When I was on antidepressants, I wished I knew why they took so long. Now we might.

For me, the scariest part of taking antidepressants was the purgatory of waiting to see if they worked.

In 2012, I started taking a medicine called bupropion. For about a month, I watched every single thought that came into my head. And it was, if I may be blunt, pretty damn weird.

Am I having a good day because it's one of Seattle's rare sunny winter days? Or is it the drug? If I have a rough day, is it because I've hit a natural, temporary low? Or does this mean I'll have to switch to another medicine (and have to play this game even longer)?


Depression affects about 1 in 5 Americans at some point in their lives, so I know I wasn't alone. But trying to live outside of your own mind — well, it made me feel kind of messed up and very lonely. I felt like I was a stranger, even in my own head.

It was about a month before I could say for sure that the antidepressants were working.

Antidepressants can take a while to work for lots of people, and we're still not entirely sure why.

There are many different types of antidepressants, but the most commonly prescribed kinds, known as SSRIs or SNRIs, can take six to eight weeks to reach their full effect. (Frustratingly, the bad side effects can often happen before the beneficial ones.)

Unfortunately, we don't yet have a complete picture of why that long wait occurs. While we know that antidepressants can work, we're still learning how depression affects the brain and how different antidepressants can change that.

We know, for instance, that some kinds of antidepressants can help boost mood-altering chemicals known as neurotransmitters, but scientists will admit that's not the whole picture.

But new research is helping us find and study new pieces of the puzzle.

Take, for instance, the humble G-protein. It turns out that in depressed people, certain proteins called G-proteins get clumped up in our brain cells. G-proteins are part of big signal-transmitting machines in our cells, and if they clump up, the other parts of the machine can't really get to them. So the signal falters.

A new study suggests that part of what certain antidepressants do is go into the cell and break up these clumps, helping to repair the machinery. It can take a while for the antidepressants to do their job, though, if the G-proteins are really clumped up. This might explain why that purgatory period exists.

The study notes that different antidepressants may have different or even multiple modes of action, so this "anti-clumping" probably isn't the only explanation. But this study does help us learn more about how depression works and might even lead to better therapies or medications one day.

If you're stuck in antidepressant purgatory, there's science behind it, and it's OK to feel frustrated.

It might take a while to find out the best course of treatment for you — maybe antidepressants are the answer, but maybe not. There are other courses of action, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, that work well too. The important thing is to find what works for you.

But if you are trying antidepressants and are stuck in that weird, alienating state, know that it's natural and there's a reason why — and you're not alone.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."