I Don't Feel Like Myself Since I Started Antidepressants- And I Can't Tell You How Good It's Been
“I don’t feel like myself when I take antidepressants.”
We’ve all heard it at one time or another. This rhetoric was the main reason I was so terrified to try SSRIs. Stigma told me I might lose my marbles, or that I would somehow be reduced to a drooling zombie.
I kind of feel like this is a cop out. An excuse. Perhaps a scare tactic by people who think essential oils and singing Kumbaya is the cure for everything.
But isn’t that the point?
I started taking antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications about two years ago. And, I guess people are right; I didn’t feel like myself anymore.
Myself before the antidepressants was moody. I was irritable. I wanted to stay in my dark bedroom all day. I would lose my cool over the slightest thing. I relapsed into old self destructive habits. I wanted to be dead.
The reason I went to the doctor was exactly so I wouldn't feel like Myself!
I went to the doctor so I could experience change! I literally didn't WANT to be Myself because Myself was miserable.
So why do we accept "I don't feel like myself when I take my antidepressants?"
I’m not trying to discredit people who have had bad experiences with SSRIs.
Believe people when they say they felt more suicidal or more self loathing or absolutely batshit crazy on SSRIs. Support your friend as they try new medications. Watch for changes in behavior.
My depression and anxiety issues stem from both narcissistic abuse and a twenty year battle with ulcerative colitis. So yes, I understand that not everyone gets the right medication for them the first time. I literally NEVER get the right prescription for physical illness the first time around. Sometimes, I go through four or five before I find the right one. Sometimes, it takes years to find treatment that works.
I’ve started TNF inhibitors that have made me experience psychosis
But I have to be honest, “I don’t take the meds because I don’t feel like myself” has as much logic as “My life feels unfamiliar without 700 daily trips to the bathroom, so I’m not going to take my colitis medication” or “Chemotherapy makes me sick, so I think I’ll keep the cancer.”
Wellness didn’t come magically.
Or easily, for that matter. It still took work.
I still had to acknowledge what I was feeling and I still had to feel it, uncomfortable as it was.
I had to change my habits, and that in itself is hard work.
I still have days where I know I still have depression, and I still have days where anxiety is physically painful.
I have days where I realize it’s been a long, LONG time since my last episode. I have days where not being “Myself” is unfamiliar and terrifying. I have days where I long for the self loathing because that was what I knew. I have days where I’m spooked right out because I don’t know when depressed and anxious became the norm for me.
But those days are not the rule.
Having clarity between the episodes gave me enough peace to dig deeper into the emotions I was feeling.
I became better able to recognize the feeling of “I need down time.”
Then, after two years of medication and therapy, something really incredible happened:
I started to love Myself.
I was able to recognize the friendships and relationships that weren’t working for me. I was actually able to weed my friend garden.
You know the saying “Before you diagnose yourself with mental illness, make sure you’re not surrounded by assholes?”
There’s more truth to that than I had originally thought.
The first thing I did was drop the boyfriend who enjoyed my turmoil too much. I think I can back that statement up because as soon as I had mental clarity, I had boundaries.
A year after I dropped him, I had a whole new crew.
I do thank the meds for this. If I was still Myself before I started taking them, I might still loathe myself enough to let other people treat me like garbage.
I was FINALLY able to accept that my friend’s actions, values, and behaviour impacted me more than I thought.
And I actually loved myself enough to elevate myself above them.
Was it lonely? You bet it was. You better believe that my depression told me all kinds of nasty things about myself in that time. I took one friend back over and over again because I somehow thought I deserved her disrespect.
But self love is a powerful thing. It gave me the willpower to actually WANT to get better. And while I’m not entirely better, it was definitely worth disregarding everything I had heard about SSRIs and doing the work to leave Myself as I was behind.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.