white round capsule on pink background close up photography

#ThursdayThoughts / why we need to break the stigma around antidepressants

I was mildly nervous to admit to people that I had started taking an antidepressant. I realize I have formed an image of being as consciously organic as possible/reasonable, preaching the benefits of meditation, journaling, and CBD as natural anxiety relievers. I wanted to prove to others but mostly myself that I could handle this on my own, through sheer willpower and determination. I will just meditate the anxiety attacks away. It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s fine.

Antidepressants are so stigmatized in our society, as with the majority of mental health topics. Sure, you hear people talking about their anxiety or depression all the time now but there’s no discussion on managing it with medication. You’re supposed to just deal as best you can. Hope for the best. But I’ve learned, since I’ve been open with friends and family on my journey, that I’m very much not alone in this. Plenty of people I know are taking an antidepressant in some capacity, but it’s not discussed in the way you’d exchange recommendations on vitamins or referrals for acupuncture. It’s not pretty for Instagram pictures and it’s not trendy to admit that you are suffering and need help. So we don’t talk about it.

I have decided that I am not a failure because I’m taking an antidepressant. I have tried all of the natural options available to me and while they do work to calm down an anxiety attack, they do not prevent them entirely from happening. Why should I have to settle for a treatment plan rather than a prevention plan? Why can’t I have both?

Anxiety and depression are extremely common and traced to chemical imbalances in the brain. It can run in the family or it can develop completely out of the blue. In whichever form it presents itself, it’s quite literally not our fault. As much as I’ve been told this, I unfortunately cannot just “think positive thoughts”. I actually do nothing but actively think positive thoughts, screaming at my inner voice that I’m okay as much as it tries to convince me that I am not. So you know what a chemical imbalance sometimes needs? Chemicals.

Now, my fellow wellness junkies, don’t run away. I know I’ve said that terrible, terrible word that we all try to avoid in our lives (except for when we want a good cheat meal or that fancy facial) and I promise you, it’s not contagious. But screw it, I need the chemicals. My brain is lacking serotonin and this is by no fault of my own, so I will not be ashamed.

I have anxiety and depression. Fact.

I am lacking serotonin. Fact.

I am taking a medication to help me produce more serotonin. Fact.

It’s literally science. End facts.

While I love meditation and I love to journal and I love some strong CBD gummies and will continue to utilize these practices because they do work and have numerous benefits, I needed some more help. So here we are. I’m taking an antidepressant. Take it or leave it.

Today is also World Mental Health Day. I am a huge advocate for doing what works for you. Whether that takes the form of therapy, meditation, medication, exercise, strict routines, EFT tapping, or all of the above, please prioritize your mental health above all else. You cannot help others if you do not help yourself first.

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