A month ago I started taking anti-depressants. It wasn't a choice I made easily and despite really not wanting to take them and feeling like a failure to have got to the point of needing them I am now in a position where I feel ok.
Of course, I would rather not need them at all. But, I do. And that's that.
The first two weeks were fab in some ways and tough in others.
I had a really positive time, felt happy and for a moment did think maybe I didn't need the tablets after all. The toughness came in forms of hot flushes. Awful hot flushes, which are quite embarrassing when you are on the school run surrounded by mums who are chilly and wrapped up warm and you are stood there with no coat on sweating.
Yesterday I took my last tablet from the months pack and had an awful time as per other months trying to get an appointment with my doctor. I was expecting a phone call from him, phoned to check he would be ringing me in the morning as previously planned, and was spoken to in the most awful way by the receptionist and told I may have to wait until next week, despite saying I needed to speak to him THAT DAY to get a new prescription as I had completely run out and needed to talk about which dose I would be taking next.
I became so upset I had to hang up the phone so she didn't have the satisfaction of hearing me cry.
15 minutes later my doctor phoned and right now I am standing with 2 months worth of tablets in an increased dose.
Although the first 2 weeks were really good the second 2 weeks were tough and I went back to my "usual ways". Crying for no reason, and just feeling generally down.
With my increased dose we are hoping that within 2 weeks from now I should see an improvement and feel better.
I think I've changed a lot psychologically since taking the tablets. It's not that they have made me this way but more changing my thoughts. I take the tablets around lunch time, I am a nightmare at remembering to take tablets so have set an alarm on my phone, but I find I get reminders when it's time to take them.
Be it happy reminders, something making me smile and me thinking "ooo this is a happy moment" and then linking happiness to my tablets, or feeling a bit down and feeling like I need a pick up and linking that to my tablets.
I am recognising happy feelings a lot more. Things that make me feel good and make me feel nice. Things that make me smile. Things I don't want to forget.
For a while I did feel ashamed of myself for going on the tablets. I've tried so hard to not have to resort to them, to try and work things out myself, to understand my thoughts and reasoning but I realised I needed help. I needed someone or something to give me that support, to hold me up and help me along.
I've always said I'm not ashamed of having anxiety and depression. So why feel ashamed to need help?
I'm not responsible for suffering from anxiety and depression, but I am responsible when it comes to getting help and trying to make myself better.
I am responsible for my life and my quality of life.
I am responsible for my family and if me being on anti-depressants makes me happier in the long run and means life is better for all of us then it's silly to avoid taking them.
I am learning to accept that I'm not a failure for needing help.
I am learning to accept that although I didn't want to take tablets to feel happy or to feel good about myself, or to enjoy life, I need to take tablets to do that.
I am learning to accept that I have done all I can elsewhere, by changing certain things in my life, changing the people in my life and the people in it, by trying to do various forms of therapy, I have done all I can and just need that extra "thing" to guide me along.
I am learning to accept that this isn't going to be a short term thing. I'm not going to be off the tablets by the end of the year. I could be, but I may not be. I may be on them a year, two years or longer.
I am learning to accept that I am a bit fragile, and a bit broken, and that I can't just fix it all.
I am learning to accept that I am not weak. I am strong. I am strong because I asked for help, and I keep asking for help.
I am learning to accept that this is me. This is my life and taking anti-depressants is a big part of ME but isn't all I am. It doesn't define me.
I am not ashamed.