Research says that fifty percent of all Australian’s will suffer from some form of mental illness in their life. I never thought I would be one of them, but after a while in an unhealthy relationship and the stress of a divorce I found myself faced with something; Celapram. Celapram is one of many anti-depressants used to assist people struggling with depression, or in my case, anxiety. For a small white pill, it sure is terrifying. It should be like taking Panadol for a headache, or pain medication for a broken bone. Technically that’s all it is, a sickness that after all other avenues are exhausted, is assisted with medication.
That small white pill also embodies many other things; stigma, defeat, brokenness. All of the things I generally try to avoid, bundled up into something smaller than my pinky fingernail. And I am meant to ingest this. I’m meant to feed this into my body every day, reminding me that I couldn’t do it on my own. It also makes me feel like a right bitch. Every time I called someone crazy, or rolled my eyes at someone admitting that were on some sort of psychosis medication I was denying the truth: I was the problem.
I used to think that to be someone ‘on medication’ I would have to lose my mind and start running around in public places with my clothes off. While sometimes nudie runs can be fun, it was something much more silent affecting me. Waking up some days and physically not being able to move, because my mind was just grey with stress. Overthinking about every text message sent and received, deliberating over every turned down lunch invitation or stressing that my black top didn’t match my floral skirt. Things that crept in, one by one, uninvited and weren’t noticed until there was an entire army of imposters floating around in my mind. Anxiety affects everyone differently and for me it was like a giant mind rash. Itchy every now and again but something I just generally got used to. Something I learned to suppress until alcohol would release it or something would push me over the edge. And then the onset of chest pains, hyperventilation, unjustified anger or uncontrollable crying. It was chaos. Now I have prescribed drugs and control. I don’t feel any different, because I feel how I used to feel before the illness. Normal. Breathing easy.
They say medicine can’t fix everything and that in Western society we over prescribe. For me, if something exists that can assist me on a journey to being healthy then we should not attach any negative stereotypes to that. Every person heals differently, and for me that’s with chemical assistance.