Why don’t I want to take my antidepressants? Depression isn’t anything new for me. Post-partum depression is a whole other level of depression, and I’ve also been through that… four times.
I had chronic depression years before I my miscarriages, afterward, and after my two full-term rainbow babies. I even had chronic depression as I lost the weight after gastric bypass weight loss surgery.
I’ve received treatment. And I’ve personally seen the benefits of medication.
I know the medication helps. I don’t have an aversion to taking it because it’s ineffective or because it doesn’t work. It’s something else.
So, why don’t I want to take my antidepressants?
I think… maybe… perhaps… I might have just figured it out.
What Is Depression?
Science-y Answer: Depression is the result of chemical imbalances in your brain caused by other factors that negatively affects the quality of your life.
Real Answer: Depression is Venom, from Spiderman, that coats the body in a toxic casing, making daily function or even thought, difficult, if not impossible.
If you read my post on How To Be Authentic In 5 Weird Ways, you may have already realized that I’m no stranger to depression.
It can take many forms, the most common as just feeling sad or down. But it also comes in different forms for me, like eating everything I can to having real anger issues.
Depression is different for everyone, but we all seem to be able to agree that life in general is just harder with depression.
If we all agree that depression is awful, why don’t I want to take my antidepressants?
It makes no sense, right?
Related: How To Be Authentic In 5 Weird Steps
How Many People Suffer From Depression?
The W.H.O lists depression as the world’s most debilitating disease (source: WHO). In America, 17.3 million adults (7.1%) suffered from depression, and 2/3 of people suffering don’t even get treatment.
Of course they don’t get treatment. They are just trying to hang on to what they have left of their functioning abilities.
Here’s a small glimpse into the way my mind works when I’m sunk under the weight of depression: I have a bill due.
There is money in the account for the bill. I have the ability to pay the bill online. I just cannot go over to the computer, open it up, and pay that bill.
If I open the computer, I am unable to block out all of the other stimuli that comes with the barrage of what is available on the internet.
The possibilities spill out of the monitor like that creepy girl from The Ring.
Also, I have to look at all of the other bills that are due. And then, I have to think into next month. Next month comes with it’s own things I have to deal with, and do.
And it doesn’t stop there. Once I open the gates, the flood comes.
So, that one bill will not get paid today. Maybe not even when it is past due.
I don’t have to be an accountant to understand how that affects my credit rating. But that’s depression. And it wrecks everything.
Usually, I can easily block out all the extra junk, and just focus on the one task. But depression pulls that ability out of my hands, and the blinders I can usually wear are gone. I’m inundated with STUFF, and can’t even organize thought itself anymore.
If that one little task is impossible, how likely is it that I feel capable of making a doctors appointment, and GETTING to the doctor on time.
Not going to happen.
But sometimes, we do have good support, or we have a moment of strength and we do make the call and get help.
What Are The Treatments For Depression?
- Reading This Authentic Life?
- Eating Right
- Practicing Self-Care & Healthy Boundaries
- Medications (Antidepressants, antianxiety, antipsychotics)
Which Treatments Work?
They all work, but none of them work alone.
In How To Be Authentic In 5 Weird Ways, we talked briefly about how medication is like putting noise cancelling headphones on a child who is overstimulated.
While the headphones are on, that is the opportunity to either enjoy the show or get the heck out of there.
And in your own life, the medication should be used until you can get through the depression. But, then you don’t just stop taking the medicine. You have to take the moment of calm offered by the medicine to learn how to incorporate the other treatments into your life.
Then, and only then, would you ever want to stop taking your medication. I’d even recommend talking to your doctor about lowering a dosage before you just stop taking it altogether.
If I say that, though, what do I mean when I say I’ll never take another antidepressant again?
As I was writing the post The Best Detox Diet For Weight Loss You’ll Ever Do, I did some hardcore research on the hormone cortisol, and I learned some interesting stuff about how it’s getting in your way.
This research is barely ten years old, though some of the pieces of understanding go all they way back to the 1930s.
But, it’s not just getting in the way of weight loss. It’s getting in the way of LIFE.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, is enemy number one for a reason. It’s just the worst. I mean, we also need it, so even though it’s like a horrible, necessary evil, it needs boundaries.
How do we lower cortisol, or even better, give it boundaries? Antidepressants and antianxiety medications, exercise, eating right, practicing self-care and healthy boundaries, and psychotherapy. Interesting how it’s the same advice for treating depression.
So, what I found in my research is that the two are actually related, as described in this article from Scientific America.
They did a study with mice and antidepressants that basically concluded that you should take your antidepressants and then work on the other treatments to lower your stress and increase your coping skills.
Removing The Stigma Around Mental Health
I love our health care providers and front line workers. But gosh dangit! I hate the medical terminology they use. Two of my very much wanted and prayed for pregnancies ended in miscarriages. When I went to the doctor, they were medically cataloged as “Therapeutic Abortions” on my medical chart.
I may have lost it on a nurse when she commented on how if I were going to have so many abortions I should just take birth control.
The wording is horrible.
If you’ve been reading any of my posts on the Think and Lose Weight Series, you’ve heard me use the phrase Spicy Positive Intent.
The way we talk to ourselves and to each other is the most important thing we do – so we need to keep it positive.
We cannot punish people for acknowledging their mental health issues by forcing them into a category of shame. We must praise them for seeking treatment, and reward that behavior with something better.
Why Don’t I Want To Take My Antidepressants?
You don’t want to take antidepressants because you’re not always depressed. The medication is working, and so you’re not depressed!
Why would you want to take a medication for a symptom you’re no longer feeling?
You wouldn’t. You’ve been taught not to take medications when you aren’t feeling the symptoms. You’re not crazy, you’re doing exactly as you’ve been taught. Like antibiotics, right?
I personally think it is MORE harmful to keep taking my antidepressants when I’m not depressed, because if I’m not depressed I probably don’t need them. And if I don’t need them, shouldn’t I stop taking them so that when I AM depressed again I’m not resistant to them and they are still potent for when I’m really down?
It’s a misnomer.
And it’s a problem. Same for antianxiety and antipsychotics. Who would willingly take those?
Reclaim Your Medicine Cabinet So You Want To Take Your Antidepressant
The fact that you’re adverse to taking any medication named this way shows that it is working, and that you should keep taking it so you continue to reap the benefits.
But the paradox is that you cannot keep taking them and stay sane!
I think we’re all smarter than we give ourselves credit for, and our smarts are outwitting our intentions.
So, we should stop taking antidepressants, antianxiety, and antipsychotics.
We need to start taking our Stress Reducers, instead.
It seems so obvious to me now.
You may have already started doing this very thing, you smarty pants, you. Small changes like this have the biggest impact.
Don’t stop taking your prescription medication, but stop calling it anti-whatevers. Just start calling them Stress Reducers.
Literally, I feel relief in the back of my head when I call them this, but maybe that’s just a placebo effect. Whatever, I’ll take it!
The science is supportive of this as well, and your logical brain will thank you.
Autosuggestion For The Win
Always seek spicy positive intent in all things. Including your medication. The only thing worth focusing on is the positive result.
And everything else will fall away.
I am weirdly excited to take my Stress Reducer pill every single day. It’s the same citalopram as before. But, now I’ve unlocked access to it’s super power, because I’m taking it when I’m not depressed. And I want to keep taking it.
If that’s true, then watch out world… I’m coming for you!