Lifestyle | To Medicate or not to Medicate

This is a weirdly personal post and I feel a little strange sharing it with you. Not because I feel insecure about it but mostly because I’m wondering why anyone should care about my secretive problems? I guess that’s part of the problem. I want to share it with you because as I’ve consulted with various friends throughout the day I’ve noticed that almost all of them have been in this situation, know someone who has, or have considered it.

I’m talking about medicating for illness, specifically mental illness. Because it’s such a new concept that mental illness be treated as an illness, the concept of treating it with medication feels a little foreign. I always told myself should I be diagnosed with something serious like bipolar disorder, that I would medicate. Personally, I suffer from a genetic line of anxiety. I always have, for as long as I can remember, had anxiety. It’s what I see as the drawback of being me. I always see things as being complex with good things and bad things and good things that can be bad and bad things that can be good. Anxiety has always been just a sad side effect of me living my life. I’ve seen counsellors in the past but only when it was really quite imperative that I do so. (i.e. I had a bit of a breakdown). After some councilling I felt SO much better. Just working on it made me feel empowered and in control, even if it didn’t make the anxiety go away. I started pushing through things and it felt so amazing to have gone on a trip anxiety free. Unfortunately it seems to have worn off.

In the past 6 months or so my anxiety has been getting progressively worse. My panic attack triggers seem to being going off at the drop of a hat (not literally) but I’ve been either having just normal nervousness or full blown shaking, sweating, throwing up, panic attacks for hours. I want to see a councillor but my options are limited, I’m going to see what I can do about it but in the meantime, after a particularly jarring episode last week, I decided to go see my doctor. I knew all she could do for me was prescribe my a medication that might help with my anxiety and I honestly thought I was okay with it, but here I am prescription in hand, tears in eyes, wondering if I’m making the right decision.

In all actuality, the medication isn’t that bad. It makes you nauseous for about a week (bad for me- nausea gives me panic attacks) and then numbs the side effects of panic attacks so that you can better deal with them rather than be overwhelmed. But! It needs to be taken every day. And if I want to go off of it, I need to be weaned off. These are normal attributes of any kind of medication so why does it make me feel so uncomfortable?

I think part of it is the stigma. I have always rolled my eyes when people talk about the ‘stigma’ of mental illness because among young people there’s really nothing holding you back. I’m very open about my issues and yet I’ve never met anyone who judged my or scoffed at the concept of being mentally ill. It’s so common that it’s a non-issue. I grew up with parents who were relatively understanding about it and have dealt with it in the best ways they know how. I’ve never really seen or felt the stigma around mental illness until now, and it’s in the last place I thought I’d find it. It’s in me. Me, someone who grew up having panic attacks and depressive episodes, doesn’t want to medicate because for some reason it just feels wrong. Even though I’ve been diagnosed and pre robed by a doctor, I don’t feel like I’ve earned the right to take medication, it seems like the easy way out. Since when did ‘the easy way out’ become a drawback in treating an illness? If there’s an easy way out to my anxiety and a good way to treat it, why am I so reluctant? That’s not to say there aren’t drawbacks to it… I, personally, would much rather treat my mental illness through therapy, I think if I was seeing a counsellor I wouldn’t feel the need to be on medication, but unfortunately they’re just really hard to access. The society we live in, I tell ya. I don’t think I should medicate with drugsย without doing therapy, so now I’m at a crossroads. Do I medicate while I’m waiting for the opportunity to see a counsellor, or do I wait until I’ve got a counsellor and then decide from there? The latter seems like theย way more reasonable option but I feel like I’ve almost blinded myself on the topic.

People always say “you know what’s best for you”, and generally yes, I do. But in this circumstance, I’m wondering if I’m blinded by my anxiety, thinking in a moment of panic that it’s worse than it is. I’m wondering if I’m blinded by my prejudice against daily medications for things that might not be as bad as I think they are. Honestly, I’m wondering if I’m blinding myself from the reality of my situation. I don’t know how bad my anxiety is, I’m a terrible judge of my own emotional and mental standing. So now what? Honestly, I don’t know.

I hope this wasn’t just one long post about me complaining about my non-problems. I hope maybe some of you can relate to what I’ve said! I always feel like other people have such a better perception of themselves than I have of myself. They always seem to know what’s right for them, and I don’t know what’s right for me even on this extremely personal decision. Strange. Let me know if you want to hear more about this/my anxiety history/what I end up doing/etc. I know a lot of people find comfort in hearing others’ stories about anxiety, it’s comforting to know you’re not the only one!

With that, I hope you’re doing well, and if you have any advice, feel free to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

xx Sabrina


  1. I was wary about taking medication once diagnosed with depression and anxiety, I guess mostly because I was so uneducated. But on reflection I realise I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to get into a better mindset where I was able to allow my brain to recover, strong enough to become resilient to anxiety and panic. I’ve always been concerned about not being able to come off the meds, but I guess what’s the rush? It’s entirely up to you, hope you find the right path x

  2. This was so relateable and nice to read. Nice is such a lukewarm sentiment but for lack of a better one right at this moment in time, I am sticking to it ๐Ÿ˜… I share your reservations re. meds & thus don’t pressure myself into taking them because that will just create another load of problems for me the foundation of which would potentially be regreting that decision etc. Counselling, when one finally manges to access it due to the sheer amount of people on the waiting list, works really well. But again, only you know what the right path is for you. It is your journey alone ๐Ÿ˜Š All the best x

    • Thanks for your comment!! I’m definitely reluctant to medicate especially when I’m not yet seeing a counsellor or anything so I’m leaning towards waiting until I have a counsellor before making that decision ๐Ÿ˜Š

  3. Hey,
    I suffered with anxiety for a long time throughout my teens due to bereavement. I actually know now that my anxiety was quite serious, I was getting panic attacks on a daily basis and found it hard to socialise. The thing that stopped my anxiety altogether was finding a partner which just made me happier in general and finishing my exams. No matter what people say exams and stress from work cause so much anxiety you probably don’t even realise at the time. I found smoking and caffeine made my symptoms much worse so tried to cut down on those. I began going out with friends more and pushed my self out my comfort zone which really helped me to overcome my fears and break down my barriers.

    I hope this helps.
    Don’t feel ashamed of how you feel, I’d talk to your GP rather than self medicate!

    • Thank you for sharing your story! I’ve been in a very similar situation. I’m not self-medicating, my GP is the one recommending that I medicate I’m just not sure whether I’d like to go down that route before attending more counselling. I’ve done the same thing before but now my anxiety has gotten bad again so I’m just weighing my options๐Ÿ˜Š

      • That’s fair enough! My GP dissuade me from medication and told me to go for counselling instead. It is down to personal preference though. I hope you feel better soon! x

          • Do you have panic attacks on a daily basis then? To be honest I had a trigger which was getting on the bus, it was totally mad haha.

          • Not always! It depends whether or not I’ve had a big episode of panic which then usually follows a week or two of anxiety. I think she prescribed it mostly because I’ve been having attacks from things that don’t normally get me or even just random panic attacks, it’s been strange ๐Ÿ˜•But I used to get them every day on the way to school and I didn’t medicate then so I really feel weird about doing it now, ya know?

  4. Ahhh okay yeah that’s fair enough, I went to the doctor because I began to have panic attacks from things that didn’t normally get to me too! If the medication helps then definitely continue using it, obviously if you find its a bit shitty then just continue on with the therapy. There’s no solution to mental illness unfortunately, it just depends on what works for you and to a certain extent finding that out is through trial and error!

  5. I also suffer from anxiety and take a medication similar to what you described. I’ve been on it for over three years now. It helps me cope for sure but just because you are taking them doesn’t mean everything anxiety provoking will stop. You still need to work on coping mechanisms. I know the stigma is hard to wrap your head around but people don’t need to know if you don’t want them to. For the first few years I kept my anxiety issues to myself and I still don’t speak about them very openly. It’s not something I’m ashamed of its just not something I think people need to know. Anyways I could go on but don’t want to write a novel. If you want to talk more let me know!

    • it’s interesting because I actually have no problem talking about it! and I just feel kind of strange starting on medication now because I’ve suffered with anxiety for my whole life and I’ve never felt like I needed medication and I’m just still not sure that I do.๐Ÿ™„Basically, because it’s genetic for me, nothing will ever make it go away so I’d rather focus on learning how to cope with it for as along as I can until I really feel the need to medicate! I don’t want to jump the gun on anything. I know it really helps people but usually only after counselling hasn’t helped enough and I haven’t seen a counsellor in two years so I’m going to get on top of that first I think. Thanks for commenting it’s really interesting to hear your story and I’m glad you’re doing well now!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      • I’ve seen a counsellor in the past and I went back to her when I was having a hard time last year but I feel like she already gave me all she could offer and maybe it’s because she didn’t specialize in anxiety. You should try guided meditation just YouTube it! It’s one of my coping mechanism and it’s so relaxing!

        • Even just having someone to talk to about anything and whose sole purpose in my life is to help me get better makes me feel better about things! I’m never going to be able to fully stop my panic attacks I just need help addressing what’s causing them because it seems to have changed ๐Ÿ˜”

  6. hi, I