I was 16 when I was first prescribed an anti-depressant. I have since been on and off various SSRI’s of different doses. It has been a long, sometimes horrible, experience but I have finally found a medication that works for me. There were times when I was warned about being on medication. I was told it would make things worse, I would be on it forever if I started taking it. I was made to feel like taking medication was going to be harmful for me. Some medication I took were not good for me but that is not true of all of them.
Medication is never meant to be the ultimate fix. It should always, in my opinion, be given alongside other treatment. But, mental health services in this country are in a bit of a mess right now. Alternatives to medication have long waiting lists and are not readily available. So I understand why GP’s and psychiatrists are so quick to hand out medication for mental health issues. A lot of the time, it is a choice of medication or nothing. Yes, it is a sad state of affairs.
I have been on waiting lists for treatment for most of my adult life. If it was not for medication, I honestly do not think I would still be here. There were medications which made things worse, ones that stopped working after a while, ones with awful side effects. Yet, when they did work, they kept me going.
There is a lot of negativity around people ‘relying’ on medication. My question is, what else are we to do? Medication is much easier to access than any kind of therapy. This is obviously something that needs to change. But in the mean time, medication can keep people just on the right side of the cliff. Surely that is not a bad thing?
Ideally, all of us with mental health issues would have access to the right combination of medication and therapy. Unfortunately, it does not work like this. So I will keep taking my pills while I need to because, without them, I would not be able to function. When I do not take my medication, I cannot get out of bed. I cannot go to work. I cannot see the point in continuing to breathe.
Medication is not suitable for every situation and finding the right one is difficult. Judging those who use medication is unfair. I would love to get by without it but, the reality is that I can’t. Lots of other people can’t. And that is perfectly okay.