A lot of people tell me I don’t need medicine. This especially happened when I was first diagnosed with depression. “Oh I have been depressed, it will pass. Just don’t worry about things. You have such a good life. You are doing so well in school. I don’t even know why you are depressed.” – they would say. Even today, I get the whole “mind over matter” given to me or “God will heal you, just pray.”
My problem with this is, none of these people have been in my situation. Sure, everyone gets “depressed,” BUT depression is such an overused word now that it has lost its real meaning. In reality, everyone gets “sad.”
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, depression is defined as: a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, sad is defined as: affected with or expressive of grief or unhappiness
So when people say they are depressed, they are not, they are sad. Unless they have been to a doctor and have been diagnosed with a disorder that encompasses depression, they do not understand.
I am not saying that everyone who has a psychiatric diagnosis of something that encompasses depression will need to take medication, because there are a select group of people that can function and learn to function without it. However, many people do need to take medication. For others to put stigma on mental illness and basically encourage them to not take their medication by saying they do need it is dangerous.
I personally have gone on and off medication. I was noncompliant with my medication when I was first diagnosed. I didn’t think I needed it and I didn’t want to take medication the rest of my life. What ensued after every time I stopped taking them was a trip to the ER and then psych hospital for a suicide attempt, a trip to the psych hospital for suicidal ideation, the cops coming to my apartment for welfare checks and then usually bringing me to a psych hospital…and that continued until I was eventually committed to a state hospital where I was forced to take medication. The light bulb went off in my head there, my Aha! moment occurred there though. I was actually doing better! I was feeling better! The medications actually helped me!
It took years and years to find the right combination of meds for me. And for most people it does take that long. It is easy to give up, especially when people are telling you that you don’t need it. If you know that you need them because you are not functioning well though, don’t give up. Continue to use your coping skills and continue to fight to gain your life back. Mental illness is not easy, but you can learn to live with it. And not only live with it, but live a good life with it.
Most importantly, if you ever feel like you want to get off or change medications, for any reason at all, make sure you talk to your doctor about it.