6 Things I Assumed About Taking Antidepressants

1. They would change who I was and steal from me the best bits of my personality.

I have always seen myself as a funny, bubbly person but when funny and bubbly became interspersed with irratic and tearful I needed to admit I needed help. One of the main reasons I fought against taking the tablets for such a long time is I thought they would take away my moments of elation along with the sadness and I wasn’t sure it was a sacrifice worth making. It turned out my fears were unfounded and instead they allowed me to enjoy all the good bits of my personality without the anticipation of the low that would surely strike at any given moment.

2. Taking Antidepressants Meant Admitting I Had Failed At Life.

Why wasn’t I strong enough to cope with life on my own when everyone around me was doing so well? Depression isolates you and clouds your judgement. Since I’ve been taking them and found my way back to wellness I have realised that other people are struggling just as much as I was and a surprising number of my friends have also taken tablets at some stage in their life to help them cope with their own emotions.

3. I Was A Weak Person.

I thought the the fact I was having such a hard time mentally and that I needed this crutch to help me cope must mean I was weak. In hindsight, thinking through a clear mind, I acknowledge the tremendous amount of strength it took to get help and admit I needed support and medication.

4. Other People Would Judge Me.

I assumed others would disapprove of me if they knew I had resorted to taking tablets. It turned out this could not have been further from the truth. The majority of people were incredibly supportive, many had been through it themselves, others were still going through it. People commended me for being brave enough to take that step and to also have to courage to talk about it. In truth, I was telling people because I felt dishonest if I didn’t, like an athlete taking performance enhancing drugs. But actually it helped to talk about it, it was cathartic and took away from the stigma I had attached to the situation.

5. The Side Effects Would Be Horrendous.

In truth the side effects were minimal and far more desirable than the side effects caused by my anxiety and depression. Anxiety was making me ill. I’d convinced myself I was dying of all manner of terminal illnesses because the very real symptoms caused by stress mimicked so many other things. The tablets on the other hand, gave me strange dreams for a month or so and made me feel tired for a while until I had the sense to take them at night…and that was it.

6. They Would Define Me And Who I Was.

I thought that being on tablets would become part of my identity and would change the way other people saw me. In reality all it did was calm my nerves and allow me to get back to enjoying my life and living it to the fullest and being my best self. So while the Antidepressants haven’t defined me at all, they have allowed me to define myself in whatever way I wanted and given me back my confidence, my smile and my life.

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A Thought For Sunday

From now on I intend to live my life by my own standards in accordance with my own conscience. I was not put on the earth to win other people’s approval. I was put here to make a difference, to be kind, to help others and to grow as a human being. I might not always make the right choices but I always try and when I make a mistake I admit it and take the lesson. From this point on I’m not going to worry about what people might think of me because that’s their business, that’s their journey and I’m not travelling in their direction.

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Silencing The Critic Within

If there’s one thing life has taught me. It’s that we are our own worst critic. Other people’s false opinions of us in our formative years help us form the opinions we hold of ourselves in the years to follow. It’s not particularly helpful. She’s shy, she’s not very confident, she’s a bit scatty. He’s not very clever, he’s socially awkward, his boisterous.

The thing is, we are not these things…we are whoever or whatever we want to be. We are pure potential and if only the voice that shouted the loudest when we were working out what we were to become was the voice that screamed “YOU CAN DO IT” we would be looking at a very different us right now.

But that is not to say that this you can’t emerge. We are always growing, always changing and there is no limit to what we can do with the right mindset. What if we went back and turned every “You can’t” into an “I can”, every cruel word into a kind one? Or observe these cruelties as a third party and intervene on our own behalf?

If we could love ourselves with the compassion of a parent, or a friend and encourage ourselves to progress with a supportive smile and the belief that we can achieve anything we set our mind and heart , there would be no boundaries to what we could become.

So the next time somebody says something unkind, something unsupportive or derogatory, please, don’t believe them. Instead, be your own cheerleader and remind yourself that actually, you are quite brilliant and capable of great things.

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Stop With The Shouty RageĀ 

Why is the world so angry? Imagine if we could all just let go of that anger and focus on how we could make the world a happier, kinder place. How much nicer would the world be for all of us if we could just stop being expressions of our own rage?

Maybe all it takes is the decision to change our thinking and the patience to make it a habit. I have spent a large portion of my life as an unwitting hostage to my own way of thinking. I saw the negatives in each situation, worried about things that could go wrong, felt resentful when things didn’t go well and chose to believe I had no choice but to accept these feelings and suffer them. I was wrong.

What if I told you, being offended was a choice? Or being upset, or angry or hurt? Admittedly, it’s a choice that we are often unconscious of but once we get our head around that fact, it becomes a lot easier to take yourself out of other peoples business and just get on with being happy. Not being offended, or upset, angry or hurt is also a choice. It’s not as easy as the first option but it is far more beneficial.

If someone is rude to you and says something hurtful or does something that is a horrible reflection on them. If you choose to believe them or be offended by what they say and do, then who suffers? Only you. Better to let them live their life in a way they see fit and focus on living your own.

It takes a lot of work, but it can be done. The trick I’ve found is to notice your thoughts and when a negative one creeps in, acknowledge it and then replace it with something more beneficial. Little by little you might notice a shift in how you’re thinking and feeling because your thoughts affect your feelings. If you can choose how you react to those thoughts the possibilities for happiness are endless and if we’re all feeling happier and being nicer, imagine what the world could become.

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