5 Reasons I'm Grateful for My Depression and Anxiety Medication

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

There is still a lot of stigma associated with ongoing medical treatment for depression and anxiety. As someone who has been prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications for the last 12 months, I have had to face my own prejudice more than anyone else’s. I face it each morning when I wonder if I’ll be popping pills for the rest of my life.

“Popping pills.” 

I think the negative association is baked into that phrase. Drug addicts and people wanting quick fixes “pop pills.” People struggling with long term mental illness do not. But as a community, we are often placed, or place ourselves, in the same category.

After the highs and lows of adjusting to multiple medications to find one that suited me, I have had continual epiphanies about my journey and medication. Here they are.

1. I have a genuine need for this medication.

On mornings when I take my dose out of routine, I feel my panic and demons roaring as they stir from their slumber. It’s only when I experience this that I realize how good a job the meds do and I am grateful.

2. How my wife looks at me.

I see now how much pain and concern has been in her eyes for the last 2 years, because I see them sparkle now. I see her smiling affectionately, I see her love, her relief, her joy at seeing “me” back and I am grateful.

3. I have the stability and strength to keep learning.

A therapist once told me that antidepressants help you see past an obstacle while you work through the challenge it presents. I now see how true that is. Every day I am applying the learnings of my therapy and I am growing and I am grateful.

4. I’m learning how much depression and anxiety have been a part of my life.

I always knew I was a deep thinking and sensitive character with a propensity to worry. I didn’t appreciate how much depression and anxiety has always been a part of that. How everything in my life affected my self-perception so deeply, but it’s not supposed to be that way. This week, having had a tough few days at work, I realized I felt OK and it was just a tough few days. I realized I had never felt this way before, and for that I am grateful.

5. Depression and anxiety have affected decision making for half my life.

Sometimes for the better, because those gruesome foes force you to try harder and achieve more. But a lot of times they force you into numbness, they make you skip corners because you’re going to fail anyway, make you lose sight of what matters to you and to others. They make you keep pushing and questioning when you could have or should have stopped. I still have much work to do here, but I know I need to and for that, I am grateful.

So much of these learnings comes down to absence of what came before and a dawning realization of how far depression and anxiety have stretched in my life; for how long they have been a problem, despite only being diagnosed 15 months ago.

If you take meds for any condition and they are helping you, instead of doubt or shame, be proud! You are taking control of your life as best you can and that’s all any if us can do.

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