I recently went on an SSRI for the first time, more commonly known as an anti-depressant (SSRI's are commonly used to treat anxiety as well as depression, and it was anxiety that my doctor was looking to treat). I knew it wouldn't do much at first, that it takes a couple weeks to really start working. I planned starting the medication around my theatre schedule: I waited until any sudden brain-disasters wouldn't completely derail my life (of course, I didn't consider anxiety that left me vomiting as many mornings as not a "brain-disaster"-- I've been informed by several sources I should raise my standards).
The medication kicked in, meaning I could feel it's presence at all. Secretly, as much as I wanted it to work and to help break the wild horses that drag me through the mud of my own brain, I also wanted it to make things worse. This is not healthy thinking. For years, I avoided the thought of medication, because I was convinced that it wasn't right to achieve chemical brain balance via chemicals. This was the mentality, and I trusted it, even while I had objective proof that I was not always the most reliable source on what was best for me. I don't usually trust the thoughts that shout about my worthlessness. I tend to trust my whispered biases.
Unfortunately for my biases, the medication is working. I don't remember having this many good mental health days in a row. The one panic attack I had was followed by the shortest recovery period I've ever needed (went to bed feeling real bad, woke up feeling fine). My appetite has returned, and because IBS (my digestive illness) is triggered by anxiety, I've been able to eat more and better than I ever have. I'm including my supposedly happy childhood in this "ever." The dose I'm on is low, and I don't know if I want to increase it by much. It's not taken away my ability to feel; it's made it so that I am feeling my emotions, rather than feeling like my emotions are feeling me up without my consent. I wish on some level that doing everything else right was enough. As a Christian, I don't know where I got the idea that "doing everything right" equals "enough" is ever the case. Realistically, it's hard to exist independent of assistance. Upon reflection, it's an extension of the "I don't need therapy" nonsense I tried to sell my parents as a suicidal teenager. I needed to learn how to need.
I wasn't expecting this to be such an effective answer, and I don't pretend to know what that means for anyone else. All I know is that it took a combination of doing everything right, and failing, and being loved anyway, and reassured that even if things got worse, I wouldn't be abandoned to be willing to face the possibility that I would never be able to do enough on my own, and that seeking help was a crucial part of actually doing my job as caretaker of my self. And for that, I'm thankful. Grace comes in many forms, and I'm okay with the plot twist of finding some of it in a small blue pill.
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