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What Happened When I Quit Mental Health Medication for My Appearance


Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line19 by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

I remember my first mood stabilizer vividly. I remember it so well because of the experience it gave me — one that unfortunately scarred my already hurting mind.

Try explaining to a teenage girl that she is going to have to take medication that is going to improve her mind but will change her body for the worst. In four short months, I had gone from a bundle of mania and depression to an extremely stable version of myself. This version of myself was heavier, with skin so bad it bled and created open sores. I looked in the mirror, and although my mind was clear I was so sad by what I saw. I almost wished my mind was full of wandering thoughts so that I wouldn’t be able to focus on how much I had changed. As someone who regularly attended the gym and ate a healthy diet, the feeling of defeat was more than I can explain. And so, after several months of mental stability, I weighed my pros and cons and I decided that in today’s society I would rather be beautiful than sane. 

How sad it this? That I would throw away my mental wellness to feel desirable and worthy again? I won’t lie; it worked. In two months, I had already lost the weight I’d gained and the weight continued to fall off. The weight disappeared almost as quickly as my mental clarity. I continued to lie to myself every day, telling myself I felt fine, when my mind was a mess of a million emotions. My mania reappeared in full vengeance, as if it was angry at me for making it abandon my body in the first place. I knew I was sick, but I didn’t care because I felt beautiful again. As I sit here writing these words, I realize how twisted this train of thought is. In today’s world, so many people will truly sacrifice anything to be “beautiful” enough, to feel wanted.

I am here to tell you that no matter what you do or how beautiful you may feel, it will never be enough. It will never be enough to sacrifice your well-being and your happiness. I have gone off and back onto medication more times than I can count. Every time I have come off medication, it has been for the sole purpose of losing weight or clearing up my skin. Every single time, I have backed myself into a dark corner and have brought on more pain than one should ever be faced with.

Unfortunately, this is a battle you are going to lose every single time you embark on it. I have learned there are more important things than being a certain weight or a certain size, and yes — one of those things is being stable and happy. I have given up on trying to fit a certain mold; instead, I am embracing every curve and crevasse of my body. You will learn to love yourself, and with that, you will find someone who loves you for you. A real relationship based on love rather than shallow encounters. You will love, and laugh, and thrive, but you need to trust me and accept the help a few little pills give you. It may not seem that important at first, but I am promising you it is the difference between existing and truly living.

Getty Images photo via nensuria