What To Do When You’re Prescribed Antidepressants As A Young Adult

By Corinne Keating 12/22/16

Living with mental illness is never easy but there are a few ways to make fighting the battle a little less difficult.

Corinne Keating
via author

It’s unfortunate that today’s society has such a stigma when it comes to mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health, yet many don’t talk about being on antidepressants or that they have a mental disorder. But it’s not something to be ashamed of. 

It’s More Common Than You Think

It might feel very lonely when you’re diagnosed with depression. But know that you’re not alone. Antidepressants are the number one type of medication used by people ages 18 to 44. There are many people struggling with depression — and it’s better that you’re getting help instead of letting it go.

When left untreated, depression impacts every aspect of your well-being. It takes a toll on you physically as well as mentally. It messes with your sleep patterns, destroys your relationships and increases the chance that you’ll develop a problem with drugs or alcohol. Overall, it’s much better to be prescribed this medicine than to pretend you aren’t depressed.

The Stigma Struggle

Going to the doctor and talking about feelings of depression is the first, and most important step. Just getting there can be difficult because of the negativity that surrounds mental illness.

Some think that being diagnosed with clinical depression makes you seem weak or unstable, when really it just means that you’ve been feeling sad or low, and possibly having other symptoms that make "normal" life difficult. Especially when you’re young, there’s this misconception that everything in your life should be perfect because you haven’t hit the hard spots yet, and these are supposed to be “the best years of your life.” Right? Well, not in all cases. 

There’s nothing wrong with being depressed or having anxiety. Especially when you’re young, life can get confusing very quickly and chances are, you may not have all of the life experiences or resources needed to cope. The first part in breaking the stigma struggle is acknowledging that depression doesn’t discriminate. It can affect any age, gender, or race. And we all have a unique experience with the disease. 

One of the most common problems people have with understanding mental illness is that they feel you have to look sick to be sick. They might think you’re faking just because you can look fine on the outside. But they can’t see inside your head and feel what you’re feeling.

There are a lot of myths surrounding antidepressants as well. People think that medication can’t help a mental illness, or that someone doesn’t “need” a drug for depression. However, depression is a very physical illness that weighs you down, and medicine helps relieve those symptoms. 

The stigma surrounding mental illness makes people struggle to identify the symptoms. They don’t think that what they’re feeling is treatable and that it can’t be helped. They might also believe that they have to figure out a way to fix it themselves, and that’s not true. These issues won’t just go away by themselves.

Finding a group that shares your struggles will be helpful in beating the stigma. Exposing yourself to people that are open and honest about their depression will help you overcome the problem of feeling alone in your condition. It’s helpful to see how common depression really is. It’s not something people should feel they have to hide. A lot of people are going through it.

Other Ways To Help

You don’t just have to solely rely on medication to get you through this. Something as simple as working out or catching some rays outside does a lot to improve your mood. The trick is to find a balance of activities that work for you to go along with your medication. What works for someone else might not always work for you, and that’s to be expected. We’re all unique.

Different types of meditation are also beneficial when combating depression. Concentrating on various breathing techniques can help with your emotions and get you to a calmer place. The goal isn’t to get deep into your thoughts and analyze them, but to simply let them flow through you. In order for meditation to be effective, it’s best to make it a regular practice that you schedule time for, just like exercise.

Therapy has proven to be extremely helpful with depression as well. There are many different types of therapy, and some work better for depression than others. Studies have shown that cognitive behavioral therapy can be extremely helpful and, in some cases, as impactful as antidepressants. Again, it’s all about finding the right balance for you. A combination of medicine, therapy and supplementary methods could lead to the perfect solution.

Don’t Let It Control You

The most important part is to not let your illness be the only thing that defines you. It’s definitely going to impact your life, but you have to do your best to continue to live your best life. It’s hard, but it’s up to you to find the best way to treat your depression, so that it doesn’t run your life. Another important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone in the battle. Recently, many individuals battling depression have turned to social media to help break down the stigmas surrounding mental illness. The communities found through this outreach have been overwhelming, providing feedback and support for those individuals who are feeling isolated and alone. The blogosphere is also full of content made to help those struggling, ranging from personal anecdotes to tips and tricks to get through the battle and come out on top. 

Try different techniques and practices until you find a combination that really works for you. Seek out support groups for people with depression so that you have people to talk with that understand what you’re going through. Forget the stigma and accept that this is an illness. It’s not something that you could have prevented. 

Keep fighting and doing everything you can. It’s going to get better!

Cori Keating writes on physical and mental health. When she isn’t doing freelance work or writing for her blog (Why So Well) she enjoys running, coffee, and traveling.

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Corinne Keating writes on physical and mental health. When she isn’t doing freelance work or writing for her blog, Why So Well she enjoys running, coffee, and traveling.