Anti-Depressants Do Not Make Me Any Less Of A Person

Just Because I Take Anti-Depressants Doesn't Mean I'm Any Less Of A Person

The only thing that anti-depressants changed about me is my mood, for the better.

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When I was about 15, I had the reluctant discussion with my therapist about going on medication for my depression. I was going to therapy for over a year and it seemed like nothing was helping. I was having difficulty accepting that I might be one of those people who rely on medication to function. I had this stigma in my head that made me believe it was going to make me some kind of person that I didn't want to be.

Together, we decided that it was worth a try, despite my hesitation.

I am now 18 and have been on an anti-depressant since then. It has been the best thing for my mental health in supplement with regular therapy sessions and I am so grateful for what it has done for me.

I cycled through three different medications before I settled into a sufficient emotional baseline. Throughout this time, I went through a couple extremely depressive episodes, one resulting in me having to withdraw from school for some time to go to an outpatient program. I learned a lot about my depression and how I function during that time, including a Major Depressive Disorder diagnosis.

Since getting on the right dose of the right medication, I now can't imagine where I would be right now without that extra step. My depression has very little to do with my environment and is most likely a chemical imbalance in my brain that isn't going to go away. Therefore, the medication piece is very important for my everyday function and I have accepted that. It played a pivotal role in my pulling myself up out of a hole that was beginning to feel like home.

There is such a stigma surrounding medication for mental health that causes many people to not want to try it, even if it is the last step you have to take to save yourself. In conjunction with therapy and other self-care activities, medication can do wonders.

Taking a pill every day for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness shouldn't be frowned upon. Quite frankly, its no one's business but your own. Why should anyone care what you are putting into your body, especially when it is something as helpful as medication? Its the same thing as taking medication for physical ailments; its just concerning your mood, emotions, and thoughts instead of your physical body.

I have accepted that going off my anti-depressant probably won't make sense for me for a very, very long time, if not for the rest of my life. I can't see myself ever going without it and that's okay. Its okay to need that extra push in your brain to get you feeling better. Its okay to take it for an extended period of time because you need it to be okay. Its okay to need help in any form and we should always be encouraging those who need it to seek it out.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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To The Friend Who's Struggling, I'm Here For You

I won't pretend like I know what you're going through, but I want you to know that I'm here.

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There are no words that can make the hurt you feel go away, but that's not going to stop me from trying the best way I know how.

I'm so sorry you're feeling this way.

I wish there was something I could do to take all your pain away and make you feel the way you used to.

Depression is an evil thing and even though I don't know what you're going through, I want you to know that I believe you.

You're not crazy and you're not making it all up for attention. You're hurting in a way that I can't even imagine, but I need you to know that it's not your fault.

There's nothing you did to deserve this and there's nothing you could have done to prevent this.

Please know that you're not alone.

You have been there for me at my worst moments and I'm going to be here for you now.

You are so loved and the ones that love you won't leave you, I promise.

You have made such a difference in my life and I can't fathom life without you.

You aren't weak, you are strong and when this is all over, I'll still be here and so will you.

If you want to talk about how you're feeling I'll listen. I'm sorry I didn't notice you hurting sooner, I will never do that again.

You're not a burden to anyone around you, we are here because we love you and nothing in this world will ever make us stop loving you.

You are too strong to let it win.

Please let me know when you need me, and I will be by your side.

You can do this. You will get through this. You are strong as hell.

I love you.

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