As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been dealing with anxiety and depression for a couple of years now. I don’t consider myself severely depressed in any way. I still do things, I go to school and get good grades, I go to work and deal with people all day, and I spend time with my friends; however there are times where I can feel like I’m in a deep dark hole I can’t get out of, it is truly suffocating. I honestly feel a little scared posting this as it is so personal to me, but talking about mental health is something that is important and necessary.
I was feeling pretty awful a few weeks ago, so I decided to see a therapist for the first time ever. He was a sweet man who assured me everything I was feeling was normal, but then he suggested I see a psychiatrist so that I could be prescribed something to give me “a little boost.” That terrified me. I have read and have been witness to many stories about people being put on antidepressants (good and bad) and although I felt pretty down at the time, I honestly didn’t feel that my situation warranted antidepressants, so I politely declined his referral.
Throughout the coming weeks I continued to have a really hard time sleeping, anxiety, random panic attacks, a hard time concentrating and a myriad of other crappy symptoms, so I decided to take up the therapist’s offer and make an appointment with the psychiatrist.
Once at my appointment, the doctor asked me questions about my past, what was going on and how I was feeling and then a few minutes in, he said “I assume the reason you came here is to get something prescribed” and I thought to myself well no… I’m here to see if how I’m feeling even warrants being on medication. So by the end of the first session he prescribed me Celexa. He said I could be on it from 6 months to a year. I left feeling really disappointed that after one meeting he put me on medication. I’m sure that’s how it usually goes, but to me medication is a HUGE deal, I need to know exactly what’s going into my body and how it will affect me.
As soon as I got home I began doing my research on celexa. I found so many stories of people who said they felt even worse than before after they tapered off of the medication and the side effects before it “kicks in” terrified me. I picked up the prescription in case I decided to take it; after all, it was only $3.00. I had to really think about whether or not I wanted to take these pills and eventually came to the conclusion that I wasn’t.
I honestly praise all the people who are on antidepressants who have found the one that works for them, the ones who went through all the horrible side effects, I praise you. I was too scared to do it, not just because of the side effects, but I’m also scared of the effects once I stopped taking it.
I decided to go through a more natural route and try St. John’s Wort. I had tried it in the past, but I didn’t stick with it, I would take it sporadically, only when I would remember, so obviously it wasn’t going to work. After a ton of online research I decided to give it a whirl one more time.
I got in my car, went to Whole Foods, and bought the Whole Foods brand 120 capsule bottle. Through all my research on Celexa I found a lot of compelling information for St. John’s Wort; of course each study is different, some say that it can combat depression just as well as synthetic antidepressants, others say it’s no better than a placebo. I decided to try it anyway. I read up on the recommended dosage, the side effects, possible drug interactions and all that jazz. The recommended dose is 900mg per day for up to three months, the capsule I bought is 450mg so I take two doses; one at 10am and again at 5pm.
I tried to look for some sort of diary or blog someone may have kept online about how they felt taking STJW and if they saw any significant change in their moods and what type of side effects they experienced, but I did not find one. So I wanted to try and keep a little diary not only for myself, but maybe for someone else considering using this supplement as an alternative.
I kept a pretty detailed log of how I was feeling for the first week I started taking the supplement, the rest of the weeks are a little less detailed since the side effects went away.
Day 1: I took my first pill at 10am. My stomach felt a bit upset, I felt anxious and my head started feeling a little cloudy and felt a weird pressure soon after taking it. With the 5pm dose, my stomach felt a little weird again.
Day 2: I felt anxious throughout the day, so I am not sure if it was caused by the pill. The 10am dose made my head cloudy again and the 5pm dose made me feel very lethargic and sleepy.
Day 3: 10am dose made my head feel cloudy again and I had a bit of anxiety as well. 5pm dose made me feel really tired again. I will however note that I was super productive that day. More than I had been in a while.
Day 4: Both doses felt normal, I did not feel the cloudiness I was feeling the first couple of days. I was really busy with my family so maybe I didn’t have a chance to notice it? Either way, I felt normal.
Day 5: The 10am dose made my head feel a bit cloudy, but I did not have any anxiety. 5pm dose made my head feel cloudy, however, I became immediately productive and started organizing stuff.
Day 6: 10am dose made my head feel a bit cloudy, but it was one of the most positive and productive days I had experienced in a while.
I stopped being super specific this week, I did not experience any weird side effects as I did the first week. I was still getting a bit of anxiety throughout the day and had some low moments, but I was able to snap out of them quicker than before.
Also ladies! if you are thinking of using St. John’s Wort, I read that it lessens the effects of birth control AND it made my period late 8 days! (which is not common for me!) I could not find any actual studies stating that it effects your menstrual cycle, but I did find other accounts of women stressing out because their periods were late lol so I’m gonna conclude that it does!
Week 3 has been a little off, I accidentally forgot to take the pills two days in a row, I’m not sure if that’s what affected me, but my mood was really low for a couple of days. It is getting a little better again mid week.
I missed two days again. This is the second time I do that, miss two days in a row, and I feel like it does affect my mood.
Week 5: I didn’t take the pills all week, but my anxiety and depression have subsided for the most part. I’m not sure if it was in fact the supplement, but I’d like to think that it helped.
Have you ever taken St. John’s Wort? What has been your experience with it and/or antidepressants? I would love to hear more about it!🐰 ♥