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.