Why I Chose Not to Medicate My Depression
I remember the feeling of standing in my dorm room at 19 years old and wanting to end my life. I didnâ€™t have strong relationships with anyone and I felt worthless. I could be in a room of people and still feel alone. It was an awful feeling coupled with unbelievably high levels of anxiety. I was either shaking or completely numb and still. I called the school’s emergency hotline that day. Something inside me wasnâ€™t ready to commit to the permanency of death. The school psychologist rushed over and sat with me until my parents flew down. It was an extremely embarrassing feeling, but clearly the angel on my right shoulder was winning the battle with darkness that day.
Itâ€™s strange to think about it now… almost 10 years later. At only 19 years old, I was an absolute mess. You know something is wrong when you turn on your favorite movie and cry through the whole thing. My favorite movie is From Dusk Till Dawn, by the way… not exactly a tearjerker. Then I started to not be able to sit through movies. I was losing interest in everything I loved. I chose sleep over everything. It was the only thing that made me feel somewhat ok. I didnâ€™t have to think. Thinking was what I couldnâ€™t handle. I would think about everything I fucked up in my life and dwell on it. I didnâ€™t know how to process and let go. So once I started feeling depressed, the floodgates opened and I started drowning in old sadness that I never dealt with. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and had to take a quarter off to go to therapy. On top of everything else I was dealing with, it made me feel like a failure that I had to be pulled out of college my Freshman year.
Therapy was hard and it was quickly discussed what cocktail of anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications I would be put on. All I said initially was â€œnoâ€. Of course, doctors want to medicate you and when you have a patient in front of you that cries most of the day and canâ€™t focus on anything, youâ€™ll want to prescribe something. Iâ€™m not saying that itâ€™s wrong of them to do this, but I was just not having it. I got the rundown of reasons to take it and why it was okay to take them… â€œIt will help you focusâ€ â€œTheyâ€™ll make you feel better about yourselfâ€ â€œThere is no shame in taking them.â€ For me, it wasnâ€™t about shame; it was the thought of something else controlling my brain that I didnâ€™t like. I also knew of all the side effects… the biggest turn off was â€œsometimes youâ€™ll feel worse before you feel betterâ€. At that point, if something were going to make me feel worse, I probably would have killed myself. I think, even then, I knew subconsciously that I could control my own mind and pull myself out of it.
Talking to someone helped greatly. The biggest part of the process with depression is being able to tell someone, any one, â€œI am not ok and here is whyâ€. Getting that off your chest lifts so much of that weight off you. As for medication… This blog is not to talk people out of it, itâ€™s simply to demonstrate that you have options and just because someone is ready to write you a prescription doesnâ€™t mean you need to take it. You know you more than anyone else. If you think you can get over the hump without being medicated, do it. My decision has helped me deal with it since then. Depression never really goes away. The majority of the time, I am chipper and super positive… almost annoyingly. But, there are days that are less than stellar.
I had a few bad months in the past year and the best thing I could do was be honest with my boyfriend so that he could help me pull myself out of that funk. Again, the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself and the people around you. I think sometimes if youâ€™re feeling something, you should allow yourself to feel it… even if itâ€™s sadness. For me, the choice to not medicate my depression was easy. For someone else, it may take more time and research to see what is right for them and thatâ€™s ok. Make the choice for you, not someone else.
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