When Evan died, I became depressed. What scared me the most was that the depression I was experiencing was just the teeniest tiniest tip of the iceberg of depression that my brother was living with daily.
I proactively tried a few different methods to shake this depression, because that’s what do in America, right?! We suck it up, put on our big girl pants and change our attitude. Happiness is within reach if we just work hard enough for it.
But all the organic foods, yoga and therapy sessions in the world were not helping me feel better. My relationships were suffering as I became isolated and lashed out at others. I started to have very desperate emotions – not suicidal thoughts exactly, but I so desperately wanted to stop feeling my sad feelings.
When it comes to a chemical imbalance of the brain, sometimes there is nothing but medicine to make it better. I used to think medication was a cop-out, something that only weak people resort to because they couldn’t find their inner strength.
A few years ago my doctor helped me find the right antidepressant. I think of taking medication as setting my reset button. I felt a kind of numbness at first, but after a few weeks it got much better. When the sad feelings hit me, they did so with less force and I was able to more easily pull myself out of the darkness.
I still take my medication today (I don’t call them antidepressants because that just sounds so negative, and ‘happy pills’ just sounds sarcastic). I also still practice yoga and eating well, because I believe my mental health is best treated with a holistic approach.
I am making this confession for a reason. I don’t think I, or anyone else, should feel ashamed for taking medication for a mental illness. Please join me in talking about mental illness, and together we can make it more normal so that people do not have to suffer in silence.
If you think you may need medication, please have a conversation with your medical provider.