Discover how antidepressants affected my life and how it helped me change it! Read the full article on

The One Thing That Motivated Me To Change My Life And Be Happy


Discover how antidepressants affected my life and how it helped me change it! Read the full article on

After our trip to France, I thought it was time to open up about my current situation.

You see I have lived in the USA since 2011 but grew up in France. So I have close friends and family from two very different cultures. We don’t have the same values, we don’t eat the same way, we have a different lifestyle… Both cultures have their ups and downs.

But now that I have been in Seattle for several years, I am turning into an overly positive American. I can’t tell you how many times a day I say the words “amazing” and “awesome.”

I have a problem

One thing that my husband and I noticed during our last trip to France is how people are close-minded about mental illnesses.

To be honest, it took me years to admit that I had a problem for the same reason.

I grew up thinking that it was normal to feel down. After all, nobody is happy all the time. We aren’t living in a fairy tale.

I thought that having a mental illness, such as depression, would be like stamping the word “failure” on my forehead.

I guess societal pressure made it difficult to heal myself. 

The first stage of recovery is to admit that you have a problem, but in France, nobody talks about their deep feelings, it’s like we are hiding behind unnecessary complaints about tiny things.

So yes, it took me years to realize that I was not happy with my life and I had to do something to change it.

For real, it took the publication of a study explaining that descendants from European countries are more susceptible to depression because of their genes.

Finding out that it wasn’t all in my head, but also chemical helped me. It gave me an excuse to seek help. It wasn’t my fault that I was feeling down, it was biological.

Obviously, there is more than just the chemistry in your brain, but it has a significant effect on your state of mind.

Seeking help

So I made an appointment to see the doctor. After responding to a few questions, to find out if I was depressed or not, she diagnosed me with moderate major depression and anxiety. Which, to be honest, I think I was aware of for years.

The first thing she said was that I needed to exercise. You see, exercise helps your body to create happy chemicals, or neurotransmitters (Serotonin and Dopamine), endorphins, and endocannabinoids.

But at the time I was depressed, and during the previous two years, I had told myself that I needed to work out, with no success. I would start a new fitness program and give up within a couple of weeks.

Plus it wasn’t the first time a doctor told me that I needed to work out more. But this time, the doctor added: “I’m also going to put you on antidepressants.”

This one sentence scared me. For most of my life, I had heard that antidepressants were terrible. I also read an article explaining that when you ask for antidepressants at the doctor, you are more likely to get it. I was scared that I was prescribed antidepressants just because that’s what doctors do.

So I tried to negotiate with my doctor. I wanted to skip on the antidepressants and focus on working out.

But she looked at me and said: “Julie, let’s be honest, you are not going to exercise without this help.”

She explained that the antidepressants would help me to get the motivation needed to go to the gym. After including regular exercises in my lifestyle, 90 minutes a week to be precise, I would be able to stop taking the serotonin.

We made a deal that I would stop them 6 months later. But it took me longer than I thought to get my life together. It takes times to create new habits, and I don’t want to stress myself about it since it the reason I’m in this situation in the first place. But it’s okay, I am feeling ready to stop them and will probably make an appointment this summer.

The thing with antidepressants is that you cannot stop them abruptly, you need to slowly reduce your dose to help your body get used to it.

Now, the way I see antidepressants is like a serotonin supplement. It’s like taking vitamins during the winter, melatonin when you need help to sleep at night, or any supplement to help you feel better.

Life on antidepressants

So yes, I am taking antidepressants, and I’m (literally) happy to do so. Without the serotonin supplement, I wouldn’t have been able to change my life.

Within a few months I:

To summarize, taking antidepressants helped me to change my life and every day I become closer to the person I always dreamt of becoming.

But here’s the catch: as a mental health advocate, I have become very open about my situation.

I don’t want to hide to people that I’m being medicated to feel better. I explain to them that this is temporary, it’s just that my body needs a little chemical help to give me the motivation to change my life, that I’m doing so much better since I started my journey and I am happier than ever.

As of today, I don’t feel the need to binge watch tv shows anymore, to lose myself in books, to hide under the covers and to start the day with “I don’t want to get out of bed” or “5 more minutes.”

Now I wake up with my head full of dreams for the day, I enjoy my daily walk during lunch break at work, I am coming home relaxed and enjoy the evening.

So where is the problem?

Even if I talk about how the antidepressants make me feel and helped me changed my life, people are getting upset about it.

My friends and family in France are so against it. They want me to stop it, they think that it’s hurting me, that I can become addicted to it, that it’s merely wrong …

And to be honest, I understand them. I felt the same way just over two years ago.

This is why I wanted to write about my personal experience with antidepressants and, hopefully, help people to be more open-minded about it and stop giving a hard time to people who are trying to get better by taking action.

My take on antidepressants

I believe that antidepressants can be an excellent tool for people who want to change their life but are feeling too depressed to start taking action.

