I understand. For more than a decade I was against medication for not only mental health, but anything unless it was life threatening. Supplements can help, essential oils can help, marijuana can help. There’s so many alternatives to medication. Meditation, yoga, prayer, mind over matter. But what happens when these don’t work?
There’s a serious problem people overlook when it comes to these things. They all take energy. They take research, actually doing something, or finding things out on your own. A lot of time, people with mental illnesses do not have the brain capacity to process new information. This makes it incredibly hard to do things like research. For me, it meant putting off helping myself for over a decade.
I would lay in bed all day. Back when my anxiety and ADD were at their worst, I couldn’t function. I would come home from work and I would gather my things on my bed a read for hours on end. I would draw, I would do anything to ignore my household responsibilities. My then boyfriend worked sometimes 7 days a week. I worked part time. I couldn’t do the dishes, clean the house, or even take off the trash.
When I moved back to Arizona, I spent most of my days in my bed doing little creative things. Or just watching Netflix. I couldn’t bring myself to function. I needed help, more help than could come from essential oils and yoga alone. I needed to put my prayers into action.
I decided I couldn’t live like this anymore. I needed to be a functioning human. I went to my doctor and was prescribed Prozac. It helped immensely. I could finally think, I could finally feel normal emotions, and it didn’t allow me to have anxiety attacks. I could still feel them on the inside, but they didn’t explode into anything uncontrollable.
Then, my Prozac stopped working by itself. I fell into a deep Depressive Episode after having gone through something that was practically a divorce. I had to sign over the deed to my house to my ex boyfriend. I got nothing in return, he took everything from me. All I had ever wanted was in that house, and it was all gone. I couldn’t get out of bed again.
So, I finally started to see a psychiatrist. I’m now on 4 different medications. I’ve had people say things like, “we need to get you off of these,” “you’re on too many,” “we need to work on getting you off of these.” It’s as if helping myself is seen as hurting myself. I’m being treated as though I’m now suddenly addicted to my medication. Sure, naturally you build a dependence on them, but I’m not a drug addict.
I spent over a decade suffering. For the first time in my life I have the ability to concentrate on my writing, I have the energy to clean, I can take care of myself, I don’t do impulsive things as much, I rarely have anxiety attacks anymore. And you all want me to get off my medication?
My medication does not “alter my state of mind.” It does not turn me into someone I am not. It does not make me fake happy, it allows me to feel emotions in a healthy way! I’m sad? I simply cry a little bit. I’m happy? I smile and enjoy the moment. I’m frustrated? I don’t destroy whatever is in front of me, I breathe. This medication has me stable. It has me able to function like myself. I shouldn’t have to justify why I take medication for a mental ILLNESS.
Sure, my illness is mostly invisible. Only when you see my scars or the times I physically shut down can you see it. If you ever watched me have a full on anxiety attack, there would be no doubt in your mind that this woman needs medication. Just because my illness is easily hidden, easily ignored, or easily forgotten does not mean it is not real. It has consumed my life since I was 10 years old. It’s very real, not just a negative state of mind.
So, please, if you’re against medication for mental illness, listen. Ask those who are on it how they feel. Some love it, some hate it. But nothing compares to the joy I felt when I realized I was now able to be myself, who I truly want to be. Understand, don’t judge.