Stop Telling Me to Get Off My Meds if I Need Them

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.

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13 thoughts on “Stop Telling Me to Get Off My Meds if I Need Them”

  1. Unfortunately I think even the people that say these things will read this and think the same thing. It makes me so irritated I have to put it in a little box and push it to the back of my mind.

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  2. I agree. People are so set in their beliefs that no matter what you tell them sometimes, they will just believe what they want to believe. Especially when it comes to mental illness – there is just too much of a stigma. Hopefully with time and more education that will change though.

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  3. Great post. I have Bipolar I Disorder, and I too have gone on and off medication. I finally realize that I need medication to function well. You are right that some people find natural coping mechanisms and do not need medication, but there are a lot of us who do. I look forward to reading future posts!

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  4. You’re welcome. My suggestion is just to always write what is on your heart at the time, whether it be general or personal. My most read (and enjoyed) blog posts are the ones I wrote most passionately. Happy blogging! 🙂

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  5. Thanks for the reblog. And yes I also wish not only could everyone I know read this, but that they would understand and believe it!

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  6. I agree with everything you wrote here and have had the same experiences. In the beginning of my depression I often quit them because I thought I was well enough to go off them. Most of the time when I did that I wound up in the ER telling them I wanted to die, then wound up in the psych ward for a week. I never stop my meds now. And you are right, sometimes it takes a long time to get the meds right, but you have to keep trying.

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