This month marks my one year anniversary of consistency with medication. It’s taken a long time to get here, but now that I’ve joined the stability club, let me break down the process.
With the consideration of mental health medication comes the daunting task of finding the right prescription. For many, this is the hardest part of acquiring help. It can be overwhelming to find a pill at the right dosage that does its job without the burden of a new subset of symptoms, which sometimes proves itself to be difficult.
As I’ve come to find out, some psychiatrists treat medicine like Lexapro and Prozac as a catch-all for mental health. While both of these may be the right fit for some, medicine is not one size fits all. Though I didn’t figure that out until after my first run with Prozac.
I was 17 when I tried out the drug and I was also in a relationship. Let’s just say the two didn’t mix well. I felt forced to pick between experiencing passion versus consistency in terms of my emotions. The pills made me feel numb to any and all emotions. It was great that I wasn’t sad all the time, but it stopped me from feeling excitement or joy. That’s the thing with some medications, it almost requires you to pick and choose which emotions are more important.
The trial didn’t last long. I quit taking it after a week, but I definitely didn’t tell my therapist until months later. I wouldn’t recommend this.
A year later, after months of painfully honest therapy sessions, I was informed that my previous diagnosis of depression was false. This happens in the industry a lot, which plays a large role in the medicine department. My new diagnosis—and the one that felt more correct— was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
I lived in constant fear that I would always struggle to be alive. I had intense obsessive paranoia that led to delusions and severe high-functioning anxiety. I suffered from destructive compulsions like avoidance to certain locations and rumination. All of which aligned with OCD rather than traditional depression. Yes, I was depressed for most of my life, but I was depressed because my brain made it hard to exist in a state of constant anxiety.
From there, I began taking Luvox, which is a pill specifically for OCD patients. Life got easier from that point on. The right medicine lifted a weight off my shoulders and led me to a kind of euphoria that I hadn’t felt since I was a child.
Finding the right diagnosis is half of the battle. If someone had told me that, I probably would’ve been more hopeful for the future.
A year later, I’m still on the same medication. I still feel the same euphoric feeling. I’m able to experience life as I should. I still have OCD and that’s something that won’t go away. Despite the fact that I’ll always have a neurodivergent brain, it doesn’t necessarily dictate how I live anymore and that’s been the most beneficial side effect of my medicine.
My experience with mental health won’t be like anyone else’s. Everyone has an individual path that will be unique to them. On the other hand, mental struggle is a universal feeling that unites one in five Americans, according to The National Institute of Mental Health. You aren’t alone in the mental fight and you certainly don’t have to struggle without help.
Sophia Sipe is Editor-In-Chief for The Express. Follow her @sophiasipe.