Before I head off into this I'm just gonna give a lil bit of background into the medication I'm talking about. Citalopram is an SSRI anti-depressant. SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain, and as a result can improve your mood. Citalopram was offered to me to help overcome my anxiety and issues with self-harm. Now that I've been taking it for a few years and have finally started to cut down on my intake a little, I thought I'd have a chat with you all about what it was like to start taking this anti-depressant. Citalopram isn't always used for depression and anxiety, but this is what I was given it for.
I would like to say that I was concerned with the side effects of taking tablets every day that were designed to alter my mood, but that would be a lie. Something needed to change and I'd tried so many different things, but I was really, truly struggling. I was excited to try and see what would happen if I went on them. 80% of me was convinced that they'd be my miracle fix. The other 20% was petrified that I wouldn't feel any different.
Citalopram takes a little while to work. You're generally advised to give it up to a fortnight before you see some change. In the first two weeks of taking it you can experience suicidal thoughts. I told my housemates at uni and my boyfriend that I was going to start taking these anti-depressants, and asked them to keep an extra eye on me over that period to make sure my behaviour wasn't drastically changing.
Luckily I didn't experience this side-effect, but the medication didn't have an instant effect like I was hoping it would either. For a couple of weeks I felt the same in terms of my mood, or even a little lower than normal because I was so disappointed. However, gradually my moods evened out. After a few weeks when I felt really low I didn't feel as low as I had done before. I was so worried that this would also mean that I wouldn't feel as happy as I had done before when I was in a good mood, but it was all fine.
In terms of side effects, the really noticeable difference was my sleep. I was so tired those first few weeks that I don't think I made it through a single day without napping (although let's face it, I was a second year uni student, so napping was my daily respite from life). This is the one thing that's really stuck around. I always take my pill before bed to help me get to sleep easily, but I've noticed that since I've cut down on my dosage a bit I'm a lot less drowsy during the day.
To put it neatly, taking Citalopram was what I needed at the time, and still need today. There's no shame in taking anti-depressants, and I hope this post can help anyone whose doctor has suggested that they start taking this medication.