Lets Stop The Stigma About Mental Heath Medication

May is Mental Health Month, and, in these trying times, paying attention to our mental health might be more important than ever. Without distractions of typical everyday life, the lack of structure and social interaction, and less access to resources, many people are struggling to stay mentally healthy. No matter how many work out classes you take, canvases you paint, or happy hour zoom calls you set up, sometimes that’s just not enough. And that’s okay.

 

Quarantine might bring about more awareness of the detrimental effects of mental illness, but the reality is that people all around the world struggle with it on a daily basis, global pandemic or not. There are so many factors contributing to our overall well being, some out of our control and some not. We can choose to be proactive, like doing things that makes us feel good and spending time with people who makes us happy. But life circumstances, environments, genetic make-up, economic class, and age, among many other things, affect us tremendously. 

 

Fortunately, though some stigma definitely still exists, therapy has become more widely accepted. People are talking about it more and the effectiveness of talk therapy is being emphasized. I was fortunate to start seeing a therapist my junior year of high school, and the stomach aches I suffered from for years started to go away and I learned how to be okay with the person I am. I figured out what worked for me and what didn’t and learned a lot of useful tools for navigating life. 

 

Going to college, however, through a wrench in my progress. I thought I didn’t need to continue therapy (and was mostly scared of finding a new therapist). I was extremely homesick and lonely (despite having awesome friends in OH). I didn’t feel like myself. It also made me realize that what had become my “normal” (constant worry and a low grade, persistent sadness) was not in fact “normal” and could be fixed. I needed counseling more than ever. And maybe something more.

 

When I saw my therapist back home during winter break, she encouraged me to see a counselor at school. I finally got up the courage the following month, and I can truthfully say it was the best decision I ever made for my mental health. It gave me a space where I could be honest about how I was feeling. It was also where I started taking medication for the first time. I can honestly say it changed my life.

 

I spent way too long worrying that it wasn’t “bad enough” to warrant help and feeling guilty. I never want anyone to feel that way. Everyone deserves help. Medication isn’t for everyone, but everyone deserves to find what works for them to feel the best version of themselves. So let’s stop the stigma around medication, around therapy. It improves lives. It changes lives. It saves lives.