Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Anti-depression

I'm back at home now and it feels really great. My stay at the hospital has been difficult, helpful, scary and exhausting all at the same time. I've learned so much and I want to do a series of posts about different things concerning this. First off I want to write about my view on anti-depressants.

There is so much information about this, and even more opinions. After meeting a lot of professionals as well as patients I've learned a lot. Going through several depressions myself I've learned even more. Ever since I first realized my sadness was actually depression I've heard people either tell me to take pills against it or to avoid the pills like the plague. Overall from what I can tell, most people I've met are against anti-depressants. I've been there, but I've changed my mind.

I went for a long period of time on anti-depressants and didn't really feel any different. Time went by and I didn't even notice it once I was better. When I felt healthy and good I thought that the pills were unnecessary and I didn't want to take them, so I stopped. For a very long time I didn't feel any different and then I slowly started to sink into a depression again without even noticing before it was too late.

It's a sneaky disease , because that is what it is. It's invisible but it's real. It creeps up on you and you try to shrug it off as "I'm just having a bad day" or "I'm just tired". When you've had a bad day for a few months and you start to realize that "tired" is your normal state of being, that's when you realize you're sick. Usually it's too late by then, and the negativity just keeps spiraling out of control. You can't cure yourself, you need help. I needed help, and luckily I got it.

I'm back on anti-depressants and I'm hopeful this time. The most important thing though is the knowledge of how they work and the determination to never stop taking them again, not even when I feel good. I'll explain why.

The sort of anti-depressants I take control the serotonin levels in the brain. The substance that make you feel satisfied and safe. It doesn't add this substance, rather it shuts specific neurotransmitters down a bit so that this substance can build up on its own, because it's created by the body itself. That's why most anti-depressants make you feel hell of a lot worse the first week/month you take them. They actually make you more depressed at first. This is natural however, and means that they work exactly as intended. After a while, the body learns to create more serotonin on its own and you gradually, slowly start to feel better. This takes a very long time and it's a long process. Once you feel better again you have to keep taking the pills in order to stay that way. After you stop taking them it takes a long time for the effect to disappear, which is why it's so hard to tell wether the pills had any effect at all.

After learning this I started to realize that the pills I took the first time had actually worked. It was just so subtle I didn't even realize. Some of the anti-pill people might still think this is bad, because it makes people addicted to pills. Well, aren't diabetics addicted to their medication to regulate their amount of insulin? If you have a heart problem you might have to take pills all your life to regulate that. Why is it different because the disease is in your brain and affects your feelings instead of your physical body? Depression is deadly and I don't have a problem with the fact that I might have to take a pill every morning in order to stay away from that deep, hopeless hell. It's a very small sacrifice. Along with support, therapy and life changes I'd say the right medication makes all the difference in the world.

Pills are not the only thing though, it's not a miracle cure, but it gives you the base you might need in order to build the rest of your life on. If your life is shit, a pill won't help against that, but if your brain makes you think your life is shit when it's not, that's where the pill comes in to make you see the light, the colours and the happiness again. It just takes time.

7 comments:

  1. I really love that you are talking about all of this, it's so easy for people to hide away the fact they are suffering from this disorder. But the truth is that, brave people like you, who are willing to give information and personal details about it can help everyone to understand that it isn't something to be hidden. Depression and all sorts of mental disorders should definitely be more talked about! You're doing a really great thing here, I hope you start feeling happier soon!

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    1. I'm on a good way to recovery, so I'm very hopeful now. I'm happy you like what I write! Once you start talking openly about it you realize how common it is, and most people have their own stories or have had close ones with various mental problems. It's such a broad subject and I hope that it can be discussed without shame in the future. :)

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  2. Such a great post, thanks for sharing something so personal. I know very little about depressions, and I've always felt that people look down on people on anti depressions (I don't know why though). Now I know more, which feels good for me and I can also treat people around me better - so thank you once again!

    Do doctors know why some people suffer from depressions, why some peoples bodies does not create enough serotonin?

    I hope you get better and better now <3

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    1. Thank you!
      Well, the brain is really complex and there is no simple answer. Depression can come as a natural effect of traumatic events or suffering, or it can come out of the blue for no reason at all. For me it's probably genetic and this depression has no obvious cause.

      Googling around about serotonin gives some explanations on how the whole thing works, but it's a bit too complicated for me to describe in a comment or a post. Brain science! Tricky stuff :)

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  3. Thanks for writing this post. It's made me consider going back on the ADPs again... but I often feel like I'm not sure if I really need them or if anything is wrong with me in the first place? It's confusing and scary for me to make a commitment to take pills every day for a very long time o_o

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    1. Yeah, I think it's because if you take pills, you get the feeling that you're even more sick. It's varies a lot from person to person I think wether you need them or not. I've decided to keep taking them now for as long as I need. If I ever feel like I am stable enough to stop, I'll do it properly by stopping little at a time. Just talk to your doctor again if you feel you need to take them again. It's best not to make decisions like that without professional advice.

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