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Why I Finally Said "Yes" to Medication

Why I Finally Said "Yes" to Medication by Nikki Reed mental health

Two years ago, everything in my life just seemed to get...harder. I was struggling to get things done that used to be easy for me. Not just at home, but at work too. I was tired all the time. I was short tempered with my family (and my coworkers, if I'm being honest). I kept forgetting things. I was losing interest in doing ANYTHING. My body ached. I didn't feel like myself anymore, and I didn't know what to do or where to turn. So I did what anybody would do...I Googled it.

Why I Finally Said "Yes" to Medication by Nikki Reed mental health

According to my symptoms and Dr. Google, I was suffering from ADHD. For over a year, I was convinced I had ADHD and that getting a diagnosis, an official one, would suddenly solve all my problems. So I sought out a psychiatrist. I wanted her to tell me what I already "knew". So I took the assessment tests and told her about all my symptoms. When our session was over, she took my questionnaires and we set a date for my followup appointment.

Why I Finally Said "Yes" to Medication by Nikki Reed mental health

I thought that a real diagnosis might somehow prove to everyone that I wasn't just crazy or lazy. But when we sat down and discussed my diagnosis, I was floored: it wasn't ADHD like I suspected, but Executive Dysfunction and Unspecified Depressive Disorder. "WHAT?! That can't be right. I'm not depressed. I don't feel sad all the time. And what even is Executive Dysfunction?!" My thoughts raced and to be totally honest, I was mad. I had been wrong the whole time. And now I had to face the unknown.

Why I Finally Said "Yes" to Medication by Nikki Reed mental health

I've done a lot of research since the diagnosis, and I've learned so much about depression and the sneaky ways it can show up in our lives: fatigue, headaches, a feeling of emptiness, losing interest in activities, mental fog, body aches...the list goes on and on. I was surprised at how many symptoms aren't just mental, but physical! Maybe the therapist was right? We had discussed some of the treatments for depression and executive dysfunction - from counseling to medication - and I didn't know if any of them felt right for me. It made me laugh that one of the recommendations was a self-help book, because one of my biggest struggles is getting started on new tasks and staying focused. Ironically, she was suggesting that I start a new task and stay focused on it long enough to put some of the tools into practice (that's the executive dysfunction!). So for about six months, I just ignored my diagnosis and pretended it never happened.

Why I Finally Said "Yes" to Medication by Nikki Reed mental health

Then winter hit.

Suddenly, the seasonal blues got ahold of me. I was on the Struggle Bus big time. I felt like a terrible wife, mother, and like I was letting everyone at work down. I knew it was beginning to get out of control. I decided to reconsider some of the healthy habits and coping skills the therapist had suggested. I started writing everything on Post-Its so I could have some kind of control over the overwhelm I was feeling. I could organize my thoughts on paper so I could SEE them all, and could prioritize tasks without forgetting others. And I began to rethink the biggest thing I had been avoiding - medication. I felt like I would be "failing" if I needed medication to help me do the basic, everyday tasks that everyone else seemed to be able to do easily but that I couldn't manage.

But I already felt like I was failing, so why not visit my doctor and see what she had to say?

We talked about what medication could do for me, and how I might feel. I told her my fears and she reassured me that medication has nothing to do with how good I am at being a functional person. My brain just needed some help regulating the chemicals in my body. So I decided to give it a try.

Why I Finally Said "Yes" to Medication by Nikki Reed mental health

I've been on my medication for a few months now, and I am so glad I gave it a try! It didn't suddenly turn me into some highly-functioning machine, but it did help me organize my thoughts and reign in some of that chaos I had been feeling. I'm not as tired anymore. My body doesn't ache like it used to, and my mood has improved! I'm not as snappy at my family, and I have more peace in my heart.

If you've ever felt like I did, I want you to know you are not alone! And there is nothing to be ashamed of! I realized that all the judgement I felt wasn't coming from others, but from within myself. I thought I had to do it all without help of any kind, but I was wrong! Together with the tools I've learned to help me adjust and succeed, medication has allowed me to take my life back. It isn't the only treatment option that works, but it's okay to include it if you need it. There is help out there.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please reach out immediately to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255

This article is not intended to give medical advice or diagnose or treat any mental health condition. Please consult with an expert for further information.
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