Don't be ashamed to get the help you need — however you need it.
As a person who has depression, is on medications and is in therapy (I swear, I’m sane!), I’ve had plenty people comment on my use of antidepressants, or spout out myths around me about medications for depression that simply aren’t true.
To put it simply: I'm tired of hearing it and feeling awkward having to correct them or inform them on their mistakes. (But hey, you live and you learn, I guess?)
Anyway, from both experience and research, I just wanted to debunk a few of the most common myths that have come up around me about antidepressants and depression:
1. Antidepressants make you happy.
Nope. As amazing as it would be to have a happiness pill, that is not a thing. Otherwise it would be in MUCH higher demand, right?
But no, that is not a reality. When a person has clinical depression, they have an overall low feeling that causes constant distress. All an antidepressant does is lessen those constant negative thoughts and feelings so a person can actually make it through a day feeling relatively normal (whatever that means).
2. They’re the easy way out.
First off, there isn’t really an “out” of clinical depression. If you have it, you have it, though over time it is possible to be weaned off of certain medications (discuss this with your doctor if interested). But as stated above, antidepressants aren’t happy-pills. A person with depression will still deal with their depression, but on a much smaller scale, if prescribed properly.
3. All you REALLY need is therapy.
The first thing you should know is that not even therapists think this, so if you really think you’re more aware than professionals and people actually going through it, sorry, but you’re wrong.
While I personally think everyone can benefit from therapy, any therapist/psychologist/etc. will tell you that there are some people that can only benefit so much from therapy, and thus need the assistance of antidepressants. A depressed patient has this sort of impenetrable wall around them that will make it difficult or impossible for any therapy to truly help.
4. Antidepressants give you horrible side effects that make you MORE depressed.
This is only the case for people who:
a.) Don’t have clinical depression, but were very sad and were wrongly prescribed medication.
b.) Need a different medication
Lots of people are prescribed antidepressants who shouldn’t be. Before taking antidepressants, a person should be aware if there is a cause for the mood change (such as the death of a loved one) or whether its an overall constant feeling. If an antidepressant doesn’t have any depression to treat, other reactions to it can occur.
This should not deter you from looking into the potential side-effects of your medication, and if bothersome or dangerous side-effects occur, you should speak with your primary doctor to find another solution immediately.
5. They numb you.
Antidepressant treatments are pretty unique, and there’s definitely no one-size-fits-all medication. Sometimes the first medication taken isn’t the right one, either because of side effects, the medications simply not working, or actually triggering other feelings that are abnormal to a person.
If any of these things are a concern, a doctor is an appointment away, and they will happily help you find something better.
I was lucky enough, when first prescribed, to have my first suggestion work great! My depression numbed me to every feeling but sadness and anger, so once my antidepressant worked into my system, my range of feelings actually expanded to a “normal” variety.
I still remember sitting in my room at the end of a day and thinking: woah ... people can feel like THIS? I’m allowed to feel this okay?? It was a freeing feeling and I have no regrets.
It's certainly not for everyone, and I don't think that antidepressants are even the perfect solution. But if prescribed correctly, it can help so much. Basically, don’t knock it ‘til you try it (safely), and even then, don’t knock it until you’ve tried another. Make sense?