Written by Taylor Jones.
I remember my ex looking at my pills, and taking them away from me, like you would take candy away from a child. “You don’t need these.” he told me. “Crazy people need these,” which in hindsight, was hilarious, because as frequently as he called me crazy, it was only has second favorite c-word to call me. He wasn’t the first person to associate my psych meds to being crazy; in fact, I was first in line there. When I was originally diagnosed with ADHD as a child (to be rediagnosed twice as an adult) I was prescribed Vyvanse. I hated my parents for having to take it. I felt like there was a sign on my head, that read “I’m crazy, and have to take meds to be normal.” Once I hit college I stopped taking all my medications, and as a result of that, and untreated mental illness, and being an idiot, I left college after one semester.
I started taking medications at my own free will.
My dad was the one who changed my mind on my medication. He told me stories about his friends who were just discovering illnesses later on in life, and how they had to take medications daily, and then he compared me to a diabetic. He asked me if I would ever tell a diabetic that it was ridiculous that they had to take insulin, and take it away from them, and tell them to get over it. I said, of course not, because that would be life risking to them. He then asked me why do I do it to myself? That moment was very grounding, and admittedly we had to have the conversation several times, but eventually, his speech stuck, and I got the point. I started taking medications at my own free will.
It took me years to find the right medication.
It took me years to find the right medication, and to find the right dosage, and I’m still tweaking that to make sure I’m balanced. However, medications have balanced my life. I’ve come to terms with the fact I’m probably going to be on medications for the rest of my life, if not large portions of it, and that’s okay with me. My medications make me feel better. I finally found a good routine, and I’m not struggling with awful side effects, However, I’m not always greeted with support and open arms when discussing treatment plans with friends, because I’m being treated for a mental illness.
A lot of people think that a walk in the woods, fresh air, or healthy eating will cure me of my mental illness.
I tell my friends that everyone is different, and that’s what is so difficult with mental illness. A lot of people think that a walk in the woods, fresh air, or healthy eating will cure me of my mental illness. And yes, all of those things do help me. But they don’t get rid of the problems with my brain permanently, even when practiced ritualistically. I pray, and my illness is still here, I exercise and it doesn’t go away. I need the added assistance of medication and therapy; and there’s no shame in that. Mental illness is a spectrum; everyone falls in different categories. Some people can be treated holistically, and have that be their entire treatment plan, and as much as I wish I was one of those people, I’m not.
All I ask is respect in return.
I guess, what I have to keep in mind too is, the people who don’t understand why I have to take medications, are the people who also wouldn’t understand, because they found an alternative that works for them. They are the people who don’t have extreme mental illness or are treated with holistic care, and I should respect that they medicate by taking care of themselves. All I ask is respect in return.