Don’t get me wrong, SSRIs and ADHD meds have been a lifesaver for me. I struggle to function without them. They allow me to live like a “normal” human being (whatever that means). But it took a long time to get here — finding the right medication is often a months-long process of trial and error.
“Can’t live with it, can’t live without it” is the best way I can describe it. It’s the story of my life — most of my teenage and young adult years can be broken down by the medication(s) I was taking at the time. There’s the Zoloft era, the Lexapro era, the Ritalin era, the Adderall era, the Vyvanse era, the Effexor era … you get the picture.
I know that being able to afford medication, and having access to doctors who can prescribe it, is an immense privilege. But it’s hard not to resent the fact that I have to take medication in order to feel like myself; that I will probably have to continue to take it every day for the rest of my life; that my medication, and its boatload of side effects that sometimes make life worse, have more control over my brain than I do.
It’s hard to admit that I can’t overcome my disabilities on my own. Pill shaming is a real thing — society has taught us that relying on medication makes us weak, and it’s a feeling that’s hard to shake. Although I’ve been taking medication for years, I still see myself as less than whole because of it, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Deep down, though, I know it makes me better. It’s not that I don’t know what life is like without my medication — it’s that I do, and I can’t live that way.
The road to self-acceptance is a long one. In fact, I’m not sure if it ever really ends. The only thing I do know is this: my struggles explain me, but they don’t define me. And I think I’m OK with that.