Congratulations on your recent diagnosis of mental illness! You’ve just won a brand-new prescription! Here are five easy steps to claiming your prize:
1. Overcome the negative attitude of everyone around you toward taking medication! (Oh, goodie!)
2. Vanquish the stigma-induced fear in yourself that pills are going to steal your personality or somehow make your world into a playground made of rainbows.
3. Begin an awesome trial-and-error experience that could take years and years!
4. Battle against those pesky side effects that make you sweat, tremble, gain weight/lose weight, feel lethargic, cause drymouth, make you dizzy, impair your vision, induce muscle spasms, and– in some special cases– almost kill you.
5. Persist. Because it really is worth it.*
*At least it was for me. It was worth years of failed experiments and horrendous side effects– which are over– and years of shaming from others– which are not. I am unashamed to take Prozac and Effexor XR every single morning and Risperdal every single night. I don’t think meds are the “right” or “only” answer, but I do think they are a valid option, one that makes a difference in my daily life.