Mental health issues are not a joke. Nor are they something you can ignore and hope will go away. You cannot “wish” them away, nor can you force them better with positive thinking and “will power”.
Most of them also cannot be cured. They can be managed to a point, both through therapy that can teach you coping skills and techniques as well as with medication… but for many, managing is the best you’re going to get. Honestly? That’s a hard one to swallow, even for the patients let alone those that have never experienced mental health issues, and yet… there it is. The glaring truth is that like one’s physical health, those with mental health issues are required to do regular maintenance to keep things running somewhat smoothly.
- Major Depressive Disorder (Although, I have a feeling if I were to be re-diagnosed while on my medication it would be changed to Dysthymia with Major Depressive Episodes.)
- General Anxiety (at times with social triggers and panic attacks)
These are the issues that trouble my mental health and have since I was a teen, as diagnosed by a psychiatrist and treated (on an ongoing basis) by a psychologist. And possibly, more recently, a bit of undiagnosed PTSD. Although, how do you know when you’re cured of that? It IS curable, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure it is… unlike the others listed above which require treatment to “manage” them, but cannot be “cured”.
In my life I have tried many different medications for my anxiety and depression. Some worked. Some sort of worked. Others didn’t work at all. These type of medications work differently on different people, and you don’t know how they’ll work or even IF they’ll work unless you try them. But even with the ones that seemed to work well on my depression or anxiety, there was one constant through them all. What never changed and never faded was my suicidal thoughts and urges. (Yes, they are different; thoughts are just thoughts, whereas urges are a need to act on those thoughts.)
And then entered one wonderful, miraculous, magical (not in the metaphysical sense) pill.
I was so lucky. And I am so grateful for that luck that inspired the doctor to prescribe me 10mg rather than the usual 20mg starter dose. I was so lucky because it turns out 15mg is my “magic” number. It’s a child’s dose, not even the starter dose for an adult. And yet… it manages my depression and anxiety beautifully.
That’s not the most important part though. What is the really miraculous part is that with this medication my suicidal urges… disappeared. The thoughts are so rare now, and passing at most. The urges are completely gone. Urges that were once my constant companion, with me when I went to bed and when I woke up in the morning. With me every third minute of the day. Constantly there, no matter how hard I tried to push them away or bury them.
And with a child’s dose of a pill that I avoided taking (due to reputation) for YEARS… suddenly, those thoughts are gone.
They come back when I’m bumped up to the 20mg dose. As does the crippling, unmanageable depression. And yet, 10mg isn’t quite enough to find a good balance. I take 10mg a day alternating with 20mg…. averaging out to 15mg a day in my body’s system.
Is it perfect? No. I still have to go to therapy. I still have anxiety and mood fluctuations that dip into clinical depression. But, none of it is as severe in the years I’ve been taking Prozac.
And I am so very grateful.