Many people who suffer from mental health problems tend to be judged or put off by medication because society looks at them as being ‘crazy’ or ‘mental’. You’re seen as not being stable and relying on a tablet to keep you sane. At the end of the day, everyone has problems within their life, but some suffer more than others. Now I hate the word ‘suffer’ because it sounds like I’m chronically dying and can’t cope from day to day. You know what? Fuck stigma, I’m on antidepressants. So what?
It feels as if those of us on these ‘happy pills’ are made to feel ashamed but why should we be silenced to an issue that millions of people suffer from? You have a cough, cold, or infection and you get antibiotics to treat it. So how come if you have an illness that isn’t visible then you are viewed differently? The vicious cycle of society.
Despite attending many counselling appointments and trying out cognitive behavioural therapy along with many relaxation techniques, I still found myself spiralling downwards into this mindset where things were becoming worse. I couldn’t attend college, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t leave the house. I was struggling so hard with anxiety disorder, and because I started off with the children’s counselling service, medication was not an option. It’s protocol for staff within the NHS to not prescribe medication to children unless it’s a last resort.
Of course, I 100% understand this, but I feel as if you’re on the other side of the spectrum, heading towards adulthood (let’s say between 16-18), then you should be listened to with more detail. These are supposed to be the most important years of your life after all, and the amount of pressure put on this age group is beyond ridiculous.
Skip to a year and a half after trying every possible relaxation technique, and I get put on an antidepressant called Sertraline. I rely on this little tablet every morning, and it makes me live a happy, normal life, and I am able to do the things that I did before. Including managing to study Health and Social Care. I’m so thankful to my psychiatrist who listened to me and guided me through the medication process. She made me feel like it was nothing to be afraid of and actually believed in me. If it wasn’t for her, I honestly don’t know where I would be today.
When people don’t have a mental illness, they don’t realise how amazing it is to feel good again. I appreciated how easy it was to get out of bed again and my mind began to clear. I felt like the old me, and I thought that was never going to return. Sertraline is a SSRI which is able to increase levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that carries signals between brain cells. Sertraline is able to block the reabsorption in the brain which makes serotonin available and is able to ease anxiety, depression and OCD.
Medication doesn’t work for everyone but it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone will have moments in life where things are terrible and the medication doesn’t have to be forever. Antidepressants don’t make you a boring individual, you still have the same personality, quirkiness and individuality. You’re still you, but you feel even better. And that’s what is important right?
So, fuck the stigma.