Most people know Anna Akana as a popular YouTube personality who makes quirky and creative videos about important social issues. Last week, Akana uploaded a YouTube video about something that is deeply personal for her on many levels.
In the video, Akana admits that she lives with depression. Although her therapist has recommended for years that she take antidepressants, Akana has refused to take them.
"[I was] very afraid of what the side effects of medication could potentially mean and afraid that if I take antidepressants, that somehow makes my depression more real than what I would like to admit," she says in the video.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly seven percent of American adults have experienced a period of depression in the past year. Depression is also more common in women than in men.
Akana was concerned about this negative public perception of taking antidepressants. Her therapist, who also takes antidepressants, convinced Akana to try them out by comparing her situation to that of someone who suffers from allergies and needs allergy relief.
"This is something I should try," she says. "Maybe it will work. Maybe it won't. But it is a solution that I could potentially try."
While Akana notes that antidepressants are not for everyone, she concludes that taking them is normal and that she is hopeful it could help.
"If going on medication is going to give me a better quality of life and make me a [fun] person to be around, and make me happier, I should just totally be OK with trying that," she says.