Every so often, there’s a conversation on social media about whether to take medication for various things. Contraception and mental illness are the two main topics, but I wanted to share my experience and thoughts about medication for mental health.
History of My Medication
I was first put on antidepressants when I was 14.
My best friend died and I just couldn’t cope. I was a rollercoaster of emotions, way more lows and loop-the-loops than I’d like to admit, but the truth was that I needed help.
I was given a low dose of citalopram and referred to counselling, which was actually brilliant. I spent an hour or so every week with a really nice guy who wore light denim jeans and walking boots, and he let me do what I needed to. Sometimes, it was drawing, sometimes I would sit there with a cup of tea and cry.
When our sessions ended, I felt ready to deal with the world and I was eased off the medication.
I was on the again when I was 20 to help cope with my eating disorder.
I was diagnosed with what I call my Triad; anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphia. I wasn’t considered ‘sick enough’ for therapy (don’t even get me started…) so I was given medication and told to go it alone.
I would wake up, take my antidepressant and my contraceptive pill and feel like I was in control of my life again. My eating disorder was about control and taking the pills was my way of taking back control.
I was eased off the medication and I had a new lease of life.
I’ve been on and off tablets for the past couple of years. At the start of 2018, I was really low and put back on the medication. I decided that I was too important to be struggling under the weight of my mental illness and started to find reasons to be alive.
Again I was eased off the medication to try and continue my life.
At the start of 2019, I had a breakdown. Major breakdown. I went to A&E and was sent away. A week later, I was taken back to A&E by ambulance and admitted to the Psychiatric Decision Unit because I was a danger to myself.
My current dosage is the highest I’ve ever had.
It’s been increased twice and I’ve been referred to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to try and nip this in the bud because the medication itself isn’t enough.
I cannot function right now without medication. That’s a fact. Even with the medication, I have mood swings; highs and lows that take me by surprise.
I had a wonderful night with a guy and he is the sweetest thing, but the next day I was hit by such a dark wave that I had to stay in bed to keep myself from crumbling under the weight.
It’s Not Just Feeling Sad
If I see one more person say something like “they ran out of my favourite coffee, I was so depressed” then I might actually scream.
Depression isn’t just feeling sad sometimes. For me, it’s not being to control my happiness; it’s waking up and feeling like you’re drowning; it’s being with your friends and suddenly not being able to stay in the same room because you don’t feel worthy.
Yes, I use the word ‘sad’ to describe how I feel because sometimes I am just really really sad.
I actually look like Spongebob a lot of the time, if I allow myself. I will sit on the sofa and just let myself be sad. There’s no particular reason why I’m sad, my brain has just decided that there’s not enough serotonin today.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is if you need medication to help get you through the day, take it! Sometimes we need a helping hand and it’s totally ok.