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Adulting with Depression

One Month Post-Meds Reflection

It's been one month since I've been on antidepressants. Now if you know me, or read my article on medication (see below for it), you would know that I have always had a fear of taking any form of medication. Fear of how it might change me, how I would feel afterwards, and how I would act once I started taking them. But I had to accept what was and that was this: I couldn't control the chemical imbalance in my brain. I couldn't control the fact that there were things I wanted to accomplish in life and I felt like my body simply didn't live up to my mind's capacity. I couldn't control the days where I was feeling super low and the other days where I was erratically high and moving at all speeds. It was all very inconsistent and super depressing, so I caved. Or so it felt that way.

I cried when I went to the psychiatrist. This wasn't my first visit to a psych doctor and every time I ever visited one, the outcome has always been that I was a normal 20 something year old woman dealing with and battling life stressors that were normal and didn't need or want medication.

This visit was different. I was honest about my moods, how uncontrollable and sudden they had become and how they were getting in the way of my productivity. There's so much I want to do in life and I've been feeling stuck all year, or so it seems. Yes, I have things going for me, like a big movie I'm currently filming, but in between projects, life seemed like a drag. Financially, I was drowning, and I was tired of it. My anxiety would go through the roof every now and then and my therapist believes I'm bipolar. In the past I have tried meditation, yoga, and hanging with friends but I could never be consistent about it. So I got help because I was tired of living this way and needed to take control of my mental health.

Fast forward five weeks and here I am. I've been taking Paxil, killing two birds with one stone as it treats depression and anxiety. The medication does come with a few side effects. At first I was breaking out, but I'm not anymore. I get brief nausea in the mornings but drowsiness is the biggest one. I instantly fell asleep within 30 minutes of taking it on day one. So I take it at night. If you consume alcohol or smoke marijuana while you take it, the drowsiness will be intensified. I've experienced it for myself.

I went to a barbeque around Labor Day Weekend and was enjoying myself with a few friends, helping the chef, socializing, and I had a few beers and smoked a bit; nothing crazy. I turned down shots during the first few rounds shots went around, because I was trying to remain responsible. When 10 rolled around I had taken one shot of tequila and within the next half hour, another. Then I remembered I didn't take my medication, and because I had been so consistent with taking it between 9:30 and 10:30 PM, I took it. That was the dumbest thing I ever did, ha! At 11:30 I just remember saying I needed to go home, called an Uber and I don't remember the rest. I blacked out, but I was safe and I was home by 11:40 PM. The combination of alcohol and the antidepressants were a bad combination and my body was limp. I was upset at myself because it was very irresponsible to have done that. I asked myself, "I don't want to not have a social life, but I want to continue taking my meds regularly because they work, so what do I do?" My sister and doctor recommended that I don't take them while I'm out, and if I'm out all night, which isn't a common thing, simply don't take them. Just don't make a habit out of it otherwise they won't work.

So I tried that. I went out to a housewarming party and had a great time! I drank a little bit of champagne and one beer and smoked a little bit and went home early enough to do my adult nightly skincare routine and wake up on time for work the next morning. I didn't take my medication that night. But the next night, I noticed a shift in my mood when I briefly got upset and I didn't like it. It was 10 PM, and I still hadn't taken my medication so I took it and went home. Then I was thinking back to a conversation at the party about how one of my friends had witnessed her friend go off her medication. It was like suicide. I am terrified of what can happen to my mood, or myself in general if I stop taking them. My doctor says your meds should be your companion, not something you are babysitting. And right now, they are a companion. They just come with a little more responsibility. I was already practicing self awareness and control and now I feel like I should be hyper aware, especially when I am socializing or out having a good time.

But does the sun feel different on my skin? No it does not. Is my creativity affected? No it isn't. All the fears I had prior to trying antidepressants seem so foolish now. These days, I walk 20-30 miles a week as a dog walker, I work out 6-7 hours a week in the gym focusing on strength training, my spirit has been lifted, I feel motivated, I'm productive, and I'm filming a feature film. I still go to therapy bi-weekly. I am socializing more whereas I felt like I was in a hole at home not able to share my energy with my friends. I'm pushing myself and I feel like things are finally falling into place. I haven't had a super low day all month, and I think that's a blessing.

If you're struggling with depression, anxiety, or any form of mental illness, I advise you to seek help. Be honest with yourself and your doctors. Don't limit yourself but do what's best for you. I have experienced and witnessed how these mental illnesses can negatively affect you and if you want to live a happy and healthy life, you just have to choose to do so and make the right and responsible decisions for yourself. And know, you're not alone. You're never alone. 

High on Life or Highly Medicated