Antidepressants can't change the world, but they made it tolerable for me
I've been taking antidepressants for a year now, and I wanted to write a kind of note about how it went. France is known for prescribing a lot of antidepressants, and it's often seen as a kind of morale or motivational failure ("Man up!") that can or should be fixed with a rest ("Go to the beach!").
As a result, the first time I talked about it, my partner was suddenly alarmed. We were out of the first Covid lockdown in France, and it seemed I was doing better after I broke two months prior. Or, should I say, the work of re-sensibilization I was gradually doing with my therapist (allowing myself to listen to my physical and mental sensations) broke loose. The dam that was preventing the feels to overflow me broke, and it took quite some time for everything to settle down.
So two months later, I didn't know what my profesionnal future was going to be, I was buying an apartment, I could not see my therapist to talk about all this. Nor do I wanted to see my therapist. I had already told her I was fed up with fighting for control, that I wanted the easy mode for a moment. So, in a very pragmatic approach, I wrote down on paper what I was feeling and went to see my doctor, and read in front of her what I had written.
Overall, my symptoms were:
- An inabiliby to manage unexpected problems. Even the smallest ones took gigantic proportions, made me feel overwhelmed and created panic crisis.
- Fatigue. Fortunately, not a massive fatigue that made me unable to socialize. But just getting up in the morning was a chore.
- The inabiliby to focus on mentally uncomfortable tasks. It made starting new things very difficult.
- Physical pain in the neck, but not entirely due to work desk. My muscles were getting tense for no reasons during conversations.
- A feeling of a fear that everything could suddenly collapse. Like, as if something catastrophic was about to happen. It was not very conscious, it just manifested every so often.
And so, because of all the uncertainties related to my career and all the work that was coming with the apartment that I didn't know how to handle, I suggested I could, maybe, start taking antidepressants. She agreed and, seeing it was more an anxious depressive disorder than a fully fledged depression, decided to give me a very mild one dosage.
It turned out to be a very nice move from her. It removed almost all the symptoms I listed earlier, but didn't make me dull, more tired or unable to feel. As a result, I have never felt so good in years. I have never felt so myself. Turns out it wasn't just a feeling. My partner said something that really touched me, she said she felt I was more like the old me, the one when we met.
As a result, I've made considerable progress on many things in the last year. I'm more focused, anxiety and physical pain are gone, as well as the feeling of catastrophe. The considerable amount of work I did in my apartment made me extremely more relaxed about maintaining unexpected problems too.
Today, after renewing my prescription, my doctor talked to me about the future. Am I ready to stop taking antidepressants? At the moment, no. I don't even want to, as I am making huge progress into discovering myself, at the right pace. A moment will inevitably come, when I will have to stop, but... waves at everything bad that is currently happening in the world.
Anyway, that's my personal testimony about taking antidepressants. Please don't take it as a medical advice. Antidepressants are not a magic pill, it's just that for me, they worked and since there's a stigma around them, I wanted to encourage people that have the same symptoms as me to, maybe, try talking about them with their doctor, and see how it goes from there.