The Experience of Taking Psychiatric Medications
I was afraid to try it because I was ashamed of what people would think of me if they found out…
“I hate him because he’s always so freakin’ happy… Always smiling that cheesy smile…” It’s hard to see others be so naturally happy when you’re just naturally sad. It all seems like it’s some crazy fantasy; to imagine being that happy is a possibility for everyone… but me? Why do I need help with it more than others do?
It’s obvious that there is a stigma surrounding using psychiatric medications. Movies often portray those with mental illness as people who cannot function “normally” in society and that we all belong in some asylum. I’m here to tell you that there are many high-functioning people with mental illness, that’s to include myself. Am I high-functioning? I’m not really sure, I just want to feel special. Regardless of that, I take medications and I’m no longer ashamed. I’ll take my gigantic pill, very neatly organized pill box to work and pop it like it’s nothing.
When you have cramps, or you strain a muscle, it’s so easily asked, “do you want some Ibuprofen?” or “do you want a Tylenol?” When someone has a heart issue, it’s easy to place them on blood thinners or blood pressure medications. All of which can be lethal in increased doses. So why is it odd to hear that someone is on a medication that affects their brain? Why are we suddenly treated like delicate flowers that will wither as soon as something presses against it?
I take a couple of different medications that help control my mood and the symptoms that I get from my illnesses. I’ve had to trial and error with other medications because some would make me feel sluggish, others would make me feel sick to my stomach, and others made my depression and mood swings much worse. I feel like I’ve reached a point where I can take them without feeling awful.
These things take time to make any change. You start at low doses and work your way up to what helps you best. It’s very important to not abruptly stop taking the medications because the repercussions could be much worse than the original signs and symptoms of your illness. If you’re at your wits end with your mental illness, don’t feel shameful to ask your psychiatrist about medications that could best help you.
There’s nothing wrong with taking medications. It just means you’re intelligent enough to use the resources provided to you to help you feel a little bit better each day.
I ask that if I know you personally, to please do your best not to treat me differently. I have put myself out there bare bones to try and help reduce the stigma around mental illness. I have already accepted the fact that some of you cannot help it, so if that’s the case, please do not talk to me about it.