The HR Juggler

The 25% Club: The Drugs Do Work

Posted on: February 12, 2013

calm

This post is part of the 25% club series dealing with the topic of mental health, particularly as it relates to the workplace. Some of the posts, like today’s, will be anonymous, others will be accredited – all have a powerful impact and help to shine a light on a topic that we need to talk about so much more than we currently do.

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I’m a user.

Yes, I am reliant on drugs to get me through every day.  But I’m OK with this.  I haven’t always been OK with it, but I am now.

All my adult life I’ve been dealing with mental health issues.  I say “dealing with”, these days rather than “struggling with,” which is what I used to say.  I’m not struggling any more though, I’m accepting and working with what I’ve got now.  It makes for a far more peaceful life and peace is what I crave.

It’s not that I’m not a fighter, you understand, it’s just that I have decided to use chemical warfare in my battle.

I’ve tried the other stuff alone and in conjunction with my medication. I’ve been counselled and CBT’d, I’ve yoga’d and meditated, I’ve even tried to snap out of it *cue wry smiles from other depressed people*.  But every time I’ve tried to reduce and ultimately stop antidepressant medication, I’ve lasted a few weeks or months before the old feelings return.  Re-starting medication in those circumstances is an unpleasant experience.  The side-effects kick in before the positive aspects leading to several weeks of utter misery.

So here’s the thing.  I’m never going to come off them again.  There are lots of other medical conditions for which it is essential for some to take daily medication for life, and this is mine.  I’ve been asked why I don’t want to try to end my reliance on medication.  Funny, you never hear someone say that to a diabetic…

If ever anyone asks me (and they do) if the medication makes me “someone different” I recount the story of the day, all those years ago, when I sat sobbing in a locum GP’s office for half an hour.  When I managed to get out through the tears the words “I’m worried that medication will distort my perception of reality” … she gently pointed out that my perception of reality was already distorted because of the condition and the medication might help to set it right.  I can’t remember her name but I remember her face when she said it, you could say it was a defining moment in my relationship with my condition – although it was many years before I would come to realise this. 

That wasn’t the real me back then (and at countless subsequent points before I made my decision to medicate for life), terrified to make a decision, incapable of sleep and constantly nauseous – the real me is happy, confident and outgoing, loving my work and loving my life.

So, I deal with depression.  I deal with it my way and it works for me.  I am a supporter of a combined approach to treating mental health issues and I have a series of techniques to help me through periods of particular difficulty. But in the main, my stable and positive state is thanks to my drugs and I am OK with that. 

Is everyone else OK with that too?

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If you care about mental health and want to make a difference there are lots of things you can do

  • visit Mind’s website and check out their excellent corporate resources
  • take the ‘time to change’ pledge
  • share your story and read those of others as part of this blog series. If you would like to contribute, please get in touch with me on Twitter (@AlisonChisnell) or through the comments section of this blog
  • we are forming an #HRforMentalHealth team to fundraise for Mind by running the Royal Parks half marathon in October. Register here if you’d like to join us – we’re a friendly bunch with some first-time half-marathon runners joining us :)

 

2 Responses to "The 25% Club: The Drugs Do Work"

I was very pleased to read this, as I have made the very same decision. I tried for 12 months to come off my Anti-depressants but life became very difficult for me. I see my 20mg as my pep pill and I won’t be deprived of it. 🙂

I agree, I tried to come off my medication a few times with disastrous results and a lot of it is the perception that medication is ‘bad’ and should be avoided at all costs. Thanks for writing this, it needed to be said.

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