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Why There's Nothing Wrong With Taking Medication for Mental Illness

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When I first started medication for my depression, I hated it. 

I was 14 and not keen on the idea of being “dependent” on a drug for the rest of my life.

Bipolar delusions tried to convince me that I was smart enough to rewire my mind just by thinking hard enough about it. Needless to say, that didn’t work.

When I gave in and started taking my medication regularly, my mood improved. The dark cloud of suicidal thoughts and self-loathing lifted. I began to pick up discarded hobbies and socialize more. 

There have been a couple times as an adult when I went off of my meds. I was hopeless and did not care what happened. Each and every time, my emotions became too intense. Nothing could pull me out of the shadows for long. I either had to drop out of school, quit my job or even check myself into a hospital.

I have had some acquaintances over the years (and plenty of strangers on Facebook) tell me that medication is not necessary. It’s a con by Big Pharma to rip me off and extort my ignorance. Natural remedies like meditation, healthy eating, exercise and supplements were all I needed. 

Oh, if only that were true. 

I have given plenty of effort into each of those areas. Because only I am in my head and only I can feel what my brain is feeling, trust me when I say they are not enough. 

My body simply does not have the resources to stave off depression on its own. It certainly cannot manage mania by itself. And just because I got my happy mood from a pill doesn’t mean I’m getting an inferior kind of happiness. The brain doesn’t care what delivers the right chemistry, as long as it arrives. It’s the same or similar procedure healthier brains make — mine just happens to be weaker than others and needs some assistance. 

For some reason, some people like to tell others how to live their lives. Whether it is coming from a place of concern or ridicule, the result is the same. The recipient gets annoyed, and the teller becomes a jerk in their eyes.

I’m glad you care. I’m delighted that you know some stuff. I’m not interested in your advice unless you’re my doctor, however.

So the next time you’re tempted to criticize my medicine and offer an alternative, kindly change the topic to cinema or music. I’d be fine hearing your opinions on the latest “Star Wars” film or EDM album. Tell me about those.

Follow this journey on, or on Facebook.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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

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 Image via Tom Varco/Wikimedia Commons

Originally published: June 21, 2017
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