I’ve hummed and hawed about making this post but finally I made the decision to write it. The fact that it’s about mental health is what tipped the balance. We live now in a climate where it is much easier to talk about mental health issues and where it is recommended that we do so. Breaking that taboo is essential because suffering from depression and other malfunctions of the mind and the brain are not anything to be ashamed of.
We have lived for far too long in an era where open discussion about such matters has been frowned upon, where sympathy hasn’t been given and where lack of understanding has been shocking. I’ve suffered from medical depression several times in my life. The last bout has lasted many years. I’ve been on medication for more than 4 years now. At the last diagnosis (4yrs ago) I was prescribed anti depressants (paroxetine) and anti anxiety tablets (xanax). I only took the xanax for two weeks, an aid to stabilise me, as I was a bit of a mess, they saved me and contrary to popular belief I didn't become addicted.
Four plus years later I’m still taking the paroxetine but the great thing is, is that my dose has reduced over time and recently with the guidance of my doctor I’m weaning myself off them, taking them only 5 times a week as opposed to 7. The goal is that hopefully before the year finishes I will be medication free. This of course is something that I am looking forward too, it’s such a long time to have to take pills that help you cope with your every day existence.
Many moons ago we would call these types of pills ‘happy pills’ or ‘mother’s little helpers’. Well, I don’t think that they make you happy per se nor would I say are they're just a help for mothers. What I would say is that rather than making you happy what they do is help you to cope with every day little things and when you are able to do that you can progress and function better and eventually you can capture some happiness in your days. I think it’s a myth to assume that it’s only mothers/housewives/women that suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s a torture that can affect anyone — male, female, rich, poor, young and old. Though more women than men do suffer from depression to think that it only affects women of a certain nature is highly condescending and anachronistic and alludes to the women and hysteria syndrome. Men suffer too and male suicide is a phenomenon known as the Silent Epidemic. According to WHO (World Health Organisation) it is estimated that 350 million people suffer from depression globally.
Medication isn’t the only way to combat your depression and of course it doesn’t work for everyone — there are many side effects to heed. The most important thing is to talk to your doctor. Hopefully you will have a GP who can steer you in the right direction and help you get rid of the Black Dog that hounds you!
I wish everyone who reads this post good health and happiness.
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