Today, I am anti-antidepressants, but I wasn’t always. I wasn’t anti-antidepressants before I took antidepressants, and I wasn’t anti-antidepressants while I was taking them. To the contrary, I don’t think I could have been any more pro-antidepressants back then.
For years, I dreamed of taking prescription drugs like Paxil because I heard it was successful at treating social anxiety disorder. But I was too shy to ask my doctor, or anyone else, about getting a prescription. When I finally got the courage to tell my doctor I had social anxiety, and he handed me my prescription for Zoloft, I was ecstatic. My dreams had come true. My social anxiety would finally be cured.
A lot of people have a social stigma about taking antidepressants and other psychiatric medication, but not me. I didn’t care if people knew I was on meds. So many millions of people around the world take antidepressants these days, it almost seemed more normal to take them than not. It may sound odd, but I actually thought it would be kind of cool to take antidepressants. To be viewed as the kid who was kind of messed up— but in a mysterious way.
I’d read tons of anecdotal success stories about people using antidepressants for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, so I fully believed they would work for me as well. I started on Zoloft, and after a year of taking the pills while trying to be patient, I realized that Zoloft wasn’t the instant cure for my social anxiety that I hoped it would be. But that was just Zoloft, right? There are plenty of other antidepressants in the sea.
My doctor then switched me to Effexor, and even after the Zoloft didn’t work, I fully expected that this new antidepressant would.
But it didn’t.
I haven’t tried Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Cymbalta, or any of the dozens of other antidepressants on the market, but I suspect none of them will “cure” my social anxiety either.
After taking antidepressants and learning more about them and how they work, I am now completely anti-antidepressants. Not just because antidepressants are overprescribed these days. Not just because of the billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies profiting off of antidepressants. Not just because there’s a commercial for an antidepressant every ten minutes on television. Not just because antidepressants have negative side effects. And not just because there are natural alternatives to antidepressants.
I’ve only come to learn all of those things after taking antidepressants. I have no biases or hidden agendas. The primary reason I’m anti-antidepressants is quite simple. I took antidepressants, and they didn’t work.