If you’ve been on my blog before, you’re no stranger to my mental health story. I’ve struggled with anxiety for oh, my entire life. Last summer I decided to take mental health medication for my anxiety, which is something I had resisted for many years because of the stigma surrounding it. It took me a long time to realize that the stigma wasn’t important, and my health was.
Today I want to talk about why I made the switch to medication. I’ve broken it down into 3 simple reasons:
1. Natural methods weren’t enough
If you name a natural method of anxiety relief out there, trust me, I have tried it.
- Yoga? Tried it – but i’m extremely inflexible and find it more frustrating than relieving.
- Essential oils? Makes my nose itch (and I sort of think they’re a scam).
- Meditation? Way too hard to fit into my 15 minute morning routine.
- Journaling? Super useful in expressing my feelings, but doesn’t make me feel any better about them!
- Weighted blankets? Great, but super hard to wear around like a protective cape all of the time.
- Lavender supplements? Let me tell you, you don’t know discomfort until you are burping up herbs.
- Exercise? Helpful, but I can’t go for a run every time I’m about to send a nerve-wracking email.
The list goes on and on.
It’s not that these methods aren’t helpful (I am a big supporter of most them!) – it’s that they weren’t helpful enough in the long-term. I needed something more than things that helped me feel better for more than a few minutes, to help me get through day to day life.
2. Therapy wasn’t cutting it
Therapy is awesome and I am its biggest advocate. I honestly think everyone should go to therapy, whether they struggle with mental health or not. I spent about two years in therapy, and I’m so grateful for my experience. Honestly, just having my mental issue validated by a professional was good for my mental health.
Therapy taught me so much about being open, honest, and vulnerable. Before therapy, I couldn’t even string together 3 sentences about my feelings. Now I can go on and on about them ad nausea (I’m sure my bf is super grateful for this). Therapy also taught me a lot of coping mechanisms to help me with my anxiety.
However, therapy is a long process. It takes a long time to rewire your brain! Using the practices I learned in therapy into place is a journey that I am still on, even while taking medication. Truthfully, I just needed more immediate assistance than therapy could give me.
3. Hands down, I needed it.
When I decided to take mental health medication, I was about to start a new job and I was frozen with terror. I knew how much anxiety my previous job had brought me, and I wasn’t sure how I could survive a similar experience. I wanted to do well in my new job and not be held back by my paralyzing anxiety. This meant that I needed a solution that would have an immediate impact on my life. So I finally gave medicine a go.
My favorite analogy for taking mental health medicine compares mental illness to physical illness. A diabetic needs insulin to survive, and in the same way, I need mental health medication to survive. It took me a long time to learn this, but one I did it gave me the confidence I needed to accept medicine into my life. And boy, am I glad I did.
Taking anti-anxiety medication has changed my life for the better. If you want to know how, you can read my blog post about it here.
If you’re been thinking about taking mental health medication, know that it’s totally valid, normal, and nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, I think it makes you even stronger for accepting the help.