You guys probably know most of my story by now. I’ve been pretty open about it.
You guys know that in 2010, when I was fourteen years old, I was diagnosed with anorexia. You guys know that I sought help properly for my eating disorder almost two years ago to the day. You guys know that I have been diagnosed and treated for a variety of mental health problems including anxiety and depression.
But there’s something that you might not know about me. There’s a part of my recovery process that I haven’t written about much, not on purpose but it’s just been the way it is.
There’s one part of my treatment that has been crucial for me since the very beginning.
There are many different ways of treating mental illness. There are many different types of treatments you may need to use simultaneously to get the results you need.
Therpay, of course. Change to diet and exercise, also helpful.
But there’s something we often skirt around delicately and that’s the subject of medication.
Medication has been part of my mental health treatment program for about six years now Every day I take my medication after I wake up. Every single day.
I’m not ashamed about it in the slighest. I never have been. I have always, always been open and transperant with my family and friends about it. I’ve never been embarrassed about it. I’ve never shied away from talking about it. And that’s because I know that it’s important for my wellbeing. It helps keep my brain functioning “normally”. It helps to fix the imbalance of chemicals in my brain and it has for six years.
When I was in the early years of primary school I used to get these horrific ear infections. Middle ear infections. My temperature would go through the roof and my parents had to take me to the doctor in the middle of the night a few times because I was so unwell. My doctor would presribe me some antibiotics and I’d be off on my merry way. It was something I had to do to get better. Without those antibiotics my ear infection would have gotten worse, caused me more pain and suffering down the track.
I look at my current meds in a similar fashion. They’re kind of like the antibiotics I needed when I was five and struggling with that middle ear infection. They are there to help fix the problem. To rebalance those chemicals and calm the chaos going on in my brain.
That’s not to say that medication is the only solution or should be the only solution because it’s not. It’s just a piece in the puzzle that you may need to help you get back on track. To help your brain get back to normal whilst you get the therapy and psychiatric help you need. I was attending intense and regular therapy sessions before and after I was prescribed my medication.
Not everyone’s journey with medication is easy. I’ve been really lucky. Mine started helping pretty much straight away and I had no noticeable short or long term side effects. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for everyone. For some people, it takes weeks or months to find the right dosage. Some people may need to try a few different types of medication to find the right one.
But fear of the potential side effects should not be preventing you from seeking the treatment that could potentially change your life. The fear of what people might say or think should not be stopping you from getting the help you need.
There is no doubt in my mind that medication has helped alter the course of my life. It helped to clear the cloud I couldn’t seem to shake no matter how hard I tried to think positive thoughts. It helped make me more receptive to the therapy I was receiving.
Sometimes, if I’m being truthful, it’s a pain in the ass having to remember to take it every day. Sometimes it sucks having to remember to refill my prescription or go to my doctor every month for a new one. But just as a diabetic needs to take their insulin, I need to take my medication to help my brain out. And there should never, ever be any shame attached to that.