My Road to Accepting Medication

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My Road to Accepting Medication

My Road to Accepting Medication

Being pregnant is like a cloud of heavy emotion following you around, until you finally consent to let it in, when it explodes. Kind of like a storm. And you can’t. stop. crying. Because everything feels so heavy (!) and so serious(!).

However, I’m here to talk today about the fact that there’s a big difference between simply being sad, or tired, and being clinically depressed.

I take medicine each night, and without it, I would be too anxious or depressed to sleep. I don’t like the thought of needing it, especially while pregnant, but it makes my life better. I also don’t like talking about it. I’ve heard enough from others about psychiatric problems that I tend to be the one that doesn’t like to share all of my moody stories. I finally got the courage to write about depression recently, and I mentioned anxiety – the word- in a conversation the other day. And that was a big moment. And I still feel shame about it if I confuse reality with my previous perceptions of psychiatric medication.

The Stigma

I think the worst stigma about mental illness is that if you have to take medicine, you have “emotional problems”- meaning, you weren’t “raised right,” or you can’t get your issues in line through therapy, or exercise, or by seeking your faith more seriously… or (insert natural remedy here).

However, the truth is, mental illness and/or the need for medication is complicated.  Many things can trigger an emotional struggle. This year we moved, I had a baby, and I became pregnant. Starting over in a new city has really been S.T.A.R.T.I.N.G. O.V.E.R. It is not the same place it once was!  And we are not who we were when we left. We are older, we are Catholic, we have a bunch of kids, and we have changed. A lot. 

Despite setbacks, or perhaps because of external factors, the easiest route is to think, “I am normal, I am fine, I don’t need medication.” However, let me be the person who says it- it is ok to take medicine for psychiatric problems. These issues abound, and sometimes coping is too hard.  To deny it, we try to hypnotize ourselves into thinking that the facts aren’t true.  I often think I am a pretty balanced person. But if I ask my husband, apparently this is the least difficult of my pregnancies. I can’t remember how bad it must have been before, but it is a good thing I’m taking something now.

The Untold Story

Of course sarcasm and humor are very thick shields against any sort of “madness” or mental illness. And the shame and the scars are as thick as any black fog. The scars are usually accompanied by denial. The truth is, shame is sometimes (often?) associated with taking psychiatric drugs.  Most don’t talk about taking medicine with new friends. It isn’t pretty and we might be tempted to think it’s not any of their business.  You think it is easy for me to mention it, but actually I feel like it is an ugly, hideous, embarassing thing- much worse than admitting to thinking you’re fat!

I accidentally got down to one pill without noticing I needed a refill. I had a mild panic attack because last time, I ran out of refills without knowing it. It backfired and I panicked, unwilling to admit to myself the kind of rock bottom I have hit in the past. When I was first pregnant, and staying with my parents for six weeks while we waited out the close on our house, I was overwhelmed, and instead of dealing with that tiredness and anger, I acted out in my anger. I said and did things that I regret today.

The Reality: A Mix of Various Factors

Through the weeds and smoke and cobwebs, I have simply wanted people to accept me as me- the “Normal” Tacy. I want people to see a person who doesn’t hit rock bottom, who doesn’t do unexplainable things in a moment of exhaustion.  But no, there is no “Normal.” We all have issues, and these issues abound. But the beauty is that I am healing. Medicine and therapy are some of the way that I am seeking out that healing.

I can still remember the look on my husband’s face, and on my parents’ face in the weeks leading up to my current diagnosis. They looked worried- fearful. Confused.  That feeling of depression lends its way into a confusion, and bitterness at all the things you’re not. The things you’re not becoming, the things you’re not doing.  It greatly affects relationships. It is important to seek treatment at the right time. I wish I could take it all back my past anger toward God, and the moments of doubt about how beautiful I am in God’s eyes. Yet God gives meaning and he redeems the unredeemable.   And in the mean time, I am thankful for the medication that I take.

Copyright 2013 Tacy Beck

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15 Comments

  1. Meg Matenaer on

    Thank you for your beautiful and honest post, Tacy. You are in my prayers in a special way, and I am inspired by your perseverance and humility. Blessings on your day, Meg

  2. It takes courage to write about these topics — and yet it is so important, too. Thanks for doing your part to help remove the stigma. This post is a gift to so many women who feel alone in their depression and anxiety. God bless!

    • It is true- many women feel alone and don’t know where to turn. I hope we can turn that around one honest conversation at a time!

  3. You are understood more than you can even realize. I had no idea how much my family was affected until my husband begged me to do something. Remembering that makes it easier to keep taking the medication.

  4. WOW. first I appreciate and greatly respect your courage to talk about this. I’m on anti-anxiety medicines also (though not pregnant), but I do have concerns some day when my husband and I have kids it will be hard and I may need it again…thanks for breaking the stigma! I really love your honesty on a hard topic!

  5. Very nice Mrs. Beck. I think alot of folks think medication is more of a harm than good because of the physical, emotional, and psychological dependency it can have on a person. That is beside the alien nature of it to our bodies. But hey, we gotta make it through some challenging days…every day and anyway, the best way to forget about the fact that you’re taking medication is to be compliant!
    Thanks for sharing. Rock on!

    • @ Barb- thank you for your willingness to tell me that you understand. That means a lot.
      @Patty- You are welcome! It is a good thing- not a bad thing- to talk about these issues. I’m grateful that you joined in the conversation.
      @ Evan- I completely agree with what you said. I agree- it is VERY important to be compliant and accept a diagnosis, even as we heal and see improvement!

  6. raw. beautiful. sincere. wonderful post. I am so happy this pregnancy is going so much better. I am looking forward to the spiritual journey that He brings through all this. Love you friend.

  7. Thank you for sharing in such a real, honest, and unintimidating way. I have had some on and off depression / anxiety this year and it has been hard to accept. Conversations like this one bring the subject out into the light. Thank you!

  8. wendy j williams on

    “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 Your grandfather reminded us often to hold tight to Jesus’ hand. That advice helped me to face years of pain as a part of encephalitis and severe migraines. It was a great relief when medication was developed; and I have had the privilege of sharing the news with others, and both Dad and I are thankful for you to have the courage to share your struggles, you may never know the many people who has been encouraged with your honesty, it is brave.
    We love you LOTS! Mom and Dad

    • @ Angela- thank you! Your support means more than a million bucks. I appreciate your involvement and help and support in my life in the past as well.
      @ Libba- Thank you for reading.
      @ Katie- I really appreciate your sincerity and honesty. Thank you for reading.
      @ Wendy- aw, thanks Mom 😉 I appreciate the support, encouragement, and help and all that you’ve done during the past year of trials!

  9. Thanks for sharing your heart. I’m so grateful to read this and see you doing better. Can’t wait to meet this newest Beck. I’m so happy for you that this pregnancy is going better. Any pregnancy is hard! Hang in there mama. One day at a time.

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