One thing that has such a damaging stigma surrounding it is taking medication for your mental health. I’m sick of seeing posts like, “Pills aren’t medication, nature is!!!” with some picture of a forest. I do like nature and I do think that being outside does help me sometimes, but what about the times when I feel to anxious to even leave my bed? Or when I spend some time inside alone looking after myself or catching up on things I’ve been putting off? I can’t just go for a walk and my mental illnesses will be magically cured. If it was that easy, I’m sure I would have done that by now!
Medication has saved lives throughout history – in both physical and mental health related illnesses. Why do people think that it’s okay to belittle people who take medication for their mental health? Society needs to stop dismissing and trivialising the seriousness of mental illness.
When I first got put on antidepressants I was making myself feel worse for not being able to cope with things on my own, without medication. I’ve skipped my medication before because I’ve been convinced that they aren’t doing anything or are just a placebo. This is all thanks to the stigma surrounding taking medication for your mental health. The reality is, my medication helps me function everyday. I am not weak for needing medication, my brain just needs a little help with the whole serotonin thing. (And I’m not gonna go into the science behind it all) I am not broken or needing to be fixed. I am just unwell and my medication gives me a little helping hand on my journey to feeling better.
On the occasions that I have skipped my medication I realised just how important they are. With SSRI medications, suddenly stopping your intake of the meds can send your head a bit funny (and not in a good way) I felt more anxious and depressed than I have done in a long time. It’s such a misconception that medication are “happy pills” that you take and are instantly feeling better. I think I assumed for that to happen and I didn’t realise how better functioning I had become thanks to my medication.
I have been on three different SSRI medications and a lot of people find that they have to try a few different medications before they find one that’s good for them. So your experiences with one medication won’t be the same as someone else’s experiences with that medication. I do think that by opening up the conversation about personal experiences with medication starts a much needed conversation about how helpful medication has been to people.
So to people who do take medication for their mental health, remember: you are not weak and shouldn’t feel bad for having to take medication! And don’t let anyone make you feel bad for moving forward on your journey to recovery!
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