Eva Recinos wrote a wonderful piece for Hello Giggles about what it’s like to first starting medication for depression. Lots of great insights here.
She writes, “When I started taking Lexapro, I felt really scared. I had no idea what to expect and I felt overwhelmed. I was about to start taking something daily that could possible change things for the better. But I also wondered if it would just make things worse. Everyone will have an opinion about medication — and they might try to offer alternatives. I really only shared my decision to start medication with my family and friends who I trust or feel comfortable with. But there were a range of reactions, with some people expressing their concern over me starting the medication. Was I sure that I needed it? What if I got addicted to it? Had I tried yoga? Meditation? When it comes down to it, I decided to trust my doctor and my own instincts. Only you really know how you feel so it should be your decision to take the medication or not.”
She writes about the need for peer support. “This seems really obvious to me now but at the time I felt like I was the ONLY ONE out of my friend group and larger network taking medication. I’d forgotten about stories I heard from other people. Also, I never really asked for details (like what kind of medication they took). When I started telling friends and close ones, they either told me they’d taken Lexapro previously or knew someone that did. This was huge: it normalized what I was afraid would make me a total outcast. I started reading more about other people’s experiences and I felt calmer and less self-aware.”
It took her a while to manage her own anxieties about medication. “At first, I was so scared about what people would think. Now, I realize that this journey is mine alone. While I am open to talking to close ones about my progress, I want the decision of whether to stay on the medication or not to come from my discussions with my doctor. The most important part of this all has been listening to my own feelings and paying attention to my physical symptoms as well. Those are things only I can really read.”
The key, for her, is sticking with the medication, even when she started to feel better.
“A few months after Lexapro, I got overly confident. I was really good about taking it every morning but once I started to feel better (because of a combination of life events, the medication, therapy, etc.), I started to forget to take it. I thought this was fine until I skipped it for almost a week straight and experienced a huge dip in my mood. For me, taking it every day is necessary — and it’s what I was recommended to do, after all. I make sure to remind myself that keeping up with my medication and counseling is necessary and will help me in the long run — even when I’m feeling totally fine in the moment.”