The Flip Side of ‘Happy Pills’

I used to decline anything sweet after a meal, claiming that my wine was my dessert.

But that was before I began taking an antidepressant to curb my anxiety

It was also before I decided to cork my evening nightcap.

These days, I’m a lot calmer, happier and sober, but not exactly lighter on my feet…. Catch my drift?

After polishing off three, yes I said it, THREE plates of Sheperd’s Pie during the recent ‘Stormageddon,’ I felt an insatiable craving for something sweet. I scoured the back of the cupboards, hoping to find some stale Girl Guide Cookies or maybe some chocolate chips, but there was nothing, except of soup, canned beans and broken saltines.

Fortunately, I remembered that we still had an enormous bowl of Halloween candy stashed above the fridge, so I settled on a couple of mini chocolate bars and a bag of M&M’s.

While I was able to satisfy my sweet tooth, the hunger pangs just wouldn’t let up. They were relentless.

My stomach rumbled all night with uncomfortable emptiness, begging me to throw in some more carbs, to toss in a bag of Doritos and wash it all down with chardonnay— I resisted temptation knowing I had already done enough damage for one day…err, make that two weeks.

I convinced myself the number on the scale was just all the water weight, but I’m beginning to realize I can’t give in to every craving as a reward for taking a break from the ‘mommy juice.’

As the self-dubbed ‘queen of extremes,’ I’ve been weary about jumping headfirst into a strict diet or exercise regimen.

After all, it doesn’t take much to lose my head in the pursuit of losing the girth around my waistline.

I did some digging and discovered I’m not alone with this troubling problem of medication-induced weight gain.

Experts say that for up to 25 per cent of people, most ‘happy pills’ can cause a weight gain of 10 pounds or more.  I’m up seven pounds and counting. Ugh.

It’s also common to crave sugar when you take a break from drinking.

Now, I’m not airing this to deter anyone from taking a pill to manage their depression and/or anxiety, nor am I trying to push anyone into experiencing a month or two booze-free, although I highly recommend the latter.

You do you.

For myself, the weight gain is more of a minor nuisance — I’m far happier now than I was last February rocking a bikini body, despite the fact that sweatpants are literally all that fits me right now.

I could also blame this insane weather. I felt like I was losing my mind being trapped indoors with two kids and two dogs in a cramped townhouse for a week— going to the gym hasn’t even been an option.

As I struggled to zip up my jeans this morning, I joked to my husband, Jason that I should go off of the meds so that I can get my ‘old’ body back.

He said he’d rather have me with some more ‘junk in the trunk’ and be happy instead of skinny and struggling.

I think he’s a keeper.

If I’ve learned anything through this experience, it’s that happiness isn’t found in the bottom of a wine glass, candy bowl, or even in an itty-bitty bikini. All that stuff is just a temporary fix.

Instead, it’s about learning how to sit with that unsettling void and find healthy ways to nourish one’s soul, rather than starve, feed or numb it.

Anxiety and depression

I think that if I had learned this lesson early on, I wouldn’t have spent years trying to run from ugly feelings, which would later come back to haunt me in the form of anxiety or jeans that have become a size too small.

Let’s face it – children are prone to copying the behavior of their parents, which is why I’m even more determined to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Is it going to be easy? Heck no, but nothing worth fighting for truly ever is.



  • Camille lafreniere

    February 9, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Perfect! Love the “you do you” so true in so many ways And like Regina George sweatpants are all that fit me right now as well!

  • Brittany

    February 10, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Thank you! There’s so much out there telling is how weight gain is a possibility on these “happy pills” but no one never really tells you just how intense and painful these cravings can be. As scary as it’s been watching the scale go up, I’ll take a few extra pounds any day over living with debilitating anxiety!
    Wishing you health, happiness and strength.


Leave a Reply