If you take antidepressants but don’t take action to change your life, you will probably never fully be happy.

I see them as a tool to help you, not a means in themselves.

Talking with your doctor about your depression will help you decide whether or not you need medication. But remember that if you ask for it directly, you will be more likely to get a prescription.

I think that it’s important to debate with your doctor if you really need it and why. In my case, the doctor made an excellent point, but in your case, it might be different.

If you get a prescription, talk to your doctor about when you can get off and what you need to do to make it happen. In my case, it was to work out 90 minutes a week regularly, but it might be different for you.

I am not a doctor, so this article is about my personal experience with antidepressants. If you feel depressed, I highly recommend talking with your doctor and making a plan together that will fit your individual needs.

Are antidepressants good or bad for you? Discover how it helps me change my life on

Further Reading

Over to you

What is your experience with antidepressants? Share it in the comments!


Julie was diagnosed with anxiety and depression during the summer of 2016 and have since been fighting mental health stigmas by bringing awareness on the subject and sharing tips to help people become happier. Read Julie’s inspiring story, “My Journey Into Acknowledging The Depression.” Feel free to send a message to Julie here.

  • Jess

    July 13, 2017 at 12:22 pm Reply

    Fab post! I too am on anti depressants for my anxiety and my life has drastically improved since being on them. Although we’re not doctors, finding something that truly helps you live a normal life can’t be bad!

    • Julie

      July 16, 2017 at 4:55 pm Reply

      Oh, Jess, I didn’t know that you were on antidepressant too! How did your life improve under antidepressants? I would love to hear about your story!!

  • Shannon

    July 13, 2017 at 12:26 pm Reply

    Don’t forget that there is no shame in staying on them, if that 6 month milestone comes and goes and you aren’t quite ready. Most people do not begin antidepressants with a “this is temporary” approach. Of course, that can be possible, with the slow weaning you describe, under a doctor’s supervision, but there is no magic number of days or date that will signal “it’s time”. Good luck, Julie! Really enjoy your blog! : )

    • Julie

      July 16, 2017 at 4:52 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for your support, Shannon!

  • Maja

    July 15, 2017 at 11:43 am Reply

    I also take them, because of neurotransmittor disorder, not depression though. Without them it’s hard to get through the day, with them, it’s hard quite often too, but that’s because of an auto-immune disorder.
    But I know the feeling of people not understanding you need them… So I don’t tell anyone exept the people that are close to me, as they know what I’m going through.

    Sadly, some things can’t be read of peoples faces….

    • Julie

      July 16, 2017 at 4:51 pm Reply

      Hi Maja, I’m so happy to hear that you are taking care of yourself it’s what matters! Don’t worry about what people might think. We need to educate people about mental health so they can understand.

  • Abbi | Successful Freelance Mom

    July 15, 2017 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Brave woman! I’ve been on meds for 11 years now, and I am SO open about it because I believe that far too many women are suffering in silence FOR NO REASON. I tell everyone how much my meds have helped me. SUCH an important topic. <3

    • Julie

      July 16, 2017 at 4:48 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing this article on Twitter Abbi! I totally agree with you, we need more people opening up about mental health and how medication can help.

  • Michelle Farris

    July 16, 2017 at 11:13 am Reply

    What a wonderful, heartfelt story. I think anti-depressants are a very individual choice and I totally agree that when you don’t have the motivation to change, they can definitely help. I’m so glad they helped you. When I suggest this idea to my clients – when I truly think they might benefit – they almost always balk. I wish more people who needed them could see their value. Thanks Julie for sharing your story!

    • Julie

      July 16, 2017 at 4:46 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment, Michelle! It took time for me to understand their value and a lot of help from my husband who is becoming a counselor too. Don’t give up with your clients and feel free to share this article with them if you think it will help 🙂

  • Sandra Moore

    July 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm Reply

    Though not on meds myself, I have a close family member who is and for him they are the difference between misery and peace. For those who won’t accept the impact of chemical imbalances on our mood, I like to point out that every single person who has gotten grumpy when they are hungry was suffering a chemical imbalance. How would they like it if someone told them they didn’t really need to eat anything, their irritability wasn’t really caused by hunger, they just need to get their act together? They wouldn’t. They accept the reality of a chemical imbalance they have suffered from themselves, like irritability from our blood sugar dropping when hungry, yet refuse to accept that there are people who suffer from other chemical imbalances that need leveling out. They don’t criticize a diabetic for leveling out their blood sugar, but they criticize someone trying to level out their seratonin. Go figure. Anyway, good job on getting the word out and I admire your courage!

  • Julie

    July 26, 2017 at 8:18 am Reply

    Thank you so much for your comment Sandra! We need more people like you. Your loved ones are lucky to have your support 🙂

  • Michelle

    August 7, 2017 at 6:45 pm Reply

    Great topic! There is nothing wrong with taking medication when it mames you healthier! Some people can control without, but most people with clinical depression/anxiety do need the meds for a long time. I am so happy to hear that you have had success finding medication that works!

