Pill Shaming (Yourself)

It seems like you can’t win.

When you’re depressed and/or anxious, people tell you to get help. It’s all over social media. Protect your mental health. Speak to a counselor. They give you (not so) helpful advice to cheer up, get out more, get some sunshine, just try harder.

So, you speak to your doctor, and your doctor recommends medication.

Now, the tone of the conversations change. Oh, you’re taking pills? What about side effects? You know, a pill won’t magically solve your problems. Can you get hooked on those? How long are you going to take them?

So after some time goes by, you start to feel better. You have spoken with a counselor and you learn some better coping mechanisms. You wean yourself off your medication. Your family is proud of you for learning to deal with your emotions, and you are so relieved to be off the pills. You have maligned them so badly in your own mind, you feel almost like some junkie every morning when you take it.

Then life still keeps happening. The stuff that nibbled away at your stability is still there, because it isn’t in your control to change them. You don’t understand why you have these bad feelings and thoughts, especially when they seem to happen at such odd times, apropos of nothing. Like, when you wake up, and the anxiety attack falls on you like a bucket of cold water. Not when you open your eyes, mind you, but as soon as consciousness surfaces. You get a hot flash, your heart rate takes off, and your stomach tightens up into a hot little ball, high in your abdomen.

And it’s more than those physical things. Sometimes, the feeling of doom and oppression smothers you like a living thing. Then, just as quickly, the symptoms begin to fade. There are whole days when you feel fine. Then it rains, maybe, or you experience some conflict in your life, and it all starts over again.

You decide it might be time to go back and talk to your doctor again. She recommends you go back on your medication.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

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