I make no mystery of the fact that I have bipolar disorder and I take medication for it. I’ve been on psychiatric medication consistently since December 2007. Throughout this time I’ve gone through ups and downs and had my meds changed whenever something wasn’t working. I’ve lived through episodes, troubling times and even a suicide attempt since then.
But one thing that won’t change is that without medication I probably wouldn’t be alive anymore and even if I was, I would be probably a lot worse off. Before I got on medication I was in so much pain that I was considering ending my life. I was confused, I was afraid, I was miserable and nothing I had done to work myself out of the funk had helped even a little bit. Everything that just gotten progressively worse until the suffering was so bad that I thought about ending it all, forever.
There have always been people who don’t believe in psychiatric medicine for whatever half-baked reason that they pulled out of their ass. Maybe Tom Cruise had something to do with it, who knows? But the facts remain the same; this is a science, it works and it’s getting better all of the time. But the real problem with believing that no one need psych meds is that it adds to stigma, contributes to people who need meds not taking them or getting the help they need, and it’s the fucking wrong information.
When you’re having a mental health problem, it can be difficult enough to be honest with yourself that you need help. Often, people think that they can keep a handle on things, that what they’re going through is somehow normal or not a real problem, or that things will improve if they eat more chocolate or try yoga or treat themselves to ice cream once a week. But when the problem is that your brain chemistry is misfiring or not just not wired correctly, no amount of yoga or ice cream is going to fix it. You need medication that will rewire your brain.
Are there people on medication that shouldn’t be? Of course there are. Are there people who abuse medication? Of course there are. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are people out there who need it and will benefit from it.
But I find that a lot of people who claim that no one needs psychiatric medication have never had a mental health problem themselves and subsequently never needed to be on any. Then this turns into the idea, “I’ve never needed it, therefore, no one else should either”. Which couldn’t be more wrong. If you’ve never needed psychiatric medication, then consider yourself very lucky. You’ve never known the pain and torment of having a mental health problem.
For the rest of us, that do need it, leave us to heal our wounds and feel better without the insistence that we’re clogging our bodies with harmful chemicals and killing ourselves when we just need some fresh air and exercise. When it really comes down to it, if you’re not a doctor and have no medical training, you shouldn’t be handing out advice as if you know what you’re talking about. Anyone who believes that no psychiatric medication can help anyone, ever, clearly doesn’t.