I always believed that I could cope with my issues on my own. I never thought I'd need therapy to deal, much less medication. When things got really bad this past January, I eventually caved and started going to therapy at Psyche (which I would highly recommend to y'all in the Nashville area). But I was very reluctant to get on medication, especially because of the terrible experiences I've had with it in the past.
Anyone who has ever gone to therapy has probably had medication pushed on them before they needed it. They also have probably had the WRONG medication pushed on them, as I did sophomore year. I was on several antidepressants during my first major depressive episode (from Prozac to Lexipro), and none of them worked for me. This now makes a lot of sense, as I have bipolar, not just depression, and bipolar requires an entirely different set of medications. But after the last time, I vowed to never go on medications again. Oh how silly I was.
The medications I'm on now have singlehandedly saved my life. Sure, the therapy has been great, and my time away from the working world has alleviated a lot of stress. But the meds are the sole reason that I'm able to get out of bed every morning and function like a semi-normal person. I think it's so easy to assume that people with depression or other disorders should be able to get better through therapy alone. Almost everyone nowadays sees a therapist, so weekly sessions are a lot more normal (and acceptable) to the general public than medication. But there are a lot of people, like me, who deal with chemical imbalances that make normalcy impossible. All we're looking for is a semblance of stability, and that is what medications can provide. There is often a lot of testing required to find the right one, but once you've found it, life will finally seem... well... easy. It won't feel like a daily struggle to get past your debilitating issues. And I would re-do this whole experience ten times if it meant finally finding that perfect cocktail of meds for me, because I feel better now than I ever have in my life.
The necessity of medication has become even more apparent to me because I recently pulled a major no-no- I went off of one of my medications without consulting my psychiatrist. I had read that it (Abilify) might cause weight gain, and because I'm ridiculous, I went off of it cold turkey, knowing that it was the main medication that was helping me. I knew that my other meds wouldn't cut it, but I didn't care, because I was so scared of gaining weight.
Surprise surprise: a week later, I was a total mess. I fell back into the same pit of depression that I experienced back in January. I couldn't even fathom the thought of getting out of bed. I barely had the energy to eat, much less move or change my clothes. I went back to the self-harming behaviors that I'd thought I left behind. I was too ashamed to tell anyone but Paul about my relapse, so I kept it bottled up and tried to deal with it on my own. Eventually, I caved and told my psychiatrist, who made me go back on Abilify. And just a couple days later, I'm back to normal.
I'm lucky because Abilify is a fast-acting anti-psychotic, meaning that you can feel its effects after a couple of days. But there are many medications that take much longer to work, meaning that if you go off of them while they're working, you could potentially be in a bad period for a lot longer than a week. PLEASE remember that if you go on a medication and it's working, don't go off of it unless you've consulted with your psychiatrist. I know it's fun to pretend that you're completely independent and that you don't need your meds to be happy, but sometimes that's not true. And guess what? THAT'S OKAY. We all need different things to be happy, and needing an antidepressant or an anxiety med to feel good is no different.
So to all my peeps out there dealing with some sh*t, don't feel crazy for needing meds. Be proud of yourself for finally taking the first step towards happiness.