Being Depressed in an Over-Medicated World

Depression is something I have been familiar with since I was fairly young. It runs in my family and by about fourth grade, I had a pretty good idea that it was a part of me. With that being said, in all of my 22 years on this Earth, I have never been put on an antidepressant – by choice, that is.

I’m not saying that antidepressants aren’t helpful for some, it just never occurred to me as something to help me work through what I was going through at any point in my life. My parents split when I was pretty young and I never really had a strong relationship with my dad. I have always been on the thinner end of things, leading to bullying in middle school and kids assuming I had an eating disorder. In college, I dealt with a lot of loss and change in my life in many forms. Through each of these stages I found different ways to deal with the feelings I was going through.

I would be lying if I said the thought of counseling didn’t cross my mind about 100 times, because it’s probably crossed it about 500 times, actually. While this is still a consideration I have almost weekly, there is something stubborn inside me that holds me back from making that trip to the Counseling Center.

When I sit and think about it, I can’t help but wonder if my mindset is just, “I’ve made it 22 years, why would I change what I’m doing now?” While this makes sense to me, it doesn’t seem to always click with the ones that I love, which is almost harder for me to sit back and watch. In a world where the fix is usually some form of medication, I can see why my loved ones might not be too fond of me avoiding medication as a solution, but it’s important to me that I don’t let this thing take parts of me away.

I can recall a moment about three years ago when I was at one of my lowest lows, and my friends wanted me to talk through it because they didn’t really grasp what was wrong or what was even going on in my mind. After talking to them about what I was dealing with, I remember one of them discounting it immediately, saying something along the lines of, “I doubt you’re depressed. There’s no way.” And she continued to hint at the idea that individuals with depression are almost always on meds and I must just be sad at the moment.

It was this moment that really got me thinking about society’s outlook on depression and how we talk about it and it was after this that I decided I wouldn’t be as open about my depression. To me, it wasn’t something to be discounted or equated to something that was an easy fix because it wasn’t an easy fix – it was something I had been dealing with for many years.

At first I was pretty upset by this, but then the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn’t my friend’s fault, it could easily be blamed on society and the stigma around mental health.

I wanted to write this piece for a few reasons. The first is because I think that the more we talk about these topics, the better we can all be about listening to one another. Secondly, I think it’s important to address the fact that each person deals with their inner battles in their own ways.

Personally, I have found that music, hiking and having a strong support system have all been great helps to me in dealing with this for so long. Sure, I still have some rough days, or weeks, but who doesn’t? And I know that the people I’ve surrounded myself with will understand if I just need to stay in bed and listen to some therapeutic music for a little or be willing to talk me through whatever it is, no matter how long it takes.

I guess the moral of this article is just that yes, depression is something that is alive and well in our society. But the way we approach and address it might not be the best fit for everyone dealing with it. Moving forward, we should all consider that everyone is going through their own thing and might have a way of dealing with it that doesn’t fall into the “norm,” but that doesn’t make it any less effective or meaningful.

One last thought – the way you’re feeling is okay and there are many others going through what you are, but don’t lose hope. There are so many ways to fight those helpless feelings – whether it’s with or without medication. No journey is wrong in any way, and we’re all going to be just fine.

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