Trigger Warning: This article talks about depression and suicide.
Disclaimer: I am not dismissing either process explained in this article. I am only sharing my experience and what worked for me.
Ever since I was around 8 or 9 years old, I have been battling my depression. I experienced the whole shebang! I had no appetite, severe panic attacks, horrendous suicidal thoughts, I felt empty yet indescribably despondent. It got to the point where it felt impossible to get out of bed in the morning. I couldn’t get through a full 5 days of school and called my parents to pick me up multiple times a week. At that point, I obviously couldn’t really hide it from them. I was exhausted and couldn’t go on that way anymore. One morning, I had my dad pick me up from school. He drove as I sobbed in the passenger seat for what felt like an eternity. I then asked him if they could afford a therapist for me, and to my surprise, they could.
A few days after that, I went to see a psychologist. She had me do several tests including a series of drawings and a questionnaire. After 2 or 3 sessions, she told me I had depression and anxiety. Right off the bat, my parents were already sceptical. They kept saying how quick it was and expressing their distrust for my psychologist. I wasn’t sure if they were just insecure about picking the right therapist for me or if they had trouble accepting the diagnosis, which I understood; I, myself, am still having issues with accepting it.
With this information, my psychologist suggested immediately starting me on antidepressants. My father, the most stubborn and ignorant anti vaxxer there is, was furious. He also had depression and hated being on his meds. He believes that doctors are trained to give medication as a solution to everything and not give what could be more beneficial holistic options. My mom was reluctant, but never argued with either side. I’m assuming it was to prohibit any added stress on me. We went to see a psychiatrist so she could prescribe an antidepressant and dosage. She decided to go with Zoloft, which is what my father used. From that first appointment, she already started talking about how we would start with 25 mg, then 50 mg, then 100 mg, and so on. She was also saying how most of her adolescent patients do best at 200-250 mg. I assume you can imagine my parents’ reaction. I’m surprised they didn’t burn the hospital down (exaggeration!!)! Their problem with this was that before she even talked to me about anything like how I felt or how bad my condition was, the psychiatrist was already talking about going up to 200+ mg. My father constantly reminded me how he felt like a zombie on just 25 mg, nonetheless 200. I understand that he just wants the best for me, as most parents do. However, his comments and reminders did nothing but give me extra anxiety and irritate me. I was having trouble accepting being on meds, too. I guess it made me feel as though there was something wrong with me or maybe it solidified the idea that I need help, or I possibly even felt immense relief that I was finally getting help. I honestly don’t know what I was feeling.
When I was on 25 mg, I felt no difference after a few weeks. I couldn’t talk to my parents about it since they would start arguing with me about how I should be going the holistic route and the doctors are just trying to drug me, etc. I talked to my psychologist about it, and she increased the dosage to 50 mg. From there, I was feeling a little better, but was still in a horrible mental state. I gave it a few more weeks, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I talked to my psychiatrist (not my psychologist) and she wanted to jump to 100 mg. I could’ve sworn my dad had a stroke. Once we picked up the prescription, we realized the psychiatrist made a mistake and gave us 50 mg again. I was devastated but I could tell my mom was kind of relieved. From this point on, we kept information on the dosages from my father, thinking he would start an argument with my doctors and cause more problems for me. We told my psychiatrist and she said to just take 2 pills for a total 100 mg. My psychologist said to instead cut some of the pills in half and to take 1.5 pills for a total of 75 mg. Up until about a week ago, I continued this dosage. I was still having suicidal thoughts occasionally (2-3 times a month), and my anxiety never lessened throughout this process. We increased the dosage to 100 mg, which is what I’m on right now. This is probably the best I’ve felt in years. I’m still coping with everything; in fact, I cried while writing this article.
If your situation was anything similar to mine, just remember that both sides just want the best for you. You must do what you think is best for you. If you want to go the holistic route, just know – according to my parents – it takes longer than medication; like months longer, but my father swears by it. All I can say is that western medicine is what worked for me. Curing depression is a very slow process with a lot of experimentation to find what works best for you. You should work yourself towards telling your doctors everything! No matter how hard it is to talk about, try not to leave any details out; it makes it easier for them to help. I recommend reading “Finding a Therapist Who Can Help You Heal” by HelpGuide for more information on how doing this helps in the long run. This is coming from a person who didn’t speak about her depression for 6-7 years. I bottled everything up until I reached my worst state. Happiness, as grammatically incorrect as this sentence is, is so much better!
If you are struggling with depression, please just speak to anyone whether it be a friend, sibling, trusted adult, or doctor. One thing my parents used to say to me is that the one good thing about rock bottom is that the only way to go from there is up. It really is worth it!
Depression and suicide helplines:
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.