Why I Am No Longer Ashamed to Take Medication for My Anxiety

Freshman year of high school, my anxiety hit me pretty hard. This was the time I was actually diagnosed, but I knew years before I was different.

I never realized how much could actually change in one year. In this year, I lost many people I thought were friends. Some days, I looked in the mirror, and I couldn’t even find myself. Pushing people away seemed to be the only thing I was good at.

When my parents decided to put me in therapy, it was their last resort. I wasn’t going to school, and all I remember doing was sleeping. That was the only time when I couldn’t feel. This sleep wasn’t because I was physically tired but because I was mentally done. The hardest thing you will ever have to do is fight with your own mind.

From the the moment I started therapy, they offered medicine. I thought taking medicine would make me weak. I wanted to be able to fix myself without their help. At this time, I thought I was alone. I was always reminded that others were facing the same battles. Yet, when you’re this far down, you think they’re lying. It was hard to put faith in others when I couldn’t even put faith in myself.

From the help of my therapist and my support system, I learned ways to cope. These mostly included breathing exercises. I knew what my triggers were so I knew exactly when I would have a panic attack. When I did start to panic, I would start my breathing and think of a happy place. I was able to distract my mind through music, dance and art. I was able to express my feelings, and I became more open to what I was going through. I was no longer afraid of being what I used to think was “different.”

I’m now in my third year of college, and recently, my anxiety attacks have gotten bad again. I knew they were getting out of control when I could barely make it through a workday or class. I even was getting them while doing the things I loved, like hanging with my friends or family. They became more severe. I didn’t know why they were happening. These attacks were so hard to make it through. Most days, I had more than one attack.

I waited until they got so bad that I couldn’t go to work. I didn’t go to school. Most days, I didn’t even leave my bed. I just didn’t want to go on any longer. I decided to go back to a therapist, and this time, I wanted medicine.

When I received the prescription, it took me three weeks to even try them. It took this long because I was scared. I didn’t want to have to rely on these pills to make me “normal.” I feared becoming addicted to them.

I’m sharing this story because I know others may fear trying medicine. For me, they are helping. I try not to take them much. I only take them when I cannot control my anxiety.

For anyone who feels like a failure like I did, here’s the reality: People take medication every day. Some people have to take certain pills to keep them alive. If you needed to take a medicine to stay alive, wouldn’t you? Well why not try taking medicine that will help you feel more alive? Don’t be ashamed for taking something that will help you.

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