My Decision to Take an Antidepressant/Anti-Anxiety Medication

I had so many questions.
  1. After a series of low points, and a particularly concerning period of time when I had never felt more hopeless, I decided medication was something I wanted to look into.
  2. I believe in therapy. I believe it is the most selfish and life-saving act of courage I commit on a weekly (and 2x/weekly) basis.
  3. I worried that medication somehow meant I was putting less faith in the work I do in therapy.
  4. I worried about side effects, about remembering to take it every day, about the cost, about the timeline of adjusting to medication, about the process of eventually getting of off medication, and about addiction.
  5. But I worried more about what would happen if I didn't try.
  6. Warning: I have decided not to name any of the medications I take/have taken, because these things work differently for everybody. So much of prescribing these things is guesswork, and relying on family histories. I just don't want anyone to think oh well if X drug had those side effects and Y worked great, X is bad and Y is good!
    Literally no. All of our bodies respond differently to medications, which is why there are dozens and dozens of them.
  7. The first medication I took had no positive effect, gave me insomnia, and I was terrible about remembering to take it.
  8. My psychiatrist decided to just add a sleeping medication to combat the insomnia. This pill knocked me out completely. For a couple months, I would have to make a nightly decision of whether or not I wanted to sleep or to be drugged for most of the next day.
  9. I got a new psychiatrist.
  10. He is so great. He asked for a family history, which my other doctor had not, and asked for me to get in touch with some family members to find out what medications had worked for them.
  11. He also touched base with my therapist, who referred me to him. The two of them occasionally connect to make sure that everyone on my clinical care team is on the same page, since like most clients/patients, my therapy and medication are not from the same person.
  12. 2 of my aunts had luck with a dopamine antidepressant, and I started on a low dose. With no side effects, we eventually nudged up to the average adult dose, tweaked it back a little when I experienced loss of appetite, and settled on the dose I'm on now, which is two thirds of the average dose.
  13. After a couple months, we added in another medication, a seratonin one this time. I had seen a positive change from the first one, but still felt like there was room for improvement. I was on the second for a month with no change. We dropped it.
  14. We tried another seratonin med that works differently from the other one. Only just got on that, jury's still out.
  15. All of this is to say that if you want to try seeing a psychiatrist and getting on medication, it is not a quick fix.
  16. You will need to be in tune with your body so you can judge the effect of the medication, and be able to distinguish side effects from PMS, for example. (#me)
    My first psychiatrist decided that I "looked better!" from when I had seen her last, despite my hesitance about whether or not it worked. If it's not working, you didn't do anything wrong and neither did they, but they need to know, so they can decide if it's a dosage issue or needing to try something else.
  17. You will need to be patient.
  18. You will need to be your own advocate. Ask questions about medications. Your doctor should tell you these things, but if not, ask about the side effects. Ask how quickly it usually works, when you should notice a change. Ask what the average adult dose is. Ask why they chose this medication. Ask all your questions.
  19. Also you can ask me if you want know more about this stuff, k bye!