A little over year ago, I went back on medication for anxiety and depression. It wasn’t a hard decision. I was crying in my office, seeing a therapist and trying not to break down pretty much daily.
There was a lie I had committed myself to that I could no longer stomach. It was simple. I was coping with mental illness through diet and exercise only.
Here is what I wrote about it at the time.
I am in a good place. There is a roof over my head. My relationships both familiar and romantic are going well. I have a steady day job. There is food in my fridge. I have health insurance. There are even nights of the week where I am free to write. I am in a bad place. My steady day job has become a nightmare over the last couple months. Dreading going to work has lead to anxiety attacks both at home and at work. A couple of weeks ago, I closed my office door to cry. I stopped wearing make-up to work because there was no point when tears were going to ruin at some point in the day. Nights when I would have time to write are spend dealing with the aftermath of the day or going to bed early because I don't have the strength to anything else. I feel worn and mostly dead.
Looking back on it, I know that the biggest thing keeping me from medication was the mistaken believe that if I went back on it, I was failing. I didn’t put those thoughts into words until after I walked out of the building with a friend. She talked about her medication into a down to earth fashion. It wasn’t big deal to her. It was like taking medication for a cold. The conversation led to a lot of reflection.
Then my co-workers started talking about their own medication and how it was helping them handle things better along with therapy. Why was I denying myself another tool in my fight? Hadn’t I recommended medication to others? If I was physical ill, wouldn’t I be working with my doctor to find the proper treatment?
Because for years, I boosted to other (foolish so) of how I was control my mental health issues without medication. The problem was there were days that I was terrified to leave the house. Or drinking way too much from time to time to chase the blues way. Theses were acceptable to me: parts of everyday life.
I told myself there was nothing I could do about my crippling anxiety when it came to making even necessary and important phone calls. And I continued to tell myself that even after I missed an invitation to the White House in 2015 because I couldn’t get myself to listen to my messages.
I lied to myself for years because the hassle of staying on medication along with the cost were the real reasons I stopped taking them.
I am not saying that medication is for everyone. Some people have a hard time finding what works for them or it doesn’t work.
Human beings are complex organisms. Our bodies react to everything from flowers to food differently. Some people do really well with therapy alone. Others do well with a combination of both. Therapy has really helped me break some of toxic patterns.
What I am saying is that medication can be helpful and if you need it then there is no shame in taking it.
Last December, I needed it. And now that I have it, I am able to see more clearly how the believe that medication was a failure kept me from being happy or working my way in that direction for way too long.
Be Well, Be Safe and Stay Spooky,