How Do I Know If I Need Psychiatric Medication?
With the right medication, I quickly realized that I wasn’t so awful at being an adult after all. I also wasn’t a pessimist, an asshole, or an actual trash fire.
I take a lot of pills, especially considering the fact that I’m only 25 years old. But I’m also not ashamed to say it — because these medications gave me my life back in a big way.
Prior to the miracle that was Wellbutrin (an antidepressant/magic in pill form), I spent most of my days confined to my apartment, unable to attain even a minimal amount of functioning. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t get out of bed, and I looked at the other grownups around me thinking, “Why am I so terrible at being a human?”
If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, that, my friend, is your first red flag.
It might not be that you’re terrible at anything — it might just be that the chemical jelly blob known as Your Brain isn’t doing its job. And if that’s the case, it doesn’t hurt to have a conversation with a clinician that specializes in said jelly blobs.
Should you try psych meds? I can’t say for sure. I’m not you, and you’re the expert here on your lived experience and your body.
But maybe this sounds familiar: You’re working really hard just to achieve a subpar quality of life. Small tasks feel like a crushing weight you can’t crawl out from under. It’s nearly impossible to bounce back from the slightest amount of stress.
Or maybe it’s just a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. You know, when it’s uphill both ways, no matter how many deep breaths you take or how often you drag yourself to your roommate’s favorite yoga class (why did she think this would help, anyway?).
If things feel unreasonably tough and you can’t deal — if you’ve ever thought, “Why am I stuck? Why is nothing helping?” — it may be useful to talk with someone who can give you an outsider’s perspective.
Because the question here isn’t whether or not you should take pills. It’s a clinician’s job to help you sort that one out. The real question is whether or not you need a second opinion on what’s going on with you.
I believe that a second opinion never hurts. And, fun fact: If you don’t like the second opinion, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a third or even fourth — sometimes you have to play a little game of musical chairs before you find the right doc.
For what it’s worth, I don’t regret making this decision. With the right medications, I quickly realized that I wasn’t so awful at being an adult after all. I also wasn’t a pessimist, an asshole, an actual trash fire, and all the other negative self-talk I became so accustomed to that I mistook it for being the truth.
I’m relentlessly, even annoyingly optimistic these days. Which I guess makes me a different kind of asshole, but I’d like to think I’m more pleasant to be around if nothing else.
With a compassionate psychiatrist — in my case, a weird hipster that has Beirut’s The Flying Club Cup on vinyl and a record player in his office, because why not, I guess — you, too, can get your house in order.
Sometimes it takes a little more than willpower. And there’s no shame in that.
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