I don’t know where the stigma comes from that it is shameful or unnecessary ary to take medication for mental health problems.Is it because we are unsure of how mental health issues arise in the first place?Is It nature or nurture?Is there something wrong with the biochemistry of our brains and then the environment pulls the trigger?
It is often seen more socially acceptable to take medication for physical illness than mental illness.After all anxiety,depression can all be cured with a bit of yoga and a healthy diet,right?Wrong.Although Yoga and a healthy diet is beneficial for us it is sometimes not enough.
I started taking citalopram in October 2016 for depressed moods.For a long time I did not want to consider going on antidepressants,I had never really given it much thought.I was scared it made me weak,I thought I didn’t have a valid reason to be feeling the way I was and therefore didn’t need or deserve medication.I was worried people would tell me “what have you got to be depressed about?”However in the end I decided to try medication.I got to a point where I would rather pop a pill everyday than than doom myself to a life of self loathing and feeling incredibly low and hopeless.Its ok to thrive and not just survive.
Before I went on medication I was doing well physically in recovery,eating and gaining weight but emotionally I didn’t feel great.I was no longer binging out of hunger but due to feeling low and depressed.I managed my low feelings and anxiety by binging and purging.I believe the medication helped me in my recovery.After about 6-8 weeks and upping the dose to 20mg I noticed my moods were more stable,I suffered fewer lows and as a result of this I was less likely to binge and purge.The intrusive thoughts I was having also subsided.Taking citalopram helped me to suffer less from low moods which were hindering my recovery.
Citalopram didn’t “fix” my moods but it helped immensely.Feeling better allowed me to have more energy and motivation to put more activities and life into my life which made less room for the eating disorder.
Another issue which was hindering my recovery and quality of life in general was insomnia.I would stay up in the night unable to sleep.At the beggining of recovery I think this was due to hunger,I would binge through the night or wake up in the night numerous times to eat.However even when the hunger subsided sleep was still a problem.Lavk of sleep resulted in being tired and feeling lower which made me more likely to give into binge or purge urges.In December I started to take phenegran,the first time I took it it knocked me out for about 14 hours.It was the first time I had had a decent sleep in months.I halved the dose and took it for a few days and then stopped taking it.I was finally able to sleep normally for most of the time.Ocassioanlly I would take phengran when my sleep got bad again.
One thing I will say is you have to be careful with medication.I know phenegran can become addictive and at times I was tempted to take it just so I could sleep for longer and not have to worry about binging.That however would not be working on the root cause of the problem.
For the past few weeks I have been feeling as though I no longer need to take antidepressants.I have felt stable for a pretty long time now and eating disorder wise I am doing really well.Its a bit of a risk coming of the medication at this point in time as I am going to South America for two months and I do worry my mood may drop whenI am there but I think I have the skills and knowledge to cope with it.
To conclude this post I would like to say I do not think everyone should be on medication for their mental illness but that medication CAN beneficial and we did not have to attach guilt and shame to taking it.Ofcourse you should always discuss it with a health professional first.I think it’s important though to engage in therapy and other things which are helpful for your mental health and not just rely on medication.Its not a fix and there may still be bad days and days you feel low but that is part of recovery and just life in general.Life after recovery is not perfect but it is 100% worth it.