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Medications and Mental Illness

I’ve never spoken about my mental illness publicly. People who know me know that I talk about it openly when asked and I don’t necessarily try to hide it. But never in public. And I’ve realized that a large part of the reason I’ve never talked about it is because I know there will be people out there who will tell me I’m faking it or it’s all just in my head or, even worse, I’ve ~romanticized~ the idea in my head somehow to make it applicable to my life. It’s not fair. It’s not how my journey has been. But those are the assumptions of people who are met with a public post like this. My journey in life has been interesting as someone who suffers from chronic depression and anxiety. I’ve worked for many years to harness this in therapy as a teenager that prevailed unsuccessful leading me to seek further assistance through the use of medication.

Meds have saved my life. And they have done it more than once. (Also shout out to my therapist-- Karen, I love you thank you for being such a wonderful human being) I hate hate hate hate being dependent on a pill to live but I guess this is how people with life threatening conditions must feel when they are paying for their medicine that is much more expensive than mine (another topic for another time).

My meds keep me grounded and happy and healthy and showered and out of my house. In a period where I feel community and citizenship will save our society I cannot retreat into myself. I can afford to but so many others cannot.

I’ve had friends tell me before I shouldn’t be taking medications. I remember struggles within my own family when I started medication. I take a total of 5 pills a day. One for migraines, one for acid reflux, one is an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, and an anxiety control. It’s a freaking lot that I have honestly had to work into my being. It’s become a part of my routine which is better for me and everyone else. There are times where I forget, and then it becomes the last thing on my mind but then I notice I’m spiraling and I have to pull myself out of it. And sometimes it takes a while. Like a long while. But I do it and I hop right back on like nothing happened. If I let every slip up affect me I could be dead. Small victories are still victories and one day on track is great for progress as long as you are committed to having a day two and a day twelve and even more.

Those close to me know lots and lots is happening with my health and I have had to take a step back and recommit myself to being healthy and happy and the functioning addition to society that I believe in and feel deeply in my soul.

I hate that there is such a stigma around seeking help in our society. It was hard for me to admit I needed help to go to a therapist. It was hard for me to switch therapists when my primary decided to transition to another field. It was devastating to me when I had to move on to a medication because the tools I was learning just weren’t enough. And some days they still aren’t. But most days I have my tool box and meds are just one of the many things I use to keep me grounded.

I used to feel so much shame in having to take a pill to feel “normal” or be myself but I’ve learned to accept that it’s okay to need help. We all need it. I just need mine in the form of a medication. (And awesome therapy).

I cannot stress how lucky and how privileged I am to have access to both therapy and medication at the same time because they have saved my life.

I want to thank you if you’ve read this far. It means a great deal to me and I am honored to have you along for the ride. I want to be nothing more than AUTHENTIC at all times and show you the real me even though it’s messy and I still have panic attacks about what people think about me. (PS. How much easier would it be if I was like secretive and private on the internet and could be mysterious and always hot????) I am privileged to have access to this type of treatment and help and I am so lucky. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or are in crisis please reach out. We're listening and we hear you.

These are resources for immediate use:

SAMHSA Treatment Locator 800-662-4357 Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 NAMI has a list of 25 top resources that include legal advocacy, financial assistance, and specific lines for different mental conditions.

If you want to help young black women and women of color gain access to therapy please please please donate to Rachel Cargle’s fund that gives money directly to therapists for women in need!!!

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