I have been on medication to treat depression and anxiety for over half of my life.
Citalopram, Venlafaxine … now Sertraline, 200mg.
I started taking medication when I was 18 and didn’t tell anyone until I was 27.
I used to feel so ashamed about needing to be on meds to help cope with my mental distress.
It felt like medication was a failure on my part, like I was incapable of figuring it out on my own. And so many times, I wished I had the strength to do just that.
Even when I started becoming more open about it, I still felt embarrassed having to insist that I needed medication to feel normal.
When I started my first job out of University, I was wracked with anxiety about having to tell my employer about my condition. In the end, I didn’t need to, because I was able to perform at the same level as everyone else, thanks to a very informed decision around the benefits medication would have on my condition.
I still remember someone saying to me when I told them I was on anti-depressants …
“You don’t seem depressed! You hide it so well!”
… “Well yeah, that’s because I’m on anti-depressants…”
Needing to be on meds does not invalidate the sheer willpower I require to keep fighting – this is all ME. I pick myself up when I fall, I take responsibility for my healing and recovery. And I own my condition. Along with all the stigma that comes from it, but also all the love and support people have shown me, and most of all, the pride and hope that I feel when I’m able to help others just by being ME.
Medication is just the lubricant that helps my brain produce the chemicals that are found in a healthy brain. It helps to turn the volume down on a lot of irrational thoughts and feelings of worthlessness. Medication allowed me to take back control of my life, and ultimately saved it.
Using medication to treat clinical depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental health issue is no less valid than using medication to treat a heart condition, chronic migraines, or anything else.
If somebody was diabetic, would we deny them of insulin? If somebody had a headache would we deny them of pain killers?
NO we wouldn’t. So why then when somebody’s brain doesn’t produce serotonin are we so quick to judge someone for taking medication?
This is by no means about glamourizing mental illness or medication.
We all function differently, and therefore manage our symptoms in different ways. Find what works for you. But just know that if it does take medication to get you back on an even keel – that it’s NOT a failure on your part. It’s an incredibly strong and brave thing to seek help, and to keep taking that step day after day.
I am no longer ashamed about taking medication. There’s no reason to be. If someone doesn’t like the fact that I do, that’s on them not me.
#postyourpill and help fight the stigma against medication.
It’s okay to need help.
It’s okay to take medication.
It’s okay to not be okay.
It’s okay to be YOU.