This is a topic that affects so many abuse survivors and anyone who has a mental illness…medications. There’s no shortage of debates about the different types of mental health medications; which ones work best for specific illnesses and conditions, how long to stay on them, how difficult it is get off them, and how important they are in general.
I was very apprehensive when my therapist at the time suggested that I talk to my family doctor about potentially going on some type of medication. I had no idea what to expect, how I would react, and if they would really do any good at all. I had no experience with anything other your basic over the counter cold meds and occasional antibiotics to fight off the flu, so the thought of going on something like Fluoxetine had my anxiety going through the roof.
This is such a delicate topic, and one that often times we’d rather not discuss in public. The stigma attached to any type of mental health medications is enough to deter many from ever even considering them in the first place.
What will my friends think? Am I really so broken that now I need meds just to survive? How can I ever show my face in church again? What will my kids or my spouse think?
Then there’s the side effects and the general unknown factor of how you’ll react with both the expected and unexpected results that could happen.
This is something that I have wanting to cover on the blog for quite some time, but I couldn’t decide on how best to go about discussing it in a way that would both validate and encourage all who take various types of medications on a regular basis. Then out of the blue, I received an email from a friend and regular guest on Surviving My Podcast, Kelley McElreath. We had been planning on doing another podcast together soon and had been brainstorming topics, but hadn’t come up with anything concrete as of yet, until she suggested talking about her experience with different mental health medications. Perfect timing!
Kelley’s story is inspiring and nothing short of extraordinary; as is her mantra of “Surviving Survival”. I would most definitely encourage you to read her story and find out first hand how she survived suicide attempts, breast cancer, and other challenges that would test her and shape her into the amazing survivor and coach that she is today.
Kelley and I talk about her experience with medications, the side effects, and her struggles with how they made her feel both physically and emotionally. We discuss how the experience with her meds paved the way for amazing personal revelations and ultimately putting together her coaching course for survivors.
The thought of taking medications for an indefinite period of time can be difficult to embrace, especially when the reasons that we have to take them were the result of something that wasn’t our fault. Sometimes, they are indeed necessary and if that’s the case then we need to do what is best for our well being; and there is no shame in that whatsoever! If however, the opportunity is there to perhaps one day no longer have need for them, then we should embrace that possibility too. We are all different and our paths, while all leading towards healing, are different too.
I want you to know that there is hope even when you don’t feel like there is. Kelley is living proof that medications do work, and in fact they saved her life, and she’s also proof that there is hope for those that want to get off them in time.
I hope you will check out the podcast, and it’s my desire that you will feel validated and encouraged as you hear Kelley and I speak openly and honestly about our struggles and experiences with our survivor journey and the experience of using medications. If you feel it could benefit someone else, please consider sharing it.
Pictures courtesy of Pixabay. Social Media images created by Matt Pappas using Canva.
Thanks for posting, Matt! I can sure relate to all this, especially not wanting to take meds, the apathy, doing things my way, and side effects of these drugs. I would also like to become a survivor coach…… some day.