So I asked you all on my Instagram stories whether or not you'd like a post on SSRI antidepressants and my personal experience with them. Obviously I'm not a doctor but I've now been on them for over a year when I was diagnosed with PTSD. PTSD is, among other things, a mixture of anxiety and depression. So Sertraline (the SSRI I take) targets both of those things. I've only ever been on Sertraline so I'm afraid I cant give detailed insight into other forms of antidepressants. But lets delve in!
The thing about antidepressants is they aren't 'happy pills' they don't make you happy or euphoric they just can stop you from going too far down a depression hole. They also help to prevent anxiety attacks and I've had less PTSD flashbacks since I've been taking them but I've also been having therapy so it could be down to that or a mixture of the two.
So thats the highlights! Now lets talk about how horrible they can be! SSRIs have a lot of side effects, the first one I took made me really really ill and while the side effects do wear off as you get used to them, if I miss one, the next one I take can still give me some side effects. The main one I get is really bad heartburn, which is something I've never had before! It's like having a heart attack, and happens immediately after taking my medication. I also occasionally get very dizzy and nauseous. Plus when you first start taking them they can actually make you more anxious, which is a cruel joke! So its really important to consider all this before talking to your GP. And if you're American and can basically get them out of a vending machine, do consider if you really need them and if the side effects are worth it. Like, one of the side effects is diarrhoea! So you really have to choose if you want to be depressed, or shitting yourself. Theres no other options!!
I'd also like to note that I got so many responses on my stories from people saying that they're also on SSRIs or suffer from PTSD/Depression/Anxiety/BPD so there are so many people out there that are going through exactly whatever you're coping with! Things are much harder with lockdown for anyone suffering from mental illness, especially young people who've been hit hard by unemployment and are more likely to live alone and are therefore isolated from friends and family with the current restrictions. It's frustrating that not enough is being done. I feel very lucky to live near my family and with friends mere minutes away that I can easily see for exercise. But I can't help but feel like this is all wasted time. In your 20s you're supposed to be experiencing the world and revelling in youth and freedom. Having nothing to look forward to makes everyday feel more like existing than living. Everything on pause, going nowhere, it can easily make anyone feel meh.
Confession time: I'm relying more on unhealthy coping mechanisms right now than I normally would, which feels like I'm going backwards in my recovery. But given the situation I need to remind myself that recovery is never a straight line and cut myself some slack. Stressing about being mentally ill is never going to help.
Remember, doing your best looks different everyday! And if you personally still have any questions, my Dms are always open.