Some time ago, I wanted to write a quote every Wednesday, and then write how it relates to me or how it makes me feel. I haven't kept up with that, but today there is a certain quote and a certain topic that is on my mind, so here we go.
"Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters." Dau Voire
The conversation I want to start is about depression.
I have been dealing (I don't like the word suffering) with depression since I was 15-years old.
Off and on throughout the years I've been off and on medication.
I think for me medication was a life saver...and I mean that literally.
Couple months ago I was dealing with a severe migraine.
I took all sorts of over the counter remedies, with nothing working.
I even had a brain scan done to rule out a mass on my brain.
For five days I was unable to move or see clearly.
On my third visit to my doctor, she told me to stop taking OTC medication, as there was such as thing a "medication rebound headache." This just meant that it was possible my original migraine was gone, however due to the amount of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Excedrin I was taking, my body was responding with more headaches.
I did as told, and I also stopped taking my anti-depressant.
I can honestly say I stopped taking my anti-depressants because I was literally terrified about the pain in my head and neck, and I figured that if I was possibly prolonging things by taking too many medications, I could at least take a break from my anti-depressants.
Let me just make this clear now: I am not a doctor, I know that stopping any prescribed medications without consulting your doctor can be a bad idea. I knew that I was capable of watching my mood, and I was also capable and willing to go back to my doctor and ask her to put me back on my meds.
Yet after a week went by without my anti-depressants, nothing "bad" happened.
Then another week, and another.
It has been six months now, and I have been able to manage my depression.
Here is the thing: things have been hard lately.
My work is the biggest stressor.
Plus I have two little kids.
Plus I'm getting a master's degree.
Plus other things.
I have been feeling anxiety, I've been disorganized and unmotivated.
I don't think I need medication, but I am monitoring my moods and my behavior, just so I know when it might be time to go see my doctor and talk about options.
I am also going to seek out a new counselor, because well, I haven't seen one for a long time.
And counseling might be just the solution I need.
Here is a small, yet frustrating thing: so many people have said "it's so great you're off the meds, they don't work anyways," or "meds only make things worse," or "the pharmaceutical companies are making billions of dollars off of meds."
Here is my stance: will you care that I took meds if I was dead?
Would I be "brave" for just trying to "deal with it" if I were dead?
Who cares who benefits from me taking meds if it means I'm alive?
Does it matter?
If you or someone you know needs medication like they would need insulin if they were diabetic, support them.
Don't judge them.
Don't put your opinions on them.
Listen to them.
Encourage them with a listening ear, not books, e-mails, videos, articles about how what they are doing to deal with their depression is wrong.
There are a million ways to treat depression: from food, to exercise, to counseling, to whatever hobby keeps you happy, and to medication.
Do not be ashamed if you need a little bit of help, or even A LOT of help.
As long as we each get to wake up each morning, and go to sleep at night, we have won.