I’m back, world. On another mild rant, with awareness-spreading motives. Mental Health is huuuuuge. The effects it has on people, is actually phenomenal. The issue though, is the utter lack of conversation about these things. Words like ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ can silence a room sometimes, but why?? We should not be feeling awkward using these words, we should feel unbelievably proud for sharing an incredibly challenging and painful part of our life.
So, I’m back here again, talking mental health. This time, I’ll be talking about medication, stereotypes, and why it can actually be the best fit for an individual.
So here are three stereotypes, I’m going to clamp down on.
1. All mental health problems can be dealt with therapy and therapy alone.
**Okay, I just wanted to start this by saying that for some people, medication is simply not needed, they are able to cope with their issues through therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am also not saying that medication is the answer and will be the answer to all your mental health issues. Often, there is a deeper issue behind these issues, which can be dealt with through therapy, but medication is a way to regulate to do so.**
If you read my last post, you will know that I had quite a big mental breakdown earlier this year. And honestly, I can say that I would not be in the place I am today without medication. It massively helped me in two key ways. The first, is the fact that it induces sleep, which I needed because, I did not sleep for about 4 nights straight, it also helps to regulate appetite, which at the time was very small and irregular. The second way it helped me, was by bringing me down to a lower level of anxiety and depression. Without this, I definitely would not have been able to resolve the deeper issues behind my anxiety and depression.
I would also like to add, that I know several people, who only need medication and that’s it. There is a simple irregularity in their brain chemistry, usually linked with the serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters. Therapy is not for everyone, some people will try all different types of therapies and find it does not help one little bit.
2. Once you are on (mental health) medication, you are on it for life.
You’ve heard the statistic, 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems, we all know it’s 4 in 4 people, but that’s exactly the point. I guarantee that all of you reading this know at least one person who has experienced/is experiencing a mental health problem, however brief or long. Taking that decision to go on medication is not a rash decision that one should make, you are on it usually for minimum 3-6 months I say (don’t hold that against me, it truly depends on the individual). I have been on anti-depressants for about 5 months now and I am so thankful for it.
I remember when I had been experiencing lower levels of anxiety and depression before my breakdown, many people told me all the classic lines like: “Therapy will do it, don’t put toxins in your body” Erm that’s just wrong, smoking puts toxins in your body, medication is supposed to help you reach a normalised level. One of my favourites definitely has to be “You just need to keep thinking positive thoughts”, also I’ve had the whole “you’re so young” shpiel, like there’s this belief that because I am young, I am completely devoid from getting any mental health challenge in my life and that I “simply have nothing to worry about.”
Back to the point, being on medication isn’t a life-long sentence, it’s a helping hand to get you to a place in your life where you feel able to cope with life and push through challenges that would have been way worse without medication.
3. Mental health medication completely destroys your personality.
Okay, so I know people who have expressed this to me about friends and family members whose personality has been distorted whilst taking medication, but on the whole, medication has actually helped saved the lives of many an individual.
I just want to say that taking medication has changed my life for the better. I was at an event recently sitting with some friends, we were all discussing mental health stigma towards medication, then somehow at around the same time, we all said that we were on medication. It was such an amazing moment for me, to be surrounded by people living life better whilst being on medication.
Medication has not affected who I am as a person, it has made me a stronger and calmer person. It has actually driven me to beat this with the belief that I am not defined by my anxiety and depression. I am a more well-rounded person for having been hit hard in January and to still be here in one piece in June, having gotten through my first exam season since the breakdown. I just want to say that, I am not trying to glorify medication, it’s not the answer and it’s not for everyone, there are little side effects, which are usually minuscule, but overall, it has truly helped me to be the person I want to be. I am determined to fight for increased discussion over mental health and to get rid of these stigmas entrenched in society.