Prozac, Zoloft, Cipralex, Cymbalta, Zyban and beyond — there’s a long list of antidepressants, and an even longer list of people who are on them.
If you’re on antidepressants, you are not alone. Taking antidepressants can be a regular part of a treatment plan for depression and anxiety. It can be scary to start taking them. It can make you feel like the weakest person in the world.
But here’s the truth: it’s okay to be on antidepressants. The fact that you have even decided to try them proves how strong you are, how much you’re taking care of yourself, and that you’re on the path to recovery from the mental battle you struggle with every day.
There is a lot of stigma around antidepressants. I’m currently taking Cipralex, and I’ve heard encountered stigma from friends, family and even strangers.
“Antidepressants don’t work. Just stay positive and get some exercise — that’ll cure you.”
“Only crazy people take antidepressants.”
“You’re going to be addicted to those pills for the rest of your life.”
Whether you’ve been taking antidepressants for years or you’ve just decided to try them, together, we can smash the stigma. Because together, we are less alone.
You might have started taking antidepressants for a number of reasons — antidepressants are prescribed by a psychiatrist as a treatment option for mental illness. In scientific lingo, antidepressant medications increase the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain — specifically serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine — and they’ve been found to help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. In more familiar terms, they’re supposed to make you happier.
Oftentimes, they make you feel worse before you feel better.
It’s wise to take them at the same time every day, to never miss a dose, and to try other forms of therapy alongside them.
And for some people, the pills work. For others, they don’t. For many, there are frightening side effects. For others, there are none.
If you’re on antidepressants, you’re doing the right thing for you right now. You’re doing your best to help yourself be happy, and whether you’ve asked to be on them or your doctor suggested them and you’re trying them out, that’s okay.
If you’re on antidepressants, you’re a fighter. You will try anything and everything to make yourself better, to be there for everyone who loves you, and whether your family supports you in taking them or doesn’t, that’s okay.
If you’re on antidepressants, you’re normal. You’re not crazy. Wou won’t be addicted to the pills. They just might work for you. And whether you feel better by taking them or not, you’re going to find a treatment option that works for you. This is part of your journey to mental wellness, and that’s okay.
Just because mainstream society doesn’t talk about antidepressants doesn’t mean no one else is taking them. There are so many of us in the shadows, and you are not alone.