My Guilty Relationship with Medication

TW: depression, anxiety, medication, s*icide

I’ve been taking antidepressants for a while now. It’s not a dirty secret; I don’t go screaming it from the rooftops, but it’s a key part of my mental health journey, that I’m not against sharing with people if the topic arises.

Hell, when thinking about it now, a lot of my close friends and family have had some experience with medication, but have always felt too shy to talk about it until I was willing to start that conversation. Despite all this, and the positive effects my meds have had on my life, I still feel that innate shame for having to take them to function.

My medication is integral to my daily life. I am one hundred percent certain that I am reliant on them to get me through the day. From having the motivation to actually get out of bed in the morning (pro-tip: set a medication alarm and keep your tablets far from your bed to force you to get up. Works every time), to being able to step outside and actually interact with people.

I’m a uni student and I work in retail; a lot of my life I interact with people I don’t know, something that completely terrified me before starting my medication. They’ve undoubtedly changed my life for the better, literally pulling me back from the brink of just giving up and ending it all. Allowing me the time and space to heal and pull myself back together, and I’m hugely thankful for that. But it’s this reliance on them that makes me feel so shameful, even if it’s an unjustified and unfounded shame. Why doesn’t my brain want to work without them? Why can’t I be like the other people in my life that don’t need a tiny seemingly insignificant little pill just to give them the boost to face even the smallest task? My relationship with my meds is an uneasy one; I’m not afraid to tell people that I’m on them, and I recognise those kind of conversations are hugely important to normalising depression, anxiety and medication, but I can’t help but feel guilty for having to be on them in the first place.

I don’t want to have to be reliant on a tablet everyday for the rest of my life to get my brain to function normally. I know this stems from the classic independent stubborn mentality of not wanting to need help from anyone, which I’m sure many of us suffer from, and I know I should be proud of myself for getting this far with asking for help with my mental health in the first place. I see all the great posts that say stuff like ‘Don’t be embarrassed about your mental health!’ or ‘You’re valid no matter what!’, but sometimes they just aren’t enough to make me feel good about taking my meds. I can’t help but feel a little bit weaker because of it, and that’s okay! It’s okay to have those sad moments, even if I wish I didn’t have them, I feel that they’re a natural side effect of being on antidepressants, or any kind of medication for that matter. Some days I am massively appreciative of my therapist for recommending me to take this path of mental health recovery, and other days I just want to cry for having to be so reliant on them. It’s a tumultuous relationship for sure, but one I know that is certainly key to my even still being here today, writing this article.

Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Rocha Rios (via Unsplash)

2 comments

  1. Thank you for being so open about your journey! I would like to think society is moving in the right direction in terms of acceptance of those of us who are open about the fact we take medication. When I went to college the first time, I was scared about anyone knowing. As a teacher, I speak to so many more about the antidepressants they take.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing this – I share many of your feelings on the experience. I started taking anti-depressants at 17 but felt a lot of shame about it (both internally and from family members) so I stopped after only a few weeks. Then I began taking them again at uni when I was 20, and it made such a difference to my mental health. I still take them today and still have mixed feelings about it now and then, but on the whole, I’m very grateful for them and am trying to be more open about it. x

    Like

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