I wrote awhile back about taking an antidepressant. A lot has happened since.
Before I start, I want to stress that antidepressants are not evil, and if you feel that taking one will help or is helping you, go for it! I am not a doctor, I am not a medical professional of any kind; I am just sharing my personal experience from the last year.
So! I went on an antidepressant called Citalopram in the latter half of 2016. I've lived with depression and anxiety as long as I can remember, and I had reached a point of desperation. I knew I needed to at least try medication, and soon. So I did.
The medication worked wonders for about six months. I could suddenly function in public without shaking and/or crying. I could speak on the phone. I could live like a fairly normal adult. I wasn't living with a constant feeling of adrenaline, and I wasn't overreacting at the smallest things. It was an interesting change of pace. It was six months of learning how to function. I loved it. I felt "sane." However, the beginning of 2017 brought a lessened effect from the medication, along with some financial issues which aren't too terribly important to this story, but they are worth mentioning.
I eventually could feel my old symptoms creeping back up on me. I was beginning to feel depression creep back, and it grew stronger every week. At the same time, my prescription had run out, and I would have to go to the doctor to have it refilled. Unfortunately, just a five minute meeting with my doctor could cost nearly $100, and I was sure the appointment I needed would cost more. I'm a broke 22 year old. Do you get what I'm hinting at?
So, with no money and a medication that was no longer working, I decided to simply stop taking the medication, and WOW was that a strong decision. This was around the end of June/beginning of July of this year. My depression and anxiety symptoms worsened, and I had withdrawal symptoms to boot. I spent a few weeks feeling nauseous and tired, with constant dizziness, which was slightly terrifying, and an even more slightly pain in the ass.
I spent an entire week basically in a fog. I barely left my bedroom, let alone my bed. I didn't even notice I'd done this until I left the house for a quick little errand, and my thighs were aching all night afterwards. That's so bad. I'm so out of shape, and staying in bed for a week didn't help. However, this did serve as a wake-up call of sorts.
By the end of July, I could feel that a lot of the medication was out of my system. I became weepy and easily emotional. I had to learn to live with that all over again, anxiety as well. I had days of difficult breathing and tingly limbs. I had to re-learn how to cope with crying over nothing, and I found myself explaining the tears to my parents over and over again.
The thing is, I'd lived this way before. I was on medication for less than a year, and spent many years before that living with my symptoms. Is it the best way to live? No, not really. But it's possible. That's what I had to remember.
I think having a medicated moment of normalcy taught me how to function. I suddenly understood how to speak to strangers without alarm, and speak on the phone instead of screening all of my phone calls. I learned how to leave the house by myself, and carry on better/more stable work related relationships. Now, I've kind of figured out how to fake-it-'till-I-make-it. I can even better realize when a reaction is solely based on anxiety or depression, and that the initial feelings probably aren't even real.
I'm still depressed. It's really bad some days. I still have anxiety, and the littlest things make me worry uncontrollably. I've been dealing with sensory overload a lot lately, which is annoying, but it's there. Even with all of the problematic details, I think I feel more normal now than ever. I'm emotional. I get really sad, and I keep going. I can still handle situations like an adult, and I've even regained the motivation to get dressed and do my hair and do my nails. I stopped doing those things for so long that I suddenly look like a different person.
Long-term medication didn't work for me, but, as my mother would say, it helped me "get over the hump." I'm alive. I'm functioning. Everything's okay.