Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Is it OK to take antidepressant medication?

The past is in the past, but gosh darn it, I should have been taking an antidepressant years ago. I don't know what I was waiting for. Someone to tell me to? A good feeling that I was doing the right thing? A sign from God? The right timing? Or maybe it would just go away? Please God just let it go away.

I realized I would never get that "it's OK" feeling to take medicine.

But I know I was waiting. I knew deep down that I could really benefit from trying out the medicine again. My stubbornness coupled with my "Family of Origin" caused me to resist help for a long time.

Family of Origin (a term described to me by a counselor a while ago) is how we have been shaped by our families. It is not necessarily a bad or good thing, just something that you should be aware of especially when joining two families together in marriage. Most of my family habits are good things, because I was raised in a wonderful family.

Hilarious example, in my family, when we were sick with a stomach bug, we had towels by our bed or on our pillow to throw up in if we couldn't make it to the bathroom. I didn't realize that no one else really did that. In my husbands family, they had buckets or bowls...like most people. Neither way is right or wrong, they're just different. If I think my way is always right, then by default, the other way is always wrong...which can cause a lot of problems in a relationship obviously. It is best to be truly open to other ideas, think things through, and challenge yourself when necessary.

Because of my FOO, I realized that I was holding onto beliefs about taking medicine. In my extended family (and in a lot of families), medicine has this kind of stigma. My perception is that if you take medication you are weak, lazy, a failure, going to die of cancer at a young age, or just plain pitiable. I don't know where I learned this. I don't know how or when. I think it's just a gradual process learned from many conversations over the years. And maybe its just my perception of the perception. I could very well be projecting my fears onto other people thoughts.

Regardless, I am embarrassed. I am embarrassed to be taking an antidepressant. I am embarrassed to admit to my family that I am depressed and I need to take medication. I am actually even afraid to tell anyone that I am depressed and taking medication.

I had known for a while that things were not good and I needed some help. Unfortunately, no one was going to be able to convince me that going to counseling and taking medicine was the right thing to do. No one could walk me through it, holding my hand telling me it would be ok. I would never get those "good feelings" that I was making the right decision. No one would do it for me and no one would make me feel ok about doing it. I had to make the call. I had to show up at the assessment appointment, then again at the psychiatrist appointment. I had to pick up my prescription at the Drug Store. Then, I have to go back to the counseling center and pharmacy every few months. I had to battle myself every time...and still do.

Then why did I make my own decision? I really don't know why. And I really don't know how. I just did. The Grace of God maybe? I don't know why some people suffering from depression decide to take care of themselves while others decide to commit suicide. It's awful. It breaks my heart. There is so much I don't understand.

But I think it would help if we got rid of this medication stigma so people aren't so darn afraid of taking medicine that could save their life.

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