THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE TAKING MEDICATION FOR MY MENTAL HEALTH

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After years of counselling and therapies, in January 2016 I started taking fluoxetine after previously trying Amitriptyline. Going on medication to help manage my anxiety, OCD and depression was for me a ‘last resort’, however, it has turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done. If you’re in a position where you’re not sure, maybe this post may help. Here’s a few things I wish I had known before going on medication and a few tips i’ve picked up along the way.

1 – The first set of tablets may make you worse. This is something you have to prepare yourself for. While sometimes, your first prescription will match with you well, other times, it can have the opposite effect. For me, this was my experience with Amitriptyline. It made constantly upset, have suicidal thoughts and a really negative outlook. However, this drug has worked wonders for other people; it’s about finding what works best for you.

2 – You have to want the drugs to work. This is something my mum told me, and it’s a really good point. If you are adamant that the drugs aren’t going to work, then they’re aren’t. You have to almost put your mind in the hands of the drug and let it do it’s thing.

3 – It really takes time to adapt properly to the drugs. I currently take fluoxetine (better known as prozac) and it took a couple weeks for it to really get going. I suppose some drugs work faster than others.

4 – Taking medication does not mean you have failed. This is what I used to think. I thought that I haven’t battled it through counselling so I’m having to take medication. However, my doctor told me that it is not a failure at all, and he gave me the example that a diabetic wouldn’t stop taking insulin because they felt like a failure – it’s a similar mindset.

5 – Taking medication also does not mean you’re crazy/mad. You’d be surprised how many people need it.

6 – It doesn’t mean that every day is going to be sunshine and rainbows. You will still have your bad days, but they’ll just feel that little bit easier to manage.

7 – It’s really important to see your doctor and/or therapist regularly when starting on medication as they will be able to advise you in the best possible way.

8 – Finally, it’s a big step! Go you for getting the help and taking a major step into looking after yourself.

I hope these little points are somewhat insightful – if you feel like your mental health isn’t in the shape it should be, speak to a friend, family member or doctor. A problem shared is a problem halved.

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