  • Lala

    August 15, 2017 at 8:58 am Reply

    Great story. Mine is very similar in many ways. I was on meds for 8-9. Months then stopped cause they stopped working so I ended up going off them vs. upping my meds…. now another 8 months later I feel great mostly but I am starting so get moments of anxiety again. But I’m also not meditating as much either so… I gotta find balance again. Thank you SO much for sharing!!

  • Diana Norris

    September 4, 2017 at 10:23 pm Reply

    I have been on meds so long that I don’t remember life without them. I could not get through a day without my meds and I know it. I wish people would understand that some lives are not a bed of roses and some things can not be changed. I go to therapy once a month and she and the doctor know me inside and out. Thank you for bringing this out in the open. We are not crazy we just need a little push.

  • B

    November 2, 2017 at 10:34 am Reply

    I have suffered from depression and anxiety as a child, and about 3 years ago I began to suffer from extreme, debilitating suicidal depression as well as severe anxiety and it was so bad that I was desperate for some relief so I was going to resort to to taking an anti-depressant, but once I read the side affects and the symptoms you will experience once you go through withdrawal I was really disturbed and freaked out by it and decided not to take it. But thankfully I was seeing a psychologist at the time who really emphasized using “natural” methods to improve my depression, such as changing my diet (and eating enough fish to get omega 3’s), exercising, and mindfulness and all of those things immediately began to transform me and heal me so I never even needed the anti-depressants at the time, and that’s when I realized that depression is not necessarily caused by a “chemical imbalance” in the brain, there is usually an underlying health issue going on (and of course, sometimes depression can be circumstantial as well) which then affects your neurotransmitter levels which affects your mood. I also learned that I had a lot of food sensitivities that caused mood issues for me which explains why I’ve had mood issues since I was a child (for no apparent reason) – I also had a lot of health issues as a child too. But anyway, since then I have continued to have bouts of depression, and later I saw a holistic doctor who helped me immensely. He had me follow a low carb diet and I did acupuncture and took Chinese herbs which improved my physical and mental health rapidly! But even since then I’ve still have had depressive episodes, and the majority of the time it was because I was not eating well or exercising, which would cause me to get into a huge downwards spiral and I found it difficult to get myself out of it and start being healthy again – and that’s why I wanted on this post this, because I had the same ideas as this article.. I thought that maybe taking an anti depressant temporarily would help me get out of my “rut” and motivate me to start being healthy again. I was interested in taking wellbutrin since based on its affects it seemed like it would work well for my type of depressive symptoms since it gives you more energy and motivation, but I got a prescription for an off brand instead which I read negative reviews on, so I never tried it because a lot of people said it was horrible and nothing like the normal wellbutrin. I was wondering if you could tell me which anti depressant worked well for you and was able to help you get out of your depressive rut?

  • Vicky

    January 18, 2018 at 9:15 am Reply

    First, I’m sorry for my english, I’m from Poland. I’m 17 yo girl. I have been suffering from depression for 4 years and eating disorder for 12 months. I have been taking antidepressants for 4 months. At the beginning I felt better, but now it’s not good with me. I become more indifferent. I don’t care about school, friends and family. I have no idea what should I do. Sometimes I think that any antidepressants can’t help me. I’m scared that no one can help me, and this is so overwhelming. I know that I can have an incredible life, but now I don’t see the point. It seems to me that I’m waiting for life to be easy or for somebody to save me, but I know this will never happen. I don’t know how motivate myself. I love sing but I don’t feel up to follow my dream. I don’t want to kill myself (I wanted), but I don’t know how enjoy my life to. I have everything what I want, but something is missing, and I don’t know what is it. Help me, give an advice. What can I do to begin love my life and start feeling better with myself?

    Greetings from Warsaw, Victoria

    my email here:

  • Michele

    May 26, 2018 at 9:03 pm Reply

    Awesome analogy

  • Andrea

    June 7, 2018 at 8:36 am Reply

    Vicky, I am not a counselor or a doctor. I’m a 50 year old American woman. I feel I’ve been in your shoes with feeling indifferent and wanting to be saved, or life become easier– so I’m replying. You are brave to open here about your eating disorder and taking anti depressants. Your eating disorder was triggered by someone, some comment, or something in your life. Once you figure out why you have an eating disorder, perhaps with the help of a counselor or doctor- you can begin to love yourself again. Once I began to love myself again, I was no longer indifferent.. I saw joy in everyday life and had feelings for people once again. I had to love myself first before I could even have any positive feelings for life or others. Please ask for help in trying to figure out what caused/triggered you to start the eating disorder- Please try to love yourself for who you are right now. Life is full of beauty, love, and change. I just read this post today and felt the need to reply to Vicky.

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