The monotonous idea of waking up everyday, grabbing a cup of water and gulping down prescribed medication seemed dystopian to me as a child.
I grew up believing that the ritualistic intake of pills was only meant for crazy people–as portrayed in the movies I devoured. I was severely misguided by pop-culture and fiction.
The younger me would have revolted against his adult outcome but the impending motion of time played its role.
As I grew older, the thin veil hindering my perception of reality slowly evaporated. Self-growth, experiences and education helped me understand that people are not as rigid as we idealize them to be.
We are complex individuals and for me and many other Americans, taking pills every morning is just another part of our daily routine.
In 2018, Sertraline or commonly known as Zoloft, was the 14th most prescribed drug in the United States.
Zoloft falls under the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors category of antidepressants. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates both mood and emotion. After these neural-messages are sent, serotonin gets reabsorbed by a process called reuptake.
SSRIs work by restraining this process and allows a person to keep higher levels of serotonin. Having more serotonin makes the transmission of neural-messages easier.
Zoloft helped me stay in control. My mood was like a see-saw that could be effortlessly tipped up or down – usually, it went down.
The slightest things bothered me. I was easily affected by the social actions of others and myself. I overthought everything and was constantly lost in my abundance of thoughts.
Having an overactive brain is tiring. This constant state of thinking would leave me with little to no energy. Small tasks seemed hard and bigger tasks seemed impossible.
When I got overwhelmed I usually shut down, which a therapist told me was called being avoidant. There were times when I would stay in bed for hours going through the same thoughts over and over again.
My only comfort was sleep.
Now that I am in control I am more equipped to handle these ruminations. My first win while being on Zoloft was when I realized I was able to step away from a situation that would have usually made me spiral.
But I’m not claiming that antidepressants are the end all be all solution. Managing your mental health is not a one size fits all ordeal.
I was hesitant to start taking medication and I know I wasn’t the only one to feel that way.
In 2019, the pharmaceutical industry ranked the lowest in a poll surveying U.S. Americans’ trust among 25 industries.
Like other drugs, SSRIs come with side effects that include sexual performance, fatigue, gaining weight, dry mouth and nausea.
Fortunately, I only felt slight fatigue my first month or so on antidepressants. However, the weariness and possibility of other side effects did not discourage me.
I was determined to get better and I can confidently say that Zoloft drastically improved my wellness of life.
My mood is no longer a see-saw, or in constant shift. I never thought that the feeling of balance would be so gratifying.
I used to think I was at the bottom, below the surface and constantly clawing through dirt.
Now my feet are on the pavement, with the rest of you and I’m ready to carry on.