Ending the Stigma: My Mental Health Journey

As you may already know, I suffer from depression and anxiety. I’ve written about it a few times, but I have never shared that I’m on anti-depressants. It’s important to discuss this because there is such a stigma, STILL, that people are crazy or weird if they have to take meds. I have shared that with select people a few times before, and my vulnerability is often met with vacant looks or a shocked reaction. I’m not sure if it’s the depression/anxiety or the anti-depressants that elicit this response. Because of this, I haven’t written about it specifically. A li’l late, but here it is.

I’ve been on some sort of anti-depressant since I was 18. There are times when I’ve stopped taking them, which always leads to me avoiding everyone, sinking into isolation, and eventually spiraling to a place where I needs meds. It’s been my experience that living with anxiety and depression feels like running too high or too low, never just so. Anxious, ruminating thoughts, insomnia, body focused repetitive behaviors, and then seeking to numb. Depression, can’t get out of bed, what’s the point, nothing is going to get better.

My most recent doctor told me I would likely have to be on anti-depressants my whole life. It’s an imbalance of hormone receptors, not a personal failing. When she told me this, I felt devastated. There is no “beating” depression for me. It’s chemical. Various coping skills that I’ve learned in therapy stifle my anxiety, mostly. I have to be religious about those coping skills or they don’t work.

My therapist said that she thinks my anxiety originates from unprocessed trauma. She said that it’s been hard to address my trauma and start EMDR when I continue to experience trauma. It’s like trying to rebuild a house when it’s currently on fire. We have finally arrived at the point that I can safely begin EMDR. Wading through past trauma is daunting, but I can’t wait to come out on the other side of it, more aware and, hopefully, at peace — free.

In the mean time, I’ve made an appointment with a psychiatrist to address my ADHD symptoms and my current anti-depressant. I know ADHD drugs are powerful, so I’m not looking forward to that; however, I do look forward to not having to work so hard to pay attention all the damn time. It’s EXHAUSTING.

Hope you’re doing well on your mental health journey. I know it’s a long, frustrating road. I’m there walking beside you.

In solidarity,

Maegan

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