Simply Human Press by K.J. Joseph
Mental Health Awareness Month is over, but I am here to remind you that it should be a priority all year round. The brain is your bodies supercomputer after all. When it has a glitch your entire existence is off balance.
In my memoir, "Simply Because We Are Human." I discuss the struggles I faced accepting the reality of my mental illness. One of those struggles was my perception of taking medication. For someone that hated taking an Advil unless completely necessary, taking medication for my brain was scary. I was skeptical and didn't want to. Some stops along my journey led me to medications that left me with my mind racing, sedated to the point of numb, and nauseous. That was only part of the battle while the other side of the coin was that I used to believe that at some point I wouldn't need medication.
So why did I not want to be on medication for my clinical depression? Part of it was how overmedicated our society was becoming. I learned first hand how easily pills could be prescribed for anything that made me feel less than happy. I resisted. I new people that overused medication. News flash, life isn't always happy and things that happen sometimes are sad. It is okay to be sad. Dealing with our emotions is part of how us humans evolve. I didn't want to become a walking zombie and ignore reality. More than anything I was ashamed. Part of me thought it made me weak. Part of me thought it meant I was taking the easy way out and that I should be able to be strong enough to find ways to manage without prescription drugs. Did this mean I was not strong enough?
Part of me was aware that these thoughts were ridiculous, but until they didn't contribute towards my decisions, they were real. These stigmas, along with others, keep people from taking medications that they need to treat their mental illness. Society needs to view this topic through a different lens. For example, a person would take blood pressure medicine if they had a high blood pressure. It is the same thing for the brain. If you brain isn't firing efficiently, then you take a pill to prevent the errors from happening.
Unfortunately, there are people that believe that medications should not be used for the treatment of mental illness at all. Some people believe that one can only treat mental illness with natural ways. I've had friends and family in my life that believe this. Now I'm not saying that natural ways can't work for some people. Everyone is different. What I'm saying is that natural ways can't work for me. Clinical depression is not something that is just cured. It is something that can be treated and managed. Until I chose to do both those things, it didn't matter how much support I had. Nobody could help me. I had to want to help myself.
As stated in my memoir, I didn't accept the reality of my mental illness with out a stubborn internal fight. It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I hit the basement of rock bottom in full force that I really understood that if I didn't make the choice to change my life, I wouldn't survive.
I'm not saying it was easy pulling myself out of the dark hole that would have inevitably swallowed me up completely, but I fought with all my might. I found the right medication and daily choices that would help me maintain balance. It doesn't happen over night. I did it one small decision at a time until they became habits. I'm forty now and there isn't a day that passes by that I don't look back on that dark day where I glanced at my own death. It was a day that I decided to take my medication on a regular basis and accepted that I would be taking them for the rest of my life. It was a day I chose to help myself. Every morning I take two little pills and wonder with amazement how two little pills have made such a positive difference in my life.
Never be afraid of taking medications that can help you live your most healthy life. Help break the stigmas associated with mental illness.