I Am Not Defined By Medication | Mental Health

At 6 years old I never would have imagined myself to be somewhat reliant on a medication, but that doesn't mean that I'm defined by medicine. 

I was first put on medication for anxiety a few days after turning 16. For seven months I took a beta blocker called propranolol. Beta blockers slow your heart rate down, and are mostly used to heart conditions, although can be used to treat anxiety in the short term for fairly immediate results. My anxiety was so bad that even with the medication I was anxious and getting worried about silly things, however because of the medication I was actually able to sit my GCSE exams.

Because propranolol is only a short term medication, I was pretty much forced to come off it without a replacement medicine. I went to various forms of counselling and to a certain extent it helped, but it got the point where I just wasn't being helped at all, and I'd have to miss school to go to sessions that would just make me feel utterly depressed and helpless. Eventually I asked to be discharged as an outpatient at the hospital I was being seen at.  

I 'went it alone' if you like for a few months, but I seriously wasn't coping. I was having quite severe panic attacks and feeling low and depressed all the time. My doctor put me on fluoxetine, or prozac, which is a strong antidepressant.

Fast forward 18 months and I'm still taking fluoxetine on a daily basis, and as much as I hate to say this, I don't honestly know what I'd do without it. Some people feel like antidepressants take away control from them, however I'm the opposite. Since taking the medication I'm able to actually go out and do what I want to do and enjoy myself. I've been able to live my life on my own terms.

At 19, I can't see myself coming off medication for the foreseeable future. But I'm not defined by that, I'm still me. It was depression that took some of my personality away, and the medication that gave it back.

Em x

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