“maybe anti-depressant medication could help”

Trigger Warning: Suicide attempts

I was relieved when my GP put me on anti-depressants. I had been struggling with depression for months and finally felt like there I was a way out. Five years later, I’ve been on and off medication and I still struggle with my mental health, although I am much better at recognising the triggers and managing my mood without any pharmaceutical help.


In the first few years after being diagnosed with depression (not the start of my depression- that was as a child), I seemed to be on a merry go round of changes to my medication. Take pill A, take more of pill A, take pill B, take less of pill B, take more of pill B, take pills B and C, take pills B and C but not at the same time of day… and so on. Every time I saw a doctor they suggested a change, and every time I saw a different doctor they suggested a completely different treatment plan.


In some ways, the alphabet treatment makes sense; it can take trying several medications to find one that works for you. I had side effects from a few of them, heartburn and palpitations, and it’s a case of trying to find a medicine that helps without causing any other problems.


None of this did me much good though, I felt even more like recovering from depression was something outside of my control. I felt that the doctors didn’t have time to listen to me. I was also having talking therapy that didn’t seem to get me anywhere. I remember my GP saying that it had been two years now, I really should have made some progress. I became even more depressed and felt like nothing would make me feel better, ever.


I started to really have to fight suicidal thoughts on a daily basis. Being on medication was upsetting and triggering to me. Some days I would not take the tablets, some days I would take far too many. My (now ex-) partner started trying to “help” me manage my medication which made me feel less in control and more crazy.


After a suicide attempt, I hit rock bottom. I was fortunate to be able to take time out and spent six weeks in Spain. During this time, I went cold turkey off my medication. If I have one piece of advice to give it is don’t do this! I was really lucky that my mood didn’t get any worse as it could have been really dangerous for me.


Eventually, I started to feel better. What helped? A mixture of yoga, self-care, talking to people, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and leaving my ex. I still have difficulties with my mental health, but nowhere near as bad as I did a few years ago. It was hard, and maybe if I had found an anti-depressant that took the edge off my depression, my recovery would have been easier. Everyone is different; maybe anti-depressant medication could help.


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