If you’ve never taken an antidepressant before, the thought of starting one may sound daunting, if not impossible. There are so many side effects to consider. It can be scary to take a foreign, prescribed substance. You may get dry mouth, fatigue, or nausea. You may become irritable or hyper. Antidepressants, like all medicine, can be expensive. There are so many “ifs” when considering antidepressants.
However, just like your body needs medicine when it is sick, your brain can benefit from medication if it’s not feeling the best. Are you having trouble getting out of bed in the morning? Do you sometimes feel listless, unmotivated, or even hopeless? While ultimately, the decision to take medication rests between you and your doctor, below are some factors you may want to consider if you’re thinking about reaching out for medical help.
You may want to consider medication if you can’t get out of bed in the morning. The inability to get out of bed and start the day is a common symptom of depression. It may feel like the whole world is outside your bedroom, and you want no part of it. You may feel unmotivated, and the comfort of your pillow calls you; this may be especially true during the wintertime, or when there is less daylight. The gloomy skies and the frigid weather may make you feel like staying inside all day. However, the same could be said for areas with too much light if you have blackout curtains and a sleep mask. There are so many opportunities you miss out on by staying in bed. It can be challenging to find a job if you don’t go out for an interview. You can’t take care of a pet or maintain a healthy lifestyle if you’re stuck beneath the sheets. Antidepressants can serve as motivators by communicating to your brain to get out of bed. Sometimes we all need a little boost.
Sometimes we are blind to our own struggles, weaknesses, or problems. It is helpful to have a trusted friend or family member speak into your experience in these moments. Your close friends and family members may notice a change in your mood or behavior. While we can’t rely on the opinions of others to dictate our lives, those close to us can serve as good “sounding boards” and “voices of reason” when we need them most. If they don’t bring up the topic first, you can try asking this person one of the following questions: “Have you noticed a change in my mood or disposition lately?” “Do I seem like myself?” “Have I displayed any unusual behavior in the past six months?” Before asking these questions to someone, make sure that this person is safe, objective, trustworthy, and who knows the real “you.” This person can be a parent, a roommate, a friend, a teacher, a counselor, or a close relative.
Individuals who struggle with depression or any other mental health disorder frequently report feeling like their life feels “unmanageable.” Do you have a hard time keeping a schedule? Do you often find yourself canceling plans with friends so you can be alone? Are you avoiding close family members? Are you turning to harmful behaviors or mind-altering substances to make you feel better, or to the other extent, numb your feelings altogether? If so, it may be time to seek professional help. There are many options and places to seek help, including convenient mental health hotlines. They can point you in the right direction, and that direction may include prescription medication.
You’ve tried therapy. You’ve tried meditation. You’ve tried crystals. You’ve tried calling a friend or going for a walk or drinking a big glass of water. You’ve tried acupuncture. You’ve tried playing with your pet. You’ve tried all the things, and none of them work. If this is your experience, it may be time to consider outside help. If your other options are no longer helping you feel better, scheduling an appointment with your primary care provider or a psychiatrist may be the best option. If you have hesitations, remember that these people are trained professionals who work with people with similar stories as yours. Your experience is not new, and it’s not surprising. As a patient, you can trust your doctor to have your best interests at heart.
An ancient Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Medication may be the first step you need to take to take control of your mental health and wellbeing. It can be nerve-wracking to find a professional who can prescribe you an antidepressant or other needed treatment. However, if any of the above scenarios resonate with you, it may be time to take that next step. This is your life. Taking ownership over your feelings is a true sign of self-care, self-respect, and maturity.
If you are looking for other resources, The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a helpline that you can go to for help. The NAMI Helpline is available Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m., ET. You can reach them at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or [email protected].
Most importantly, if you are feeling suicidal or having thoughts of harming yourself or others, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are available 24/7 and can provide immediate assistance without waiting to go to the doctor or see a psychiatrist. Call their number at 800-273-8255.
Accepting you need help for your mental health can be daunting, and accepting that you need medication can be even more challenging. However, medication can prove a valuable tool for many people who are struggling with a mental health diagnosis. If you can’t get out of bed, others notice a change in you, your life feels unmanageable, or your other options are no longer working, it may be time to seek professional help. SokyaHealth is a unique, multidisciplinary, private psychiatric and mental health practice. If you’re in the Alaska, California, or Oregon regions, SokyaHealth offers a host of medical services, including psychiatric consultation, medication management, and telemedicine. Our team of mental health experts prides itself on holistic and well-informed care while our patients take comfort in the compassionate approach with which they’re treated. Call 866-932-1767 today for a consultation and to learn more about our services.