It's Time to Stop Demonizing Medication

It's Time to Stop Demonizing Medication

Taking prescription medication has saved my life. Stop demonizing me for my choice.
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I began taking antidepressants in February of 2015 and they saved my life.

Freshman year of college was a rough time. I wasn't happy with the friends I was making, I felt lonely, and my great-uncle passed away the week of finals. The grief of it all piled on top of me and I felt a misery I hadn't felt in a long time. I had gained more than the Freshman 15 and felt uncomfortable in my body. I didn't know who I was or what I wanted anymore. January brought terrible habits and I began to punish myself. I felt weak, exhausted, miserable. When I came back to school, I had no idea how to feel about anything. I began to isolate myself and the future I saw ahead for myself was very bleak.

Choosing to go to therapy was the first step in saving my life. I had researched antidepressants in the weeks since I had gone to therapy but there was a part of me that thought I was weak for choosing that route. I read the experiences of people online who said that antidepressants made them feel even worse; out-of-touch with reality, nauseated, and in a deeper hole than when they began. Some even said that the medication had no effect on them at all. I panicked. I felt myself teetering so close to the edge and I needed something to save me.

When I met with my psychiatrist, he said I needed to go on medication right away. I refused only because I was thinking about what other people had said about antidepressants. What was the point in trying something that didn't work?

Both my therapist and psychiatrist spoke to me, calming me down and giving me necessary information. They even called my mother for me and explained everything while I was a sobbing mess in the chair beside them. Days later, I started on medication.

It was hard at first. I felt dizzy and nauseated just as the people online had said. However, I had also been warned for the side effects by my doctor. I was helped through the exhaustion and sickness and a week later, I felt better than I had in months, perhaps years.

With so many young people choosing to take medication, and myself taking medication on-and-off for two years, I have seen the unintelligent criticisms. "This is what is causing the opioid crisis" or "This is the problem with doctors in America; they prescribe medication instead of dealing with the actual problem".

Stop demonizing life-saving medication.

Without my medication, I wouldn't be able to function as a human being. I don't want to think about what would have happened to me if I didn't start taking medication. I'm stable thanks to my psychiatrist's intervention and the advice of my therapist. Of course, the first week of medication is the worst but don't discount how your body adjusts to it. And sometimes it may not work for everything and that's fine. But don't demonize me for taking medication that has saved my life.

My life is not yours. Other people's lives are not your own. You never know why someone is on medication and it is not your place to judge unless there is reason for concern. Medication is not an evil; it can be a necessity for recovery. There may be a day where I will not need medication. Until that day comes, respect my choice for taking it.

Cover Image Credit: CNBC

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An Open Letter To The Judgmental People In My Hometown

Imperfections are what gives a diamond its value.
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Dear judgemental, simple minded people from my hometown,

I am sorry that I have never met your level of perfection.

Coming from a small town, everyone settles to the norm of the people around them. Unlike you all, I have always been a little bit different.

I've never understood why everyone always seems to feel the need to talk down to the next person. People love to gossip about a situation as long as the situation has nothing to do with them. For every move I made, someone was always there to bring out the negativity in the situation. You all are always sweeping around somebody else's doorstep when I know your doorstep is not clean. Maybe it is time to buy a new broom. I know that I cannot please everybody and that I will also not be liked by everybody. However, I deserve respect just as the next person.

SEE ALSO: Forgiving Someone Who Didn't Ask For It

I hope for the sake of the future generations of our small town, you all can learn to be more accepting to change.

I hope that no one judges your children like some of you all have judged me. I hope that the people that you love and care about are welcomed and accepted for who they are.

If we put as much time into being better people or helping others like you put into judging others, the world would be a much better place.

Imperfections are what gives a diamond its value. Pebbles are perfectly round. I'd much rather be a diamond, one in a million, than a pebble that fits in.

Sincerely,

The one whose every move you criticize

Cover Image Credit: Haley Williamson

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I Don't Smoke Weed Because I've Learned My Lesson, I Don't Need To Repeat It

The dumbest decision of my life formed my lifelong opinion on weed.

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Let's be realistic here, most of you guys have tried it, and if you haven't, you most likely will come across it at some point in your life. Yes, I'm talking about weed. Dope. Kush. Marijuana. Mary Jane. Whatever you call it, you know what I'm referring to. It's a pretty crazy thing, right? A college student who doesn't like getting high? Who would've thought?

There's a reason why I can't smoke weed, and why every time I do smoke weed, I turn into a complete anxious mess and end up calling my parents asking to be taken to the hospital.

I'm not exactly sure why I'm using this platform to tell a bunch of strangers why I don't smoke weed, and I know I'm definitely just asking to get shit on by the majority of my friends who already think I'm a tweak. I also know that I'm about to get hardcore judged by some of you for the ill-advised decision I made my sophomore year of high school. But trust me, there's no need for that because I've learned my lesson. It truly is the one day of my life that I wish I could do over, because here I am, nearly 4 years later, still coming to terms with the consequences of my sixteen-year-old stupidity.

