I recently shared Mental Health Pt. 1: First Steps which you can read here. And this week I’d like to share one layer deeper. It’s even more of a taboo topic than therapy, and that is medication. Yes, I’m talking about antidepressants. So let’s start from where I left off last time…
I mentioned in my last post that after months and months of either saying aloud or internally that something felt off that I finally decided to get help. But there’s more to that story.
Before I found my therapist, I first went to see a psychiatrist. I found this doctor through my insurance, I discussed what I was going through and they prescribed medication. Right there on the spot. I was pretty thrown off. I guess in hindsight I should’ve expected that. They’re a psychiatrist, this is what they do. But I didn’t know what to expect, really. Now, to give you even more backstory, up until this point in my life I have not seen a psychologist or psychiatrist of any kind. So when they prescribed medication, I asked “okay, but should I also see a therapist?” to which they answered: “medication can do in two weeks what a therapist can do in 6 months.”
PAUSE. RED FLAG, KELLEY. RED FLAG.
I dutifully shook my head like I understood and agreed and I went home and wasn’t sure how to feel. Did prescribing meds confirm my anxiety was real? I guess it did. I mean they gave me medication (lexapro, to be exact) and sent me on my way. They told me to start the meds and in a week or so, we’d have a follow up appointment. Well it took me another few weeks before I started taking the meds and here’s why…
I think for me, I felt like taking them confirmed there was an issue. Or that something wasn’t right. Or that my anxiety was real. And I wanted so badly to ignore the problem. But finally, I faced it. And I took the meds. And I felt like I could figure this out. Maybe.
But here’s what I learned on my journey: medication (for me) wasn’t the end-all-be-all. For me (those are key words because everyone’s journey is different), therapy in combination with my meds was the winning combo. I needed both. And I am deserving of both. I am worthy. Medication allowed me to see clearer but it didn’t fix the underlying issues, necessarily. It wasn’t a sure-cure for what I was struggling with.
And as a result, I’ve gained this freedom from my anxiety in so many ways. I’ve gained a stronger sense of self. I’ve gained a deeper understanding of myself & my weaknesses. And I’ve been able to set healthier boundaries, build better relationships, and maintain a happier & more clear outlook. I’m still a work in progress, we all are.
If you’re reading this and you’re feeling like you’re struggling, know that there is help available to you. There are brighter days ahead. Taking the first steps are the hardest. But you can do it. DO NOT BE ASHAMED. You are worthy.
Resources for coping with Postpartum Anxiety & Depression: