The effects of my antidepressant were noticeable after about a week. Here were some of the effects:
1. It is pretty cliche, but for mundane things, I saw everything as the glass being half-full instead of the glass being half-empty. It doesn't seem much, but it does add up. All other things being equal, the positive interpretation has precedent over the negative interpretation. When I look at a tree before, I might dwell on how the tree will eventually be ignobly chopped down to make way for some shitty road or dwell on how the rest of the sidewalk look ugly in comparison. Now, I focus on how the tree's shade keeps people cool or how it looks beauty in a sea of grey. I can appreciate the joys and beauty in things, even mundane things.
2. As a nice side effect, the antidepressant also mostly brought my social anxiety under control, and my social anxiety was pretty bad before the drug. This confirms that the effects of the drug on my depression isn't just the placebo effect because I didn't know that the antidepressant is also effective on people with social anxiety until it happened to me.
3. I never actually planned to commit suicide, but suicide as a topic used to be so fascinating. There was the ethics of suicide and the various debates surrounding it. There were different ways of committing suicide that I used to love reading about and comparing them. What was the least painful way of committing suicide? What was the most painful way? I remember finding a blog of someone who committed suicide because he was paralyzed from the neck down after a motorcycle accident. The blog was a manifesto about why he was going to commit suicide, but what was even more notable was that the last few entries were that of him slicing his abdomen with a kitchen knife and blogging about his last moments on Earth. After taking the depressants, suicide ceases to pull me mentally like it did before. It lost its mental luster.
4. Before the antidepressant, I've always had this strange feeling that I was an abomination, a glitch in this simulation called reality, that wasn't supposed to exist. Since I wasn't supposed to exist, it felt like the universe didn't fully accept me. In other words, there was a sense of incongruency between my apparent existence and the universe as a whole. After the antidepressant, that feeling disappeared, or more accurately, I didn't realize the extent of the feeling of alienation with the rest of existence until I started taking antidepressant and more clearly understood what it meant to be aligned with the universe.
5. I felt like I had this huge reservoir of energy after taking antidepressants, especially mental energy. This is to be expected since one of the symptoms of depression is having a low amount of mental energy or willpower. Now, I could give myself private prep talks or mentally tell myself to "quit your bitching and just fucking do it" when faced with an obstacle. I wasn't able to do that before the antidepressants because I lacked the mental energy to do so and they weren't convincing at all to me.
6. It's far easier now to mentally "hop" out of negative feedback loops. It's a lot easier for me to suspend any potential negative thinking by going, "Okay, this isn't being productive. Cut the bullshit and move the fuck on. We have things to do." My mind feels more resilient against negative thoughts and feelings.
7. Some of the thoughts I had before I was on antidepressants were just straight up delusions that made no logical sense. I would get super anger and be in a shitty mood for the rest of the day being stuck in traffic even though "being stuck in traffic" meant spending 5 more minutes on the road. 5 fucking minutes. Apparently, my depression-addled mind thought a mere 5 minutes was more than enough to lose his shit over. Somehow, being self-conscious about having yellow teeth meant that I should totally never ever brush my teeth ever again. When I was in the middle of losing my weight, I kept on thinking I was obese despite the fact that my BMI was already within normal range and various more accurate methods of calculating body fat (callipers, body impedance test) place my body fat percentage at an even lower number than BMI. But that still wasn't convincing enough, which eventually led me to give up and gain all of my weight back and then some because of reasons.
Being on antidepressants has led to a cascading effect which are these:
1. I know people always recommend exercise as a way of mitigating the effects of depression, but I personally believe that exercising consistently requires a certain amount of physical and mental discipline that people with depression often lack by virtue of having depression. In other words, I see exercise more as something to prevent you from falling back into depression rather than something to climb you out of depression. It's the reason why my attempts at losing weight and exercising failed the first time when I wasn't on antidepressants and why my second attempt is still going strong.
2. Being on antidepressants temporary reset my brain's wiring and allows me to actually be normal for the first time, which is very crucial as far as providing a baseline of how I should be feeling in case my mood becomes shitty again. CBT and mindfulness can only go so far if you have never truly felt what it's like to be content in the way normal people without depression experience content. If nothing else, the experience of being on antidepressants should provide you with a mental reference point that strengthen the effects of therapy and other means of handling depression. I am lucky in the sense that my antidepressants have kept my depression under control.