It was the day I got my driver's license, and I was pumped to finally be able to drive around without my dad nagging at me from the passenger seat. So, as any newly-licensed juvenile would, I picked up my friend for a joyride.

It started off as a pretty normal day. We drove to the city, blasting music obnoxiously with the windows down, screaming at pedestrians, completely immersed in the freedom we were handed.

We were both high off of the idea that we were on our own. Driving around on that sunny day in December, we felt invincible with our newfound independence. Nothing could have ruined our mood during that drive, not even rush hour traffic.

However, that feeling quickly came crashing down.

After returning home from our adventure, we established that we didn't want our fun to end, so naturally, we decided to get high. As inexperienced sophomores, we didn't exactly have the equipment to do so, so we reverted to our next best option: sitting in my drawer was an edible that I had bought months prior from God knows where. It was a pot brownie concealed from my parents with crinkled tinfoil tucked away in my desk. I still have no clue why I had an edible on hand. I'm almost positive I didn't even know what weed was at the time.

My friend and I contemplated back and forth over whether or not we should take the edible. We didn't know much about weed brownies, or weed in general, but we figured that if we each had half, we would be feeling goooood in no time.

We split the edible in half and each took a piece. Of course, we thought it started working right away. My friend and I were elated and giddy over having our first experience taking an edible. After some time, we thought we were high (we weren't) and decided to go for another drive.

It was dark, and we were about fifteen minutes away from my house when I attempted to do a 3-point turn and continue on with our joyride. It was then that my mind went completely blank, and I forgot how to drive. My vision started to blur, my hands were tingling, and I had absolutely no clue what was going on. I couldn't remember how to use the gearshift, and that was the moment I started to freak out.

I got myself together for a second and told my friend that we had to go home. I started driving in my panicked state until my friend notified me that I had driven through a stop sign without even noticing. I parked my car on the side of the road and took some deep breaths. I thought I was going absolutely crazy. I then got back into the car and turned to my friend and told her she needed to drive me home, but of course, she didn't know how to drive yet. Classic.

It didn't occur to me that I was high out of my mind from the edible I had taken earlier. As the hypochondriac I was (and still am), I went straight to the conclusion that I was having some sort of mental episode which was causing my brain to deteriorate. My heart was pounding out of my chest at a rate that I can only attribute to what a heart attack must feel like, and I was convinced that something was physically wrong with me. Then for the last time, I attempted to drive again, but with little success as I realized I had no clue how to get back to my house. I was stoned.

We pulled into a church parking lot and I stopped the car. I slumped down into my seat and focused on my erratic heartbeat as I turned to my friend and asked her to call an ambulance for me. This by far was the scariest moment of my life, as I thought I was seconds away from death. I felt completely disconnected from my own body and had no clue as to what the hell was going on.

Looking back, my reaction was pretty ridiculous knowing that I was just high off my ass. However, as a young amateur, it was the most terrifying point in my life.

My friend didn't understand what was going on, but she didn't want to call anyone because she was scared of us getting in trouble. In my irrational state, all I wanted to do was talk to my mom, so against my friend's better judgment, I called my parents who were at a movie fairly close to where we were.

I was completely frantic and between sobs as I explained to my mom I was having a heart attack and that she needed to get me to a hospital. Of course, my mom being in a sober state of mind, stayed calm and tried to assess the situation. Here's how the phone call played out:

Me: "Mom you need to come and get me I'm dying. I'm having a heart attack and I don't know what's going on."

My mom (equally as frantic): "Maya you are having a panic attack -- you are fine."

Me: "You have no idea what's going on right now so how would you know?"

My mom: "Well, unless you took something it sounds like you are having a panic attack"

Me: "Mom... I need to tell you something. I took an edible, like with weed in it."

My mom: "Darn it, Maya."

My parents quickly came to pick up their dumbass daughter and equally guilty friend. On the incredibly awkward car ride back to my house, my dad explained to me that I wasn't, in fact dying, but that I was having a panic attack from the edible I had taken. I tried to reason with him and explain that my heart was giving out, but then he explained the symptoms of a panic attack and that's when I started to understand. The rest of that night consisted of me sitting on the couch hyperventilating and unable to swallow, as my parents stood by laughing at me while still holding their disapproving glares.

I'm sure you can probably guess what happened next: after a good night sleep, I was lectured and scolded for hours the next day, and of course, I suffered the consequences of being grounded just in time for New Years. Oh, and I also lost my driving privileges for quite some time. But that was a given.

For those of you who have never experienced the negative effects of marijuana, I wouldn't expect you to understand. You probably think I'm dramatic and that I just "can't hang." Which is true, I really can't hang, but now at least you know the reason why.

I would give anything to take back the stupid decision I made when I was sixteen because the choices I made that night signed me up for a lifelong, binding contract with generalized anxiety and panic disorder. However, that's a story for another time.

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