How Antidepressants Helped Me Find Myself
Dark room. Dark mind. Light on hope.
At precisely 9:30pm the process begins. Unzip pouch, unscrew lid 1, take pill 1, sigh, close lid. Repeat with med 2. Repeat with med 3.
The last time I didn’t take at least one pill daily was when I was 18. The first two years it was all solely medication for my hip, combos of anti inflammatory meds, almost always meloxicam.
Then the real fun began. I've been on antidepressants and anxiety meds now for four years, since 2013.
I cannot recall how many different antidepressants and anxiety meds I've been on. I can't name them all, even though I'm sure I should probably be able to. I suppose I could request notes from my providers or get a list from my pharmacy. But I'm pretty sure I’ve tried it all over the last four years.
My doctors and I have tried so many different things to no avail, so my provider suggested genetic testing to try and get more insight. All the tests really showed is that I had already tried most of the medications they test for. Oh, and one particular drug-gene interaction explained why I had thought I was going completely and utterly insane while on one medication.I cannot fully explain the dread I feel each time I take a pill. Each time I think of swallowing these necessary medications so that my body will function more like it should, I sigh. The mix of physical and mental illnesses that these pills treat makes it feel all that more difficult. It's not just my body or just my brain that's f*cked up. I'm just f*cked up.
I used to joke in college: Miss a pill, miss a day. But it wasn't really a joke at all. Truth sounds much better as a snarky joke. I haven't missed a night of pills in over a year but let me tell you, if I miss a pill I truly will miss a day. Miss a day of work, miss a day of functioning, miss a day of feeling like a human being. My pills may not work perfectly, but without them I don't stand a chance. I have to remind myself of that quite often.
These pills come at a cost. I'm not talking about the actual financial cost (although I could rant about that particular topic for days). I'm talking night sweats and nausea and lots of other not-so-fun-and-games side effects.
The other cost is the mental cost. I am so terrified and anxious about how I might feel and any symptoms I may experience if I miss a dose. I have alarms that go off when it's time to take my meds each night; I also had more discreet notifications when I had daytime meds. Packing for a trip is terrifying. The shaking and panicking in the car turns to pulling over and verifying that yes, I did put the meds in my bag. I've driven over an hour home from a vacation, at midnight, to take them.
Do I regret taking antidepressants and anxiety medications? Not even close. Without them, I couldn’t function normally. I’d be a puddle of tears and numbness on my closet floor. I wouldn’t have graduated from university. I wouldn’t have gotten a job. I wouldn’t be able to hold a job. I wouldn’t be in a relationship; with my boyfriend, friends, or family for that matter. I would isolate, I would hide, and to be quite frank, I most likely might not be alive.
By Kylee Grace Schmuck, 24