To medicate or not to medicate?…that is the question

The topic of whether medication is the correct way to address depression is controversial. People seem to attach a negative stigma to seeking help through medication, as if by not tackling depression alone you are somehow weaker. This is simply not true. Whilst I agree that medication cannot be the sole treatment for any form of mental illness, there is absolute proof that it really can make a difference.

Of course, the use of medication really does need to go hand in hand with therapy, as mental illness is exactly what it says on the tin…within the mind. It is essential to get inside our own minds and really pick at what it means to be in our heads, what our flaws are, what drives us, and what needs to change in order to be positive and healthy. Whether this be in the form of meditation, CBT or simply talking and voicing your thoughts, therapy is healthy, it’s positive, and its a step towards a new mindset.

For me personally, I have done the therapies and used them to my advantage (not always, I resented talking and trying for a long time), ultimately leading me to be the person I am today. I have tried CBT, hypnotherapy, meditation, holistic therapists, healers, talkers, relationship counsellors…you name it. I’ve been helped of course by all of these individuals who have shared their advice with me, and now I am lucky enough to be in a place where I don’t feel I need to speak to anyone anymore. I do use this blog as a sort of therapist now, with freedom to express myself, my thoughts and feelings and the ability to read back on who I used to be yesterday, as I grow into the person I am supposed to be tomorrow.

Despite this, I possibly may not be here today without my medication. I do feel that there is such a negative attitude towards the use of antidepressants. The truth is, the use of a small white pill does not make you weak, it actually makes you strong. It means you stepped up and asked for help. It means you’re giving in to the fact that you can’t simply “fix” everything. It also is not a ball and chain attached to your ankle forever, it doesn’t mean that when you start you can’t stop. It’s an extra boost in your time of need.

The use of antidepressants doesn’t come without it’s negatives, and its a big decision to start taking them. Side effects, memory loss, weight gain…these are some of the negatives that people discuss in relation to these medications: Article regarding negatives of antidepressants. Will they help? Will they make things worse? The thing we need to remember, is that there are negatives in putting anything into your body – one week we’re told bananas are brilliant for you, the next they give you cancer, too much fat is bad for you, too much water can make you unwell etc etc. The other thing to remember is that the use of these medications is only appropriate when advised by your doctor, and should never be abused.

My personal experience is one of positivity. I have been on antidepressant medication since I was 15 years of age, and now being 23, I have been able to see objectively how they have changed my life over a period of time. How do I know they have made an impact? Well, I no longer want to end my life, which is a massive indication! I am less irritable, more out going, more positive, more able, I have more get up and go, I have more energy. I notice when I don’t take my meds for a few days, either through forgetting or through running out of my prescription. I become irritable, fidgety, lethargic, emotional, aware of a deep sense of sadness, lazy and uninterested. These are all the traits I used to have everyday prior to my medication. I find myself feeling more balanced on my medication and more able to face life. My antidepressants work on my mood and also my anxiety, allowing me to lead a more stress-free life, balancing me out to be a more capable individual.

Never be influenced by the stigma attached to taking medication for your mental illness. Remember it takes bravery to step up and ask for help in any form. Be brave. You are not confined by your illness, use every stepping stone available to get yourself back on track.

What are your experiences with antidepressants? Are you for or against? 

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3 thoughts on “To medicate or not to medicate?…that is the question

  1. I believe, to each their own, and am not against the use of medication to help wither mental illness but also believe they’re not necessarily for everyone.

    I know that without medication, I’m a wreck; yet also — after being on literally every medication that exists (from antidepressants, to benzodiazepines, to antipsychotics, to mood stabilizers, sleep meds, etc), in too many combinations to count, and too many differing dosages to remember — that, tbh, they’ve not helped me much over the past 15+ years. Perhaps they have, in that I’m still “alive” to this day & probably wouldn’t be if it weren’t for medication, at the same time I resent that medications have been forced on me many-a-times for this sole purpose (often I’ve been on so much medication that I become too sedated and/or ‘numb’ to even think, let alone take action/use behaviors). And so I remain “alive,” but I’m not *Living* and haven’t been for quite some time; I’m merely existing, continuing on day-by-day amongst society — as they Live Their Lives — and I just “remain.” This is no life, this is not “living” in the slughtest, and I believe it’s unfair to force anyone — Mentally ill or not — to have to “remain” amongst the living, especially when you’re already dead inside.

    And that’s another topic in itself: the right, I believe we should all have, to choose whether or not to ‘remain alive.’ None of us chose to be brought into this world; therefore, it should be our choice — and Our Choice alone — whether or not we stay “alive” and for how ling/until when. Our Beginning was not our chouce, and Our End should be, if we so decide that it’s “our time.” Forcing someone to remain “alive,” making suicide/euthanasia illegal basically, is Unfair & Unethical. Just because I may have a mental illness doesn’t mean I’m an idiot/stupid & shouldn’t be given the right to take my life into my own hands… because, after all, being forced to take medications, being locked into a ‘hospital’ & strapped down, etc so I “don’t hurt myself” is no means of Living Life. It’s continued torture, and morally disgusting.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. You’re right, they’re definitely not for everyone. We’re all so very different, each of us unique in our own ways… whether that be the type of music/movies/books we enjoy, being introverted vs extroverted, the way an illness — medical or psychiatric — may affect us, just as the way medications may or may not affect us… or even be the correct form of treatment for us (regardless our diagnoses, struggles, symptoms, etc), and as well I believe too in whether life is meant for us or not (and as I expressed, I believe that right should be ours and ours alone… whether its a medical or psychiatric illness that is “killing us” so-to-speak, we should have that right to decide how we want to – or not wish to – live out the rest of our days). Also, yes I agree that therapy should be used alongside any time psych medications are needed… while certainly the medications may help in stopping certain symptoms, leveling out one’s mood, etc, it’s not going to help make permanent changes that are needed if one is ever to be able to truly become “stable” and/or “in recovery” when one struggles with mental health issues/illnesses.

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