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Wil Wheaton's Metaphor for Taking Antidepressants Is Spot On


Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

There are a lot of misconceptions about taking medication to manage depression. Some assume antidepressants are simply “happy pills,” while others think all antidepressants make you devoid of feeling. For those who find antidepressants helpful, medication can be a good weapon against depression. No one should be ashamed of using a tool that works for them.

But not everyone understands this — and it can be hard to explain why medication is an important part of your mental health treatment. In an interview with The Star, “Big Bang Theory” and “Star Trek” actor Wil Wheaton offered a metaphor that might help.

I realized I had been living my whole life inside a really loud, dark room. Seeing a doctor and taking medication allowed me to see the exits from that room, and being treated allowed me to walk through that door and get out of that loud room.

Wheaton told The Star he was officially diagnosed with depression and an anxiety disorder two years ago. Since his diagnosis, the actor has been more open about his mental illness, talking about his experience in a video for Project UR OK. In the video, he offered a similar metaphor and described what it felt like when his medication started working for the first time.

After I started treatment, my wife and I were just having a walk in the neighborhood, and I realized that it was a really beautiful day. And it was warm. And there was this wonderful little bit of a breeze. And birds sounded really beautiful. And flowers smelled really great. And my wife’s hand felt really good in my hand. And we’re walking and I just started to cry, and she was like, ‘What’s wrong?’ And I said, ‘I just realized that I don’t feel bad. I just realized I’m not existing, I’m living.’

Whether or not medication is the right choice for you, we hope everyone who struggles with depression gets a moment like this. Don’t let anyone, especially yourself, say you don’t deserve it.

Lead image via Wikimedia Commons