My Battle With Mental Health Part 8: Medication
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Health and Wellness

My Battle With Mental Health Part 8: Medication

Think about it.

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My Battle With Mental Health Part 8: Medication
Rapps Pharmacy

Experts estimate that over 83 million people suffer from some form of diagnosable mental illness. Some generalize it as anxiety. Some generalize it as depression. Some generalize it as bulls**t. The media romanticizes suicide attempts and self-harm because they make a touching story about someone overcoming struggles by finding “the one” or through some feat of their own strength. But the very real truth is that these conditions are not fun. They are not sexy. They do not come with a tearful confession at just the right moment or a swell of dramatic music when you make a breakthrough. They wound those who have the resources and support to get through them, and they cripple or kill those who don’t. Many people don’t know what mental illness is, or what it looks like. So I guess I’ll have to try to explain it. Listen up.

The use of medication to treat mental health issues can be almost as divisive a topic as the issues themselves. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum—from the prescribers who give you all the information without trying to seem like a “pill pusher,” to the therapists who would like to see you try life without the medication, to the hordes of suffering individuals who hate the idea of being on medication.

I hated the idea of medication for a long time. When I first began to develop acute issues with anxiety and panic around sixth grade, my parents, doctors, and I began to discuss medication use. I didn’t want medication to be in my life. I didn’t want to be dependent on a pill to provide my happiness. My mother managed to convince me to give it a shot by explaining that the medication didn’t make me artificially happy, but simply eliminated the chemical deficiencies that would keep me from feeling whatever I would feel anyway—happy, or otherwise.

I was first prescribed Ativan. That didn’t work out too well. I got angry on Ativan. There’s a nice little hole in my bedroom wall to tell me that Ativan probably isn’t the right anti-anxiety medication for me.

Next up was Zoloft. That one was better. Zoloft was much milder and helped take the edge off of stressful events in my life. The downside to that was that as an SSRI (Serotonin-Something-I-Don’t-Know-The-F**king-Acronym), it took a long time to build up in my system and couldn’t be used as a rescue medication. I was on and off Zoloft for a while, and gave it up just a month or so ago.

Xanax is an interesting one because sometimes it works like a charm, sometimes it doesn’t. When I first had Xanax in high school, it worked so well that I went from panic attack to nearly asleep in five minutes. Recent doses haven’t been so effective, but it’s helped me out before

I recently switched to Prozac as my main anti-anxiety/anti-depressant. It’s hard to say if it’s done anything yet. But it’s got a cool name.

What I’m trying to say is that over the years, I’ve come around on medication. I don’t think it makes me a different person. I don’t think it dulls my personality. I mean, you tell me; if you’ve known me since middle school, you’ve known me on medication. Does this seem like a bad thing? Do I seem like a fuzzed-out addict?

So that’s one of the things I try to suggest to people who are dealing with anxiety and depression. After I talk about exercise, talking about it, staying busy, all that bulls**t (which it really isn’t, it’s just what everybody suggests), I ask them if they’d consider medicating. Most of them turn their noses up at it. I understand why you might. But all I ask is that before you resort to more drastic measures, that you do consider it. Being medicated doesn’t mean being so juiced-up on 50 carillion milligrams of whatever to make you forget your own name. It can be handled delicately and without you losing your sense of self. And who knows, it may just help.

Or, if you’re like me, you just get so beat down by life that you lower your standards about what you’re willing to do to get better. Ok, maybe not that low but you get my point.

Think about it. That’s all I ask.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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