by Marijne Nieuwerf
Every morning after I wake up I take two tablets, two supplements and two spoonfuls of the most disgusting medicine I’ve ever tasted. The ritual is over a year old now, but it makes up for the eight years I spent struggling with various mental health problems.
Those eight years, medication was never discussed or considered. It wasn’t until last year, when I had dug myself in such a deep hole that I was desperate for any form of help, did my doctor ask me if I wanted to try medication.
Medication did not cure me, but it damn sure helped me through a lot. Finally, my mood was steady enough that I was able to see through the woods and realise how I could work on bettering myself.
I had the ability to focus on other things than myself and my fears, and I was no longer in an endless cycle of bouts of lucid energy, crashes and self-destruction.
Medication did not solve the way I looked at myself or the way I was convinced the world saw me. I was still going to have cycles of self-hate and I was still going to jokingly-unjokingly joke about wanting to die.
However, it’s what got me out of my house and what gave me the strength to go and do the things I loved again. I’m writing, filming, enjoying university. I eat regular meals and go out with friends.
Mental disorders don’t rule me anymore, and I’ve found out I am more than just the fear that used to grip me every day of my life.
Though it has helped me immensely, the people around me have not always seen it this way. Mental health is a tricky subject to talk openly about, and medication is a different ballpark altogether. I’ve noticed on my journey that talking openly about my SSRI’s can make people uncomfortable.
Even my family, who have been with me through my mental health issues since I was about twelve years old, have never actually said ‘antidepressant medication’ out loud. Instead, they refer to my ‘regular’ meds for my physical health, and my ‘other’ meds for my mental health. It’s as if the people around me are not willing to admit that I’m taking them.
People have to understand that you don’t go on medication for no reason. If you have an infection, a doctor may say you have to take antibiotics. If you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, a doctor may say you have to take antidepressants. It doesn’t make you a certain type of person, it just makes you somebody who’s trying to get better.
I’ve heard too many stories about people who continue to struggle because they refuse to take their doctor’s advice on the subject, and I feel that maybe if our peers were not so afraid of discussing it, this could be changed.
I’m not telling anyone to go on medication; I’m an English student, probably the farthest thing removed from a doctor. However, I am advocating for people to talk about it more openly.
You’re not crazy if you’re on them. You’re not giving in if you take them. You’re just helping your mind along with the healing process. And if your friend confides in you that they’re taking medication to help their mental health, don’t judge them.
Remember that it’s there to help them and make them feel better, and really, that’s all you should want for your pals. Personally, I have felt better than I have in years, and no stigma will stop me from taking my two tablets, two supplements and two spoonfuls of medicine every morning.