I just want to say that I'm sorry.
I'm sorry if I ever spoke disparagingly about treating any kind of illness with or without medication.
I'm sorry if I acted pretentious about treating any illness with diet and exercise alone.
And thanks for being patient with me.
I'm back on an anti-depressant for the first time in years. I was angry at first, when I realized an episode of depression wasn't lifting and was just getting worse. A general physician told me to try anti-depressants before trying to pin the blame on anything else. It took a while to get an appointment to meet with a new psychiatrist, but when I finally did, she gave me something new to try. At first, I was encouraged. I really didn't want to try all the prescriptions I'd tried before because I didn't like how they made me feel. I wouldn't feel depressed, but also not really capable of joy. I could find something amusing, but couldn't laugh much. Without medication, the ability to laugh would come back, but so did the episodes of depression. In hind sight, this didn't change all that much when I used natural supplements to treat my depression either.
With the new medication came some really difficult side effects. At first, I thought it was helping, but I really wasn't sure. The doctor had told me it was her go-to prescription for depression so I trusted that it would be a good fit for me. Ultimately, it made things a lot worse and in an emergency, I ended up meeting with another doctor temporarily. He got me off the new med and onto something I'd tried before, but never on its own. After a couple of weeks, I felt much more sure that it was helping me feel better. In the meantime, I'd been meeting with my therapist again on a weekly basis. I felt encouraged just by meeting with that temporary doctor and feeling like they really supported me. It also kind of helped to have someone else say "That medication is NOT for you and should not make you feel that way". It can be hard to be your own advocate so it felt really good to have someone else stand up for me and my health. This gave me the confidence to go back and see the psychiatrist one more time: to get a refill and to increase the dose of the new medication. I felt like I could get a little more out of it, and a few weeks later, I was certain that was the right choice.
I'm meeting with a new psychiatrist soon because I don't feel comfortable working with the first one anymore (for a few reasons, mostly that I don't feel like I can trust her). I've realized that it's totally okay to look for a new doctor when one doesn't click with me. I need to feel comfortable with my doctors so that I can put my health in their hands, if need be.
From the doctor who gave me the working medication, I also got a prescription for something to help with anxiety. I've never had something specifically for anxiety before! Let me tell you, it's so nice to have something that helps quickly and takes the pressure off struggling with my own brain. Longterm, I would like to handle my own crazy thoughts with better skills and practice. When that feels too difficult, I have a real crutch to fall back on. I've finally accepted that this is a totally acceptable form of treatment for me.
I used to be such a jerk about using medication to treat psychiatric disorders. Maybe it is possible to treat them without prescription drugs, but I've tried and I'm not willing to do that right now. Right now, I have something working and I am lucky enough to not have any noticeable side effects. I'm not worried about any "what if's" right now, which is a new feeling! I've always been a big worrier due to my anxiety, but now I can tell my brain to set those concerns aside and focus on right now. Right now, this works and I don't want to try anything else.
To anybody out there who is treating mental illness with or without medication: I support your decision. Please do not stop fighting for yourself. Please consider trying different doctors until you find the right one that will support you. You deserve to find balance and peace in your mind!