Trigger warning: This article contains references to self-harm and panic attacks.
I’m one of those gents that’s been vibing out in therapy sessions since 2016. This has been useful, as I’m also one of those gents who has an anxiety disorder that can 100% cripple me. Over the years, I’ve learnt that I shouldn’t be embarrassed about going to therapy. In fact, I’m really proud that therapy has given me a whack of tools to deal with the parts of life which suck. Moreover, I’ve learnt that I shouldn’t be embarrassed about having a mental illness. Doing so is a pointless exercise, like being embarrassed for having a cold sore.
However, for the longest time, I was really resistant to the idea of jumping on board the medication train. No joke, I really didn’t want to be medicated for my anxiety disorder. Maybe it’s a masculinity thing or the fact that I’m from the country, but I wanted medication to be for other people. I wanted to help myself. I wanted to be a person who dealt with my mental health problems hands-on.
In 2021, the coronavirus pandemic hit Sydney like a sledgehammer. It was rough for everyone y’all, it was rough. I was struggling at this time because I liked keeping my hands really clean and had borderline panic attacks over the idea that the virus was on them. Also, I somewhat would deal with my anxiety disorder by going for long chill walks and catching up with my pals. Doing these beloved activities was basically impossible.
This led to a situation where my therapy sessions were great, I was doing all that I could, and I was still spiralling. It was just awful folks. I was miserable in my bed and scared on my floor. I was in such a bad place that I’ve just blocked out 9/10 memories from this time period.
After a while of this turmoil, I had to decide between spiralling until I was in the psych ward, spiralling until I hurt myself, or going against my prejudices and asking my GP if I should go on meds. I chose the latter option. So, after a chat with my GP, they gave me a script for some medication. And my life has been so much better ever since.
Seriously, the combo of therapy, meds, and working on myself has been A+. I’m handling my anxiety disorder the best that I have in years. I’m brimming with hope. I’m loving my life. Deciding to go on medication has helped make my 2022 pop off.
Throughout this process, I’ve learnt that my original beliefs around medication are super flawed. Firstly, taking meds is a way I can deal with my mental health problems in a hands-on manner. I’m literally putting some medicine in my hand and choosing to make my day more productive. It’s practical, it’s direct, and it’s a way I can help myself deal with my anxiety disorder. I also learnt that taking medication isn’t something that I should be embarrassed about. If having a cold sore isn’t embarrassing, then neither is taking cold sore cream.
If you’re someone who’s on the fence about chatting to your GP about whether or not you should trial some meds for your own mental health’s sake, please do it. This person can legit help you. Furthermore, if meds aren’t a good fit for you, your GP can help you find some other support systems. Talking with a professional may lead to your wellbeing being astronomically improved. Don’t wait. Your life can actually get better, I promise.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact BeyondBlue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.