**Editor’s Note: Medications prescribed for mental health can have very different results. This article is in no way meant to be a medical diagnosis or answer, it is simply the opinion of one individual. Her View From Home has published numerous articles praising medications. If you would like to read one, please click here.**
Today I decided would be the day I would throw away my antidepressants. I was running on the treadmill while watching an episode of Teen Mom where Caitlynn confessed she did not want to live a life confined to her medicines. I’ve been off my antidepressant for a little over a year, after having weaned myself from several months of the medication. And just like that, I marched upstairs and threw away the remainder of my pills I’d stowed away in the back of my medicine bin.
In February 2015, I began taking antidepressants to relieve the extreme conditions I was experiencing while taking birth control. Birth control medications are not for me. After only a few weeks on the pill, my body and mind went from one extreme to the other. No longer was the cheerful Erin present. But the fearful, not wanting to leave the house, crying at work every day Erin made her appearance. After researching hormones and the effects of birth control, I’d determined the pill was the actual cause of my dramatic mood swings and inability to function period. The medication was pulling my hormones all over the place – crying, anger, fearful, anxiousness. I was a wreck, people. And so the relationship with birth control ended quicker than a Bachelor in Paradise couple.
I decided to approach the subject of antidepressants after speaking to many friends who had also experienced problems with hormones. They too had decided to take an antidepressant that would level them out mentally, as the hormones from either birth control or postpartum worked out of their system. Let me be clear – I never approached antidepressants as the answer to my situation. I never wanted it to solve the heart issues that surfaced and were more extreme during this time. The antidepressants were strictly to regulate my brain, so that for once I could go to work and potentially not cry throughout the day.
I was so hesitant to take the first pill, but I knew my body was not normal at this time. I found it hard to stay at my desk and work because the tears wouldn’t stop coming. I’d escape to prayer room to catch a moment and breathe. Allison at work would cover for me more than I should have ever been allowed. I’d cry to Jeremy and my sweet mom when I got off work. I didn’t want anyone to know I was struggling. And so, I began my six month period of taking antidepressants.
I share this to inform those who are in a situation where it just seems like there is no end, that antidepressants can and do often help. For me, they were never meant to be a permanent solution. Because my mental state (No, I wasn’t crazy people!) was always on edge, I didn’t get much sleep (which is when serotonin builds back up in the body). I need the SSRI to keep the serotonin in me, so that I could move forward and past the bout I’d had with birth control. There is such a stigma in the Christian world with antidepressants, because people do often turn to them so quickly; however, they can be beneficial in small doses as I’ve mentioned above. When we are sick, we take medicine. When my head is pounding, there is Ibuprofen. I needed leveling. Beyond that, I went to Christian counselors, my small group leaders, and most importantly Jeremy to work out those heart issues all along the way. For anxiousness, fear and depression they can very well be heart issues that need to be worked through rather than breezing past.
After four months I decided the time was nigh, and I need to begin weaning myself off the meds. I did this strategically and over the course of a little over two months. It should not be taken lightly. I write today to inform those who are in the battle of the mind that you aren’t alone. Hormones can change a lot of our mind. For me, antidepressants are not the answer, but they can help calm those storms to think clearly.
Jesus is the ultimate answer. He is good. He is faithful. He will calm the greater storm.
Today I threw away my antidepressants, and there is relief.