Mental Health Awareness Week

[mhaw] ❁ Why not having an ED could’ve made me develope one

[Mental Health Awareness Week – Post 2]

I never had an eating disorder. But everybody always thought I had one.
And that’s the problem.

I was born underweight and I was underweight my whole life.
When I was only 1 year old my mother got asked if I get enough to eat, when I was 3 years old I was told I eat like a bird, when I was 7 years old other girls started to comment on my body and when I was 10 some of my classmates first started to get jealous.
When I was 12 my teacher (!) said that they’d wish to weigh as less as I did, when I was 13 years old, I was forced to eat more than I wanted by someone that doesn’t even belong to my family.
Even when I went inpatient for therapy, I was under an eating disorder treatment and it took me 9 weeks of resistance until they started to second-guess themselves. I had to eat on the tables with people who actually do have an ED for 12 weeks, my weight was checked twice a week for 85 days and even when I was released they still didn’t completely believe me.

I got commented on my weight by family, friends, classmates, doctors and strangers every day my whole life long. I was asked if I have an eating disorder almost once a week, I was asked how much I eat and if I go running or to the gym.

No. I was like everyone else my age. The low weight is in my genes, I wasn’t doing anything for it.

But when you hear things like this every single day, you start to think about it.
Most of the time it was just annoying, sometimes I felt complimented, but I still wanted to gain some weight.
Some day I started to feel like I wasn’t allowed to change anymore. I thought I had to stay that way so people wouldn’t stop liking me, I thought that if I gained weight people would dislike me, because I’d be like everyone else.

I can be very lucky that I can control these thoughts and that I eat what I want, when I want, but someone else might have been even more uncomfortable with how they look and would have started to diet.

What’s saddest about this is, that even teachers, those that are rolemodels to so many young children, were telling me that they wished for a weight like mine. They didn’t know if I had an eating disorder or not. I was lucky that I didn’t have one, but there are so many people out there that do, and they receive the same messages all the time.

Think before you speak.

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Mental Health Awareness Week

[mhaw] ❁ Zoloft

[Mental Health Awareness Week – Post 1 – Talking about Zoloft]

As Zoloft is the most prescribed antidepressant and the second most prescribed pychiatric medication, a lot of people in the mental health community know about it or take it themselves.
Everytime someone found out I also take them I was asked a ton of questions about my experience with it. I was asked on tumblr, facebook, instagram, just random chats, ..

So let’s talk about it.


First of all, what the hell is Zoloft?
Zoloft or Sertraline is an an antidepressant used to treat
Depression, Anxiety, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia), Social Anxiety, Phobias, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Eating Disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating, Body Dysmorphic Disorder and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

How does it work?
Sertraline belongs to a group of drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), it is also a dopamine reuptake inhibitor.
So basically what it does is increasing the dose of the sertraline and dopamine in your brain. Those neurotransmitters are chemicals that relay signals between the cells in the brain.
Clients with depressive or anxiety disorders do produce way less of those chemicals, so by upping the dose in the brain sertraline is thought to improve the symptoms.

I’ve been taking Zoloft for almost 1 and 1/2 year now. I started with 25mg/day, at the moment I take 175mg/day. The highest dose you can take per day is 200mg.
My psychiatrist prescribed it to me before having an ECG and a full blood count done, but only because of the bad state I was in. You should really get those things done before starting your medication, because otherwise it could be extremely dangerous.

At the first 1 or 2 weeks I didn’t recognize anything besides not being able to sleep and my OCD being worse. Week 3 and 4 were the hardest, I had a lot of side effects like being extremely exhausted but having insomnia, being really hungry or not hungry at all, feeling nauseous and dizzy all the time (great for my phobia – not), having to yawn like every 2 seconds which is embarassing and exhausting, not feeling present at all and stuff like that.

But after 1 month I started to feel less anxious and less depressed, getting out of bed and the house was easier, my phsyical symptoms almost dissappeared and my therapist said that I seemed to be a lot more present and “alive”.

Having the meds and not wanting to go to the psych ward I started going to school again, which I definitely wouldn’t be able to do without meds.
I could start therapy after like 2 months of taking Zoloft and was able to get inpatient in a different hospital that was 10(!) hours away from my hometown (imagine having agoraphobia and being that far away from home for 1/4 year).

Everytime we upped my dose I had like 1 week of side effects, but felt better after my body got used to the higher dose. As I already said I’m currently taking 175mg and we decided not to stop or switch to another med yet, because it’s a really high risk.


Something you really should know about Sertraline is that in the beginning it quite often increases the amount of suicidal thoughts someone is experiencing and it’s known to be able to lead to suicide, so if you’re experiencing these sideeffects you should immediately tell your doctor!

 

 

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