I hope this post will inspire you to be more supportive of those that struggle with mental illness, or to inspire you to take steps in your own life to get help if you are struggling. This is a post I shared on Facebook, where hundreds of commenters felt inspired to share their own story and send me private messages thanking me. Click the share button to help spread awareness, and stop the stigma of mental illness.
I prepped myself for a few weeks. I knew what I had to do as I made the appointment with my doctor. I had been in therapy for almost a year. It was helping, but it wasn’t. I knew I needed that pill.
I felt numb as I went through the motions to get it. It felt like an out of body experience to mutter those words anxiety and depression to my doctor. I half-way listened as the pharmacist talked to me about side effects and how to take it and when. I knew the drill. I had been here before. I knew I needed it, but I didn’t want it.
I brought the bottle home, and I left it on the counter. Every time I walked by that bottle the rest of the day, it was looming like an admission of failure. I needed that antidepressant because I wasn’t able to conquer my anxiety alone. I was feeling depressed also which wasn’t a normal thing for me. I told myself I’d take it in the morning, hoping the morning wouldn’t come for about a million years.
When I woke up the next day, I stared at that bottle. I only felt a slight sense of hope as I debated.
Maybe I’m fine.
I’m not doing that bad am I?
Why can’t I do this alone? I’m trying so hard.
It’s not fair.
I felt a wave of emotions. Anger that I have to do this. Frustration that I can’t do it alone. Sadness that I’m not living my best life. Tired. SO tired.
After staring at that bottle for what seemed like eternity, I took the pill.
I tried not to think about it until about an hour later when I was nauseous and dizzy, and forced back to bed. I must be getting sick.
Then I remembered. Oh yeah. The pill. I took it.
I regretted it instantly.
I felt horrible for the next three days. Dizzy, and nauseous, and anxious about whether or not I made the right choice. Day after day, I took the pill. I felt like a robot taking it even though I didn’t want to. I felt like a failure.
I felt like I had finally admitted defeat.
But, here I am, three months later, and I’m feeling better. I feel stronger and hopeful, and happier most days. I feel like I’m calmer, and a better mom. I feel proud of the fact that I obviously made the right choice.
I realize now that taking that pill wasn’t admitting defeat at all. It was admitting I am brave. I was strong when I didn’t feel like I had any strength. It was admitting that it’s OK to need help. To be different. To fight for a better life. Taking that pill was not an admission of defeat. It was an admission that I am willing.
Willing to do what is right for me. Willing to fight for myself and my family. Willing to do hard things.
I haven’t spoken about my struggles with anxiety and depression for a couple of years for many reasons. I felt judged a few years ago by being so open about it, but I am tired of being silenced by fear. I’m tired of being worried about judgment. I want to stand up, and tell everyone that I’m brave for taking that pill. Strong. And, fighting a battle no one can see. It’s not an easy fix, a pill. It was anything but easy to make that decision.
But, I took the pill. And, I take it everyday without shame now.
And, I’m stronger because of it.