Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Depression: breaking the myth around "happy pills"

Taking Depression tablets is WAY better then drinking your pain away.

If you had a really bad cold then you'd take antibiotics.

If you had life threatening cancer then you'd undergo chemotherapy.

If you had a horrible headache then you'd take Panadol.

If you were suffering from Depression, would you take Depression tablets?

If you answered no, why not?

What makes your answer different from the rest? Are you scared about the stigma? Are you worried that your head would be in the clouds and you wouldn't feel anything? Are you worried that you'd be seen as weak to those who knew? Are you worried that you'd be happy all of the time and feel no other emotion?

I must admit that when I was younger, I was against Depression medication. I honestly thought that if you exercised, ate well and kept a positive attitude, then you wouldn't need to take Depression tablets.

I want to go back and slap my younger self. Maybe I shouldn't be so harsh on myself. I was young, naive, and wanted to believe that you could control everything in your life.

I must admit that I get quite defensive now when people talk about Depression medication. When I hear people call them happy pills, when I hear people comment on having your head in the clouds and when I hear the tone in some peoples voice that indicates their sceptical attitude towards Depression, my heart breaks.

They do not know what it' like to suffer from Depression. They do not know that you'd do anything to stop the pain. If that means taking medication, then so be it.

How Depression Medication Works

"Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that medication can correct. According to the chemical imbalance theory, low levels of the brain chemical serotonin lead to depression and depression medication works by bringing serotonin levels back to normal" (http://www.helpguide.org/mental/medications_depression.htm)


The problem isn't taking Depression medication, but the medication does have some flaws...

Many Depression medications take 4-6 weeks to take effect. Let me tell you, when you are suffering from Depression 4-6 weeks seems like a lifetime. It's not like Panadol. You don't pop a pill and instantly feel better. You take a pill and still feel low. You swallow a pill and still have no energy. You take a pill and still feel like there's no hope in those first initial weeks. But if you hang in there, then things DO get better, it just takes time.

Just like any medication, sometimes it takes awhile to get the right Depression medication for the sufferer. If you are lucky enough to find one that works for you straight away then SCORE! It takes a little while longer for some people to find one that helps to balance the chemicals in their brain.

Swapping Depression medications means weaning yourself off of one, before starting another. This can take quite some time.

Depression tablets have many side affects including: weight gain, headaches, night sweats, increased suicidal thoughts, headaches and many more! But trust me, these are nothing to feeling the symptoms and pain of Depression.

The positives that come with taking Depression medication.

The positives of taking Depression medication WAY out weighs the negatives. Weight gain DOES NOT MATTER compared to having your mental health back. Depression medication saves lives. I have absolutely no doubt about this.

The problem isn't the Depression tablets themselves, it's the stigma attached to them that stop people from seeking the help they need.

Depression tablets allows the sufferer to stabilise their moods. The tablets allows the person to think clearly and rationally and to be able to filter negative thoughts.

Depression tablets brings control back into the sufferers life. They allow the person to get on with life.

Medication and TALKING to a Professional MUST go hand in hand.

I strongly believe this. Medication helps to balance out the Serotonin in your brain, but it does NOT help to realise how and why you became Depressed in the first place.

It's important to speak to a psychologist or mental health worker to learn about therapies that may help, strategies for managing and reducing stress in your life, speaking about your anger, grief, frustration and things that are bothering you.

You need to get to the bottom of things so that you can move forward and STOP Depression from defining you.

To STOP Depression from CONTROLLING your life.

To STOP Depression from PREVENTING you from taking life by the balls.

To LOVE life and not just live it.

Depression tablets don't make you "happy" all of the time.

Trust me. I take Depression tablets. I am NOT happy all of the time. I still get sad, I still get hurt, I still get angry and frustrated and emotional.

I am definitely NOT in la la land. I can stand up for myself. I can be assertive. I can be in control of my emotions (most of the time unless I'm incredibly tired or peeved off!).

I am not in a dazed medicated world, that's for sure.

Depression medication makes me NO sillier then I usually am! With one of my favorite colleagues, Leanne.

If you had a really bad cold then you'd take antibiotics.

If you had life threatening cancer then you'd undergo chemotherapy.

If you suffered from a horrible headache then you'd take Panadol.

If you were suffering from Depression, would you take Depression tablets?

Depression tablets could save your life, or the life of someone that you care about one day.

Who cares if it takes medication to make someone you care about happy? I sure don't. I just want them to be okay. To be healthy. To be in control of their thoughts, emotions and feelings. 

I just want them to be and feel like themselves.

Have you ever suffered from Depression? Have you taken Depression tablets? How did they make you feel? Are you against Depression medication? If so, on what grounds?

Look after your mental well being and the well being of those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

 Beyond Blue: treatments for Depression


Audrey said...

What a great, courageous blog Kirsty. Fantastic. I have had periods in my life during which I have suffered depression. I never took tablets because my depression was specific to the temporary circumstances I was in but if it had continued or I wasn't able to function day to day I would have definitely taken tablets. In my professional life I have often encouraged people to consider medication where there has been a physiological aspect to the depression and/or where a person's well being or daily functioning has been at risk.

A question.....do suicidal thoughts subside once the medication kicks in? I can imagine some readers may be worried by that as a side effect of medication.

Kirsty Arnold said...

Thanks for opening up about your experience with Depression. It happens to more people then we think!

From my experiences, and from what I've heard from medical practitioners etc, there is only the slightest risk that a side effect of SOME Depression medication is the increased thought of suicide.

AKA - they are just covering their bums that it COULD be a side effect. It's NOT a common one AT ALL!

I guess it's just like any other medication like the pill, where they say it could result in an allergic reaction etc and that you must contact a health professional if you experience these symptoms ASAP.

I will do some further research on it :)

Kirsty Arnold said...

IF, and only if you happen to be in the smallest minority of people that do experience suicidal thoughts AFTER taking the medication, then you must let your doctor know immediately. It would mean that the medication ISN'T the right one for you.

There's no need to be ashamed that you are having those thoughts. It's all apart of the illness (scarily enough).

Audrey said...

That's good information Kirsty...and reassuring!

Unknown said...

After hearing this radio show and learning about this book (my local library has it but I have not read it) I’ve looked at antidepressants in a different light.