live my life. Despite all these concerns though, I ended up on a low dose prescription of an SSRI (specifically fluoxetine which has shown to be effective and is approved for the treatment of bulimia) which I’ve been on for the last 5 months.
I decided to finally give antidepressants a try because I wasn’t making much progress overcoming my eating disorder on my own. I had read what seemed like an entire library’s worth of self-help books, but the inspiration I took from those books was fleeting. I learned to be much more accepting and caring towards myself. I learned to accept my limits and honor my body’s needs. My eating disorder symptoms lessened, but even with my change in attitude and my new mindset, I still continued to fall into the binge/restriction cycle. Food still had significant control over my life, and I wasn’t willing to settle without exploring all my options…even antidepressants.
Being on an antidepressant significantly decreased my desire to binge. Once I was on medication I felt like I could finally focus on what mattered in my life, and use food the way it is meant to be used-fuel! I don’t necessarily like the idea that I may need to be on medication for a long period of time. Furthermore, there is no guarantee medication will work in the long term. Because of this, I am experimenting with alternative ways to boost my serotonin levels through diet, supplements, exercise, and relaxation techniques. I look forward to talking about all these alternative treatments in the next post of the series!
I just love that quote!