Anti-depressants saved my life. For years I thought medication would be the end of me. That it would mean I had given up. That I was no longer me. That I was masking all of the problems in my life. Taking medication ended up being the best thing I ever did for myself.
Instead of giving up, I had given in to getting help. Instead of no longer being me, I was able to temper the imbalances in my brain and become who I really was. Instead of masking my problems, it became one of the solutions.
Medication is a touchy subject. I get it. I know how bold that opening statement was. But, I mean it so much, I’m willing to say it again.
Anti-depressants saved my life.
Today, I want to tell you the true story. Why I waited almost 10 years to get on anti-depressants, even though I knew I was depressed. Why I resisted taking medication for so long. How societal pressure and the #stigma of mental health disorders almost stopped me from getting help. And, why medication is the number one tool in my mental health toolbox.
Does taking medication mean your depression is hopeless?
No way! Not taking medication was like giving up for me because I said,
“Here’s a resource at my disposal and I’m going to choose not to use it.”
Say you see your doctor for a broken leg, and the doctor tells you to get surgery for your leg, keep weight off of your leg and use crutches, and go to physical therapy. Would you do all of those things? Would you skip something on the list if you knew it would help your broken leg heal?
Medication is just one of your many resources. And, being willing to take advantage of it means you know something is wrong and you want to make it better. You want to feel like the best self you can. So, you’re willing to use everything you’ve got at your disposal in order to be your best self.
That’s what I did, and I don’t regret it one bit!
Will you be “fake” if you take anti-depressants?
Before I was taking medication for my depression and anxiety, I was terrified I wouldn’t be “myself” on anti-depressants. I thought the depressed me was the “real me” and people wouldn’t know who I really was if I altered my brain state.
Now I believe the medicated me is the “real me.” This is the person I want to be, at the very least. It’s the best version of me I can be. It’s a more calm, level-headed, thoughtful, caring, loving, giving self. I’m able to show off my best qualities when I’m medicated because I’m not disappearing into my own mind wishing I’d evaporate into a void or constantly questioning everything my friends says wondering if they really meant something else (I don’t do it as much, anyway…).
Are you just avoiding reality by taking medication?
If reality is feeling a deep sadness every day without a trigger, wanting to sleep through the day even when it’s sunny outside, and avoiding the friends and family who I love and love me--I don’t want to be a part of that reality. One commonality depression and anxiety have is that they are unfounded and can come on without the lack of a trigger. It’s sadness that comes from nowhere, fear that comes from nowhere. They don’t have a foreseeable end, either.
It isn’t “real” to be sad for no reason, to be afraid of something that won’t hurt you. Medication can even these feelings out and make you feel like you have a tighter grip on reality. It reminds me that even when my brain is telling me I have to be sad or scared, I don’t have to listen. It reminds me that the chemicals in my brain make me think funny things sometimes. And, those thoughts aren’t always worth hanging onto. I’m better able to let them go when I’m medicated. I’m more equipped to move through those spaces because they’re shorter and less intense. I’m able to get back to “reality” quicker.