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Wellness > Mental Health

Three Months on Antidepressants

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

Disclaimer: In no way am I a doctor or a medical professional! Everyone’s journey with any medication is extremely personal and should be consulted with your primary care physician.The following is just a listing of things I have learned and encountered during my time so far on antidepressants. 

  1. Support systems are everything 

When I first started my medication, I was at home with my parents and brother in July. This was definitely the best case scenario for me. All three of them are so supportive, and I am lucky to live in a house where we frequently have open conversations about mental health- judgment free. Besides emotional support, they were there physically. They made sure I was getting my rest, wearing my sunscreen, and helped ail my physical side effects. When I increased my dosage, I had just moved back into school. At times, health can be a bit of a taboo topic on college campuses. Despite this, my three roommates, and all my other friends, were wonderful during my change in medication. I experienced mood swings, stomach problems, changes in appetite and more. It was imperative that I had an emotional outlet to talk about these temporary adjustments. This transition has deepened my gratitude for those around me. 

  1. Trial and error is a normal part of the process 

In my experience, the starting medicine brand and dosage may not always the end-all-be-all. To be candid, I started on 50mg of sertraline (another name for Zoloft) and I did not notice too much of a difference. On the contrary, when I started on 75mg, my life changed. Your experience may be totally different, and that is the fluidity that comes with medication. When I started my first dose, I was worried that was it and there was no other solution. Luckily, I was wrong! It’s totally normal to change medications and dosages to find what really works for you. It does not mean there is something wrong with you, or that there is not something out there for you. 

  1. Do your research and corroborate with your doctor 

Before I started taking my medicine, I had never really thought about side effects of antidepressants. I guess I assumed it was like vitamins and eventually your serotonin would increase. (note: this is the author’s reminder to the population that we really need increase mental health education!) For Zoloft, I encountered a lot of little nuances such as increased sunburns, and a switch from Advil to Tylenol. These are unique nuances of Zoloft that were important to discuss with my doctor and make sure I was aware of. It was also helpful to research other user experiences. Using reputable sources and first-hand knowledge, I was able to see a glimpse of what I was getting myself into. While everyone’s journey is different, there are some common themes that I was happy to know about earlier in my taking of the medicine. 

  1. You get to decide your level of openness 

Personally, I love to talk about my sertraline. I am happy to be an advocate for mental health and do my small part at breaking the stigma. The wonderful part of being an autonomous adult was being able to make this decision. If you are on medication, you get to choose how open you want to be about this. If you want no one to know, never feel like you have to explain yourself. If you want to shout it from the rooftops, be my guest! Do what feels best for you. 

  1. Your mind is an organ 

While I already knew that my treatment was valid, this trail on medication really tested that assumption for me. Since my dosage is not very high and I am fairly ‘high functioning’ most of the time, I started to feel like my spouts of depression were not as ‘real’. My mom gave me this analogy: you go to the doctor and one person has a sprained ankle and one has to have their leg amputated. Both are real problems and both get treated! You deserve to get the treatment that works best for you. It took my a long time to really let this sink in and still something I am toying with. 

Claire Fisher is the co-campus correspondent for the St. Bonaventure Her Campus chapter. She is responsible for the general managing of chapter and executive board logistics with her roommate and co-president, Leah! Claire even implemented a once-a-year print issue of HC at SBU. Claire is currently a senior studying Communication, Social Justice & Advocacy with focuses on theology and political science. Aside from Her Campus, Claire currently serves as co-president of Jandoli Women in Communication, passionate about representation in the media field, and works in the University Ministries building. Lastly, she is a content creator and the communications officer for St. Bonaventure College Democrats. In her time away from academics, Claire loves to walk on local trails or lay in the sun, especially while listening to playlist she made herself. Her love language is music; she even works as a DJ at a local bar! A fun fact you may not know about Claire is that her favorite game show is Press Your Luck.