In my previous article, I talked about my struggles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. One thing we should all realize is that living with these problems is the hard part but seeking help makes it a lot easier.
A few of the “perks” (for lack of a better term) of going through the pandemic is better awareness about mental health, and easier access to doctors via online consultation. It’s easier to get better now; however, not a lot has been written about how medicine, specifically antidepressants, affect those with an active and sporty lifestyle. So I’m here to share my personal experiences with it.
There are many kinds of antidepressants but I took a specific kind called Lexapro (escitalopram), which is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). I was prescribed this medicine for a number of reasons
There are many kinds of antidepressants but I took a specific kind called Lexapro (escitalopram), which is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI). I was prescribed this medicine for a number of reasons; one, it was something I already took in my younger days and responded well to it. Two, it’s weight-neutral, which means it doesn’t cause any significant weight gain. And lastly, it fares well in resolving conditions like mine. Here’s what you should expect when you’re on it.
The most noticeable symptom is that you feel sluggish and sleepy at first. This is usually something that is welcome for most people. Living with anxiety, you feel like you’re on edge all the time and you barely have a peaceful moment. Taking these meds gives your body a sense of calm, relaxation, and rest. Lying in bed is a much better experience that even your pillows feel and smell so good.
On the flip side, going through your usual workouts and exercise can be a challenge. I found it hard to move, get into the rhythm, and maintain my usual efforts. I would describe it as working out with the handbrake on. At times, it feels so demotivating and frustrating. But luckily, such a sensation is fleeting and temporary. The first two to three weeks are often the most difficult, then it gets much better from there.
Depending on how severe your condition is, and how well you respond to the antidepressants, dosage may be adjusted and additional medicine may be prescribed. Yes, sometimes it gets expensive but by the end of the treatment, it becomes easy to justify and accept.
Ask your doctor if you can begin with a half dose for a month or so. This will allow your body to gradually respond to the medicine without severe side effects like sluggishness and fatigue
After all, money can be earned again; however, time, moments, and memories, especially those we spend with our loved ones cannot. The ability to heal allows us to enjoy and cherish those moments better.
Let me share a few tips on what to do if it’s your first time taking antidepressants and related medicines:
Start with a low dose
Ask your doctor if you can begin with a half dose for a month or so. This will allow your body to gradually respond to the medicine without severe side effects like sluggishness and fatigue.
Avoid taking other related supplements
I struggled more than necessary at first since I was taking GABA (a supplement that helps with anxiety as well). It did more harm as my body had too much serotonin available and resulted in a severe fatigue sensation. Other supplements such as melatonin weren’t problematic but it’s still best to consult your doctor.
Taper down your workouts
Even if you’re on a low dose, it’s easier and better if you shorten your workouts and dial down the intensity. I had to do this as I could barely finish my workouts for the first few weeks. You’ll get less frustrated and tired in doing so.
Prepare for more sleep
Your body is getting a much-needed break from all the stress hormones your body is producing. The antidepressants will allow you to get quality, sustained sleep; however, you need to cooperate and give it what it needs. Go to bed early and avoid spending time on your phone and TV so you can allocate this time to dozing off.
Trust the process
Lastly, accept that this is a normal, necessary, and important part of your well-being. Talk to your doctor often and update them with all the things you’re going through. Things may be difficult and challenging at first but remember that you are never alone and that relief is within reach with your cooperation.
This article was first published on MultiSport PH. For more stories like this, visit https://multisport.ph/