At the early-ish age of 13, I went on my first antidepressant. A few months later, after we decided it wasn't working, my doctor put me on another one...that also didn't work.
After a slew of different medications, doctors and stressful life changes that ultimately led to me staying in the hospital for three weeks in October of my sophomore year of high school, the team of doctors that treated me in the hospital finally started me on a medication that made significant improvements in my mental health.
I actually wanted to get out of bed in the morning.
I could make it through a day without having an anxiety attack or breakdown.
I did not want to die.
I stayed on that medication for a few years, and when I told my doctor at home that I was still just struggling to fall asleep, tired all the time and felt that, while I still felt significantly better than I did before, I knew I could feel better.
He tacked on a second medication, one that enabled me to fall asleep within two hours of going to bed every night.
At this point in my life, these medications do feel a bit like I may be starting to become immune to them, in a way, and I do not feel they're as effective now as they once were.
But I know that if I were to stop taking them altogether, not only would my mind fall back into a dark place, my body would literally go through withdrawal.
If I run out of my nighttime medication, I cannot fall asleep. Yes, eventually I will, but without taking that pill, I will go to bed and not fall asleep for up to eight hours after I first laid down. My brain does not stop working. I will lay in bed, thinking over every possible event in my life, overanalyzing things, for hours on end.
If I run out of my morning medication or forget to take it, within a few hours past the time that I normally take it, my body starts to freak out. I get shaky, sweaty and by the end of the day, sad.
My body and my brain both rely on my medications. I know that I could not function without them, at least not at first. The shaky feeling I get on days I forget to take those morning pills is scary because it reminds me just how badly I need those pills.
Then, I remember that depression and anxiety (both of which my medications treat) are medical issues. Any other medical issue that can be treated by medication is treated by medication or some medical procedure.
Your head hurts, you take ibuprofen.
You break your arm, you wear a cast.
You're diabetic, you take insulin.
I have depression and anxiety, so I take my antidepressants that double as anti-anxiety medications. It's that simple, and I shouldn't be ashamed of it.