I have seen a lot of messages on various social media today about not taking pills to solve depression. The messages are encouraging and likely have some great ideas on how to stay emotionally healthy. But here is my message:
Take the freaking pill!
I started taking anti-anxiety meds 11 years ago when I was facing postpartum depression. (which was really postpartum anxiety, but they don’t tell you that when you take that precious babe home). I was very ashamed so I told no one. In my head I was going to swallow that pill until my baby was 1 and then I would officially be cured. There is not one person that told me 1 was the magic number and no material I read that said this either. I just decided I would be better when Abby was 1. So at that point I slowly started weaning off my pill. And the anxiety slowly started creeping back in. As did the shame.
So then I talked to my doctor who said “Sometimes the brain’s chemistry just changes and this medication gets it back into shape”. So I took a deep breath and said okay. And I was okay for a while. And I even started talking about it. And I still called it postpartum because somehow that seemed more temporary. And I made it my personal mission to educate pregnant women and new moms about my experience so they would not feel the same fear and shame I did. And many people said thank you and a few people came to me and said they were grateful they knew my story because now they were experiencing the same thing.
And I was doing well and another year passed, so I decided to wean off that pesky little pill again. And it didn’t work. And now add depression to my anxiety because I did not want this to be forever. I somewhere deep inside I knew it would be forever. In fact a few years later I added a second pill. And that was a game changer. Cause it took of that little edge of ADD and binging behavior (food, clothes, laziness…I think it is possible to binge on laziness)
And somewhere in those last 8 years, it never crossed my mind to go off my meds. And I started saying anxiety and dropped the postpartum (technically I am still postpartum cause I had a baby…11 years ago). And I am am totally cool with taking meds and do not want to even think about life without them.
But I am worried, when I see these messages that subtly send those shame messages about pills and meds, that someone else is in that same place I was. It’s okay to take meds. It’s okay to need them. It’s also okay to take walks and journal and go to therapy and do yoga and use essential oils and eat healthy and anything else you want to do. But never feel shame about taking a pill.
And if you want a much funnier and even more in depth/real story of depression an anxiety I beg you to read Jenny Lawson’s new book Furiously Happy.
― Jenny Lawson,
“I hope one day to be better, and I’m pretty sure I will be. I hope one day I live in a world where the personal fight for mental stability is viewed with pride and public cheers instead of shame. I hope it for you too.” ― Jenny Lawson,
(And if you don’t know what “jagged little pill” means go on youtube and type in Alanis Morissette… and sing along!)