I Didn’t Want to Take Psych Meds But I Tried Them: An email from Kimberly

I Didn’t Want to Take Psych Meds But I Tried Them: An email from Kimberly

About an hour in to your episode with Jennifer Tracy, you started talking about medication and some people’s aversion to it. You both shared your views on using meds and I figured I could share my experience as someone who struggled with taking them.

My mom was an alcoholic from the time I was 8 until I was 18, when she died from liver failure. This affected me profoundly in many ways but one notable way is my aversion to alcohol, drugs, and medicines. I never thought anything of it until recently, but I remember cheeking Tylenol that my parents gave me when I complained about headaches or cramps, I refused to take NyQuil and Benadryl because they made me sleepy and it terrified me.

I’m 23 now, and I’ve become more relaxed about those kinds of things, but when I finally faced the reality that I needed help for my depression and anxiety that had gone unchecked since I was at least 13, I panicked. When I got prescribed Prozac, I spent an hour pacing my room with the pill in my hand, crying and arguing with the walls, trying to convince myself to take it. In my head, me taking this pill was no different from my mom drink vodka. Here’s an awfulsome moment for you: having an anxiety attack over taking anxiety meds.

Eventually I took the pill. It wasn’t right for me, so I got switched to Effexor. I forced myself to take it regularly, and I remember the first time I noticed a difference: I started to feel myself go into a downward thought spiral (“Why is this happening to me, why am I  such a shitty person”, etc) when suddenly I just said, “No. Stop that. Stop.” And the sadness, the clenched jaw, the tightening of the throat that signaled sobs that normally would have come out and continued until I felt numb – all of it disappeared. Just vanished. This whole event occurred as I walked across a parking lot to my car and by the time I opened my car door and sat down, all I was feeling was shock. I said aloud, “Is this what it’s supposed to be like? Is this how people deal with their feelings?” And then, “I’m getting ice cream to celebrate.”

Sometimes I still get scared when I miss a couple pills and realize how dependent I am on this chemical, but I’m glad I finally convinced myself to try. It changed my life.

Kimberly can be followed on Twitter @Whimsium