Category Archives: Depression

Mental Health Month Musing

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I will have to take medication for the rest of my life

And I’m okay with that

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The stigma of mental health is slowly decaying

But it’s still there

The stigma around taking psychotropic medications is especially stubborn

Yes, there are those who are overly eager to medicate

But the shame of “resorting” to taking medication seems to reside with more than not

I’m a therapist, I hear it all the time

So many of my clients will finally feel the relief that comes with much needed medication, but in the same breath ask, “So when can I get off of it?”

Or “I don’t want to be dependent on a pill to make me feel better”

I understand that medication has historically been over prescribed and abused

I get that taking a pill to help keep your mental well being sucks

I know the host of side effects that come with many of the medications

But in my personal experience, it is so worth it

You ask, “How do you know you will have to take medication for the rest of your life?”

I’ll tell you

Besides the fact that I was practically born depressed,  I experienced something called “Prozac poop out” (when the medication suddenly stops working for you) several years ago

It was during a time when I had been taking my medication successfully for a couple of years

It had been a calm and restorative period for me

My marriage at the time was steady and supportive

I was not overly stressed out by work

Finances were not a source of concern

I was in therapy and had been working on repairing my wounds

Life was good

Then my medication stopped working

My depression returned with a vengence

I didn’t realize it at first

It began as a slow digression back into the fog I had forgotten

I simply took it as one of my occasional depressive dips (you still have episodes, even on medication, they are just usually less frequent and severe)

As I waited for it to pass, it simply got worse

It got to the point where I was crying uncontrollably for no reason at all, all the time

I had a physical pain in my body from the emotional toll I was carrying

I had no motivation to do anything

There were times when my mind was screaming, but I could not even muster up the will to speak, so I would sit in numb silence for hours, even as my then wife tried to coax any sound out of me

I was a shell of a person

It was a reminder of the black and white life I had left behind before I sought out treatment

Fortunately, both me and my then wife figured out that it was time to see my psychiatrist and after a medication change, another medication change, a dose change, and another dose change, I got back to feeling like a human again

You see, medication for me has been much like the part in Wizard of Oz where Dorothy lands in Oz for the first time and everything slowly goes from being back and white to technicolor

When your brain doesn’t produce or retain enough of the right chemicals, all the therapy in the world can’t help you the way that medication can

That is my reality

If you need medication to help you live a full and healthy life, so be it

Who cares what people say?

They don’t have to live in your mind, so they don’t count

I’m no more dependent on Prozac than someone with diabetes is on insulin

Why is it more acceptable to take medication for our bodies, but not our minds?

As an agent of mental health wellness, I witness first hand the transformative healing that therapy and/or psychotropic medications can have on someone’s life

More importantly, I’ve lived it

So I know

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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