2016 was the year I finally made the decision to try medication for my mental illness. I’d been in therapy for a full year and it had helped tremendously, but I was still lacking the serotonin needed to make any real progress. I did a ton of research, asked as many professionals for their input as possible, and cried a lot.
The whole process was very overwhelming for me due to one question. What does this decision say about me?
Nearly three years later I am still on medication and have made peace with my treatment. I have discovered what medication means for me and other people that choose to use it to help them through their daily lives. People like you.
And here you are. You’ve decided to or are seriously considering taking medication for your mental illness. I know you’ve been thinking about this for a long time and still probably aren’t thrilled about the idea of taking pills. You’re conflicted because you want to be strong enough to deal with this on your own. You want to be able to pull yourself out of the clutches of mental illness. But here’s the thing, you can’t and that’s OK. It doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, recognizing and admitting you need extra help makes you incredibly strong. You’re brave enough to acknowledge that, yes, medication is new and intimidating for you, but your happiness is worth facing your fear.
Medication is a small part of your life that can have a big impact. It will give you the foundation to have healthy thought processes that seemed impossible before. It will open the door to positive coping mechanisms. It will have a great impact on the relationships in your life, allowing relief for both you and the people that love you. Choosing to take medication means you want a happy, well-balanced life for you and your loved ones. You no longer want to endure the guilt that comes with your illness and you don’t want your loved ones feeling guilty for not being able to help the way they wish they could. This is not to say that anyone with mental illness is a burden, as that is far from the truth. But if you live with an illness, you know guilt is an all too familiar feeling that comes with it.
This is not a decision you’ve taken lightly. I know that if you’re thinking about taking this road, it’s because you’ve been struggling for a long time. You’ve been to therapy, to doctors, and had a million tear-filled 3 a.m. phone calls with your best friend. It’s not all in your head. This was by no means an overnight decision for you. You’ve been living in a black and white world for some time and you just need a little help bringing color back into your life.
As a reminder, starting medication does not mean you should stop therapy. Therapy is an amazing tool that keeps you on track with your goals and allows you to keep a close eye on your thought processes. I encourage everyone, struggling with mental illness or not, to give therapy a try. While medication gives you the boost you need for your journey, therapy gives you the road map. You can beat this. Mental illness is part of your life, not the whole story.
People outside the world of mental illness may have their opinions, but you can’t let that influence the choices you make for YOUR health. Your mental health dictates how you see the world and live your life. And while the world can be a scary place, it is also beautiful and full of magic. You deserve to see the full spectrum of what life has to offer and your decision to medicate will allow you to do that. Everyone outside your care team and support system is irrelevant.
I am proud of you for choosing health, happiness, and hope. Congratulations on your new chapter of life. Stick with it. You’re going to go so far and do so many amazing things. Thank you for sticking around and choosing to fight. The world is a better place for having you in it.