Medication for a mood disorder is “taking the easy way out”.
Those are actual words I have heard in reference to people taking medication to help treat anxiety or depression.
I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety when my baby was nine months old. I started medication the very next week and felt WORLDS better within a week.
The journey to that point was tumultuous, to say the least.
To those saying medication is “the easy way out” here’s what I need to you to know.
When you have never been in my shoes, it’s easy to think if I just would be willing to change my lifestyle, I wouldn’t need medication.
Well, if you know me, you know that when I was diagnosed, I was actually exercising for 60 minutes a day, six days a week—weightlifting and cardio.
I also was “eating clean” (that’s in quotations because I now actually despise that term). So you can just throw that whole “let food be thy medicine” crap out the window.
Rarely a day went by that I didn’t spend at least some time outdoors.
I have a VERY strong support system—my husband, my siblings, parents, my husband’s parents, and his siblings. I am very close to them all and I am very blessed with a caring, amazing family.
I have several other extremely close friends. I have a fitness community, from my fitness-coaching teammates to other group fitness instructors, too. So definitely a yes on the support system.
My faith grows stronger every day, even through this journey—I spend time in prayer and journaling every day. I am part of a Bible study group and let me tell you, the winter before I was diagnosed, those strong mama-friends of mine prayed for me, consoled me, surrounded me with their kindness, to no avail. I was still a mess.
So let’s recap.
I have support, friends, family, community. I move my body almost every day. I eat healthy. I have strong faith. I get outside.
I think it’s fair to say that I tried everything before I tried medication. Everything that everyone or society “says” is supposed to be the answer.
I fought for my mental health. I exercised more. I ate “cleaner”.
I prayed more. I talked it out with girlfriends. I had breaks—girls’ days and weekends. A vacation with my husband.
And you know what? I still had symptoms that would not leave.
I couldn’t sleep for all the worrying I was doing. When I could sleep, I sometimes woke up sweaty, with chest pain and feeling like I couldn’t breathe.
I was SO irritable. I pray my kids forgive me for how snappy and short-tempered I was for those months.
Is medication in America over-prescribed and over-used? Without a doubt, absolutely.
And can lifestyle changes such as nourishing food, movement, community, faith, etc help? Of course!
But do you know how it makes me feel, as someone who relies on medication to live my NORMAL life, to hear people say that I am “taking the easy way out” by choosing to take medication?
I hope you can imagine now. I hope you can put yourself in my shoes for just a minute and see it from my side. Trust me, less than two years ago I might have even had some of the same naive thoughts as you.
But please, I am asking you not just for myself, but from the 20 percent of Americans who have mood disorders, to please stop shaming us by making comments that medication is the easy way out.
I can only speak for myself on this, but I didn’t WANT to take medication. You’re talking to the woman who didn’t even want an epidural or pain meds for my three labors and deliveries.
But you know what else I didn’t want? To continue living my life feeling like absolute crap, despite everything I did. To feel like a bad mom, even though I KNOW deep in my soul that I am a good mom.
So yes, I chose medication for my postpartum anxiety. And I would choose it again—and I will continue to advocate for it because clearly, more education is needed on mood disorders.
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