To Take Or Not To Take

a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa
a man holds his head while sitting on a sofa
Photo by Nik Shuliahin/Unsplash

Medication – a true leap of faith to see if they work, along with openly talking to the doctor about it. 

It’s hard and overwhelming to discuss mental health issues at the best of times and these feelings can escalate more if you are unsure about approaching the topics that cause great pain, particularly with someone you have not spoken to before. However, once you’ve established that common ground of being on the same page, you’re pretty much good to go. 

Medication for mental health issues is always daunting to begin taking and many worry that once you’re on them, you’ll be stuck on them for life. This can cause a negative approach to getting help.

If you are on medication, whether it’s been for a year or even five years and you begin to feel much better about yourself and life in general, you may begin to ask yourself if you need them anymore.

Before any decisions are made, certainly give it some serious thought as to what you do next and don’t stop taking them until you have discussed this with your medical practitioner! A year ago just before the first lockdown, my medication was increased as I began to struggle again with day to day life and feeling anxious about anything and everything around me. 

One year later, I feel good about myself again, things are brightening up and I no longer feel afraid about what’s around the corner. So the heavy question has arrived at my feet: do I reduce my medication or continue on them?

I’m sure many people who have progressed to this particular stage on their road to recovery are sceptical. You don’t want to jeopardise your progress or risk thinking that this is just false hope for feeling better. It’s a big decision, one that cannot be acted on impulse. 

But why do we feel the need to come off them? Is it a feeling of shame or defeat to be on them in the first place?

I can only speak for myself and say absolutely not! I say this with a smile on my face! Besides, who is to know that we take medication for our mental health. You wouldn’t be ashamed if it was for a physical element of our bodies, would you? 

Millions of people in the country take medication for ailments and no one is none the wiser. We are not wearing t-shirts saying “Hi, I have depression” but sometimes it feels like we do. Why do we feel we need to come off them? I truly feel it’s because some of us remember a time where we enjoyed doing what we do everyday and were medication free.

I’m willing to give it a try, as I have told myself (sometimes you have to talk to yourself) not to raise any expectations of myself and to take each day as it comes. 

The only advice I shall share with you is the only one I’m happy to use for me, go steady: embrace the good days as a blessing, the bad days with a never mind attitude and if you get stuck or begin to struggle, ask for help.

Along with taking medication, there is nothing wrong or weak about asking for help, it’s an inner strength that is always overlooked by most of us.

I’m willing to reduce my medication to eventually being weaned off them completely, but I will not rush this process. If it doesn’t work then I’ll consult my doctor again, go back on them and try another time. It’s never a failure, all a learning curve.

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