The Mighty Logo

In Defense of Those Who Choose Antidepressants

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

It’s strange the things that trigger our smallness, our anxiety, our deepest fears — isn’t it?

Today a friend posted that she is off of antidepressants. Yay! I was seriously so happy for her. She’s worked hard to get to this place.

I commented on her status that I am currently on medication, but would like to get off of it soon. It seems frightening though, to try to wean myself off of that tiny white pill. I only take the lowest available dose, but it keeps the Black Beast at bay and the thought of going without it is frightening.

So, other friend, a good, kind person, posted that her husband is off antidepressants, too. Of course she’s proud. Their family has gone through so much. But, then came a comment that hit my heart hard. She said that “it’s all about how you work through the bad days.” Which is certainly true, we have to learn to deal with the bad days. What my heart, the one that has dealt with depression and anxiety since my early teenage years, heard however was that because I have chosen a few times in my life to take antidepressants — I am weak. That’s not what she meant, of course, but that was what my demons decided to whisper to me.

I just must say as one who has weathered post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety for over 20 years, sometimes antidepressants are necessary. In fact, they saved my life more than once — when I was suicidal after being raped as a teenager, and when I had severe postpartum depression/anxiety/psychosis after my middle child was born. I truly believe I would not be here if is weren’t for the assistance of an SSRI (a type of antidepressant that works well for me). If I had an issue that wasn’t related to mental health, people would come out screaming if I tried to wing it med-free. However, if we take antidepressants we are deemed weak.

I say that equating necessary medication with weakness is absolute nonsense.

There are certainly times that people can go without such meds to manage their mental health. However, there are many times that they are needed for survival. Clinical depression is so much more than managing a “bad day.” Somedays I fight like hell simply to get out of bed and to go out in the world when the Black Beast looms over me. I lose control over my thoughts, my body, my relationships and my life. I start to think about ending it all. It’s incredibly scary.

So, I’m posting here just to give a voice to someone who needs a pill to make it through the day right now. I won’t be on this med for life. In fact, the vast majority of my life has been med-free. But, I need it right now and that doesn’t make me weaker than you because you can weather your bad days without a pill.

Depression isn’t a “bad day,” it’s a life-stealer. A demon that can steal everything from you so quickly, it takes your breath away.  

I stand here tall and say that I’m living my life with bravery, pill a day or not.

I stand here telling you that my medication saved my life.

I stand here asking you to have some compassion for those of us who are fighting to step out of the darkness, one step at a time.

I stand here with clinical depression and anxiety, still choosing to use my life to help others even when the Black Beast wants me to be silenced by the darkness.

I stand here in defense of those who need antidepressants to survive. We are not alone and we will not be shamed.

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

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Originally published: December 8, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home