Girl, Take Your Meds.

A week ago, I ran an experiment. I’ll share my results with you as long as you promise that you won’t try this at home, kids. Please

 

I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, and anorexia for years upon years now, and was more recently diagnosed with PTSD. I take 3 psychiatric medicines to manage my symptoms: a few pills to keep my anxiety and depression at bay, one to lessen my eating disorder thoughts and help me think about things (including food) more rationally, and one to stop me from having vivid PTSD nightmares. I’m pretty open about my journey with mental health, and I wouldn’t say that I’m ashamed of taking meds anymore. I know that they don’t change me; they enhance me, allowing me the energy and the emotional space to truly key into myself. 

 

I had some pretty trying events pop up in my life recently. I’m on a cocktail of medications that are showing clear results, so I’ve been handling these bumps in the road well (okay, maybe they’re more like mountains in the road). In fact, I’ve been doing so well that people began to comment, saying things like, “Wow, I really thought you’d be more upset about that,” or, “Are you sure you’re ready to jump back into life so quickly after such a tragedy?” I felt like maybe there was something wrong with me, like maybe I wasn’t feeling as much as I should. Instead of letting myself experience my organic feelings, which would have been the right thing to do, I decided to try to make myself hurt more, like people expected me to. 

 

I stopped taking my medications for a few days. All three of them. 

 

Here’s what happened. 

 

I started to feel more awake, first of all. Which was nice, at first. Until I realized that this “awake” feeling was not alertness so much as anxiousness. I was shaking before I even had my morning cup of coffee, and was overall very jittery. Not a good feeling, even if it did make it easier to get out of bed in the morning. 

 

After another day or two, I noticed myself getting down. I was sad. But I wasn’t sad about any of my life circumstances, necessarily. I wasn’t grieving. I wasn’t even really thinking. I just had this perpetual feeling of wanting to cease existing. I quickly started to slip into a cycle of unhealthy behaviors to match the constant self-deprecating thoughts that I was facing; this included self-isolating, eating less, and letting class assignments fall by the wayside. It was then that I realized what psychiatric medications actually do.  

 

They don’t mute your emotions. If something is worth feeling, you will feel it. But if something isn’t worth feeling, you won’t feel it. I jumped to conclusions by judging my emotions based on what other people told me I should be feeling, when in reality, I should have just been accepting of where I was at in my journey at that specific moment in time. Ceasing my medication didn’t make me feel more; it just made me feel all the wrong things. 

 

They give you the capability to create your own happiness. One of the biggest problems people seem to have with taking psych meds is that they don’t want to attain “artificial joy.” And hey, that’s fair. I’ve certainly felt that way before. But here’s the tea: there is really no such thing as artificial happiness. You can’t fake feeling. Chances are, if you’re being recommended to take medication in the first place, you probably aren’t in much of a place to go on an existential search for ~good vibes~. You have to be a functioning human being with motivation to do the things that typically make a person happy, like going to social events or working out. You wouldn’t expect a flower that isn’t given any sunlight to bloom into something beautiful. Don’t expect yourself to change if you aren’t changing anything. 

 

You deserve them! So do I. So does he and so does she and so do they. It’s okay to feel good. Feeling good is not a badge of honor that you have to earn after some odd amount of good deeds or flawless achievements. Nope. If you’re a human being on this planet earth and there’s even the smallest ounce of decency in you, you deserve to be happy! Wow! A concept! 

 

So girl… take your f*cking meds. I know I am. They’re normal, they’re vital, and god damn it, they’re good