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Why I Choose to Take Medications for My Mental Health

Okay, I’ll say it - I take antidepressants. Whenever I tell people I take mental health medications, they often respond by saying that they understand my desire to take them, but they just don’t want to be on medications themselves. But why not? What’s wrong with taking medications for your mental health, if you take them for your physical health? If you broke your leg, you’d most likely take pain medications to help manage the pain. When you have a cold, you probably take cold medicine to help you feel better. And I’m sure most people you know fill some kind of prescription at the pharmacy every month. The issue is that people view mental health medications negatively when they do the same thing, but for your brain.

I started seeing a psychiatrist because I decided I needed to do more to help myself. After trying therapy alone for a year and still not feeling like myself, I knew I needed to seek other help. At the time, I lost interest in the things I loved doing the most, and I had no desire to do anything in general. I found myself accidentally isolating myself from others because it felt like just too much work to text back. I was exhausted all of the time, even though I was sleeping 11 hours a day. I just wanted to feel like myself again, because I knew that how I felt was just not right. I finally realized: just talking with a therapist will not fix my brain chemistry. Although my therapist is wonderful and has taught me some great tools to use when I’m feeling down or anxious, I need to help my brain function properly.

Antidepressants are not “happy pills”. This is a stigmatizing phrase that I hear all the time - it’s based on the incorrect assumption that depression is just being sad about something. The thing is, I’m not depressed “about” anything, my brain just doesn’t make the right amount of neurotransmitters, and as a result I feel really offbeat and low. By balancing your neurotransmitters, they can boost your energy, help you sleep better, increase appetite, and improve your concentration. Naturally, these improvements can elevate your mood.

If you or someone you love needs them to function, that’s okay. Never feel shame, or shame others, for taking medications for their mental health, because it’s just as normal as taking medications for physical ailments. Just because you can’t see a mental illness, that does not mean it is an invalid illness. Mental health is part of your overall health, afterall!. I’ve seen videos on Twitter or YouTube of people throwing out their medications and encouraging others to do the same and saying things like, “you don’t need these!”. Not only is it extremely dangerous to encourage people to stop taking their medications without a doctor’s instructions, but let’s be real, it’s okay if you do need them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing a medication to live life normally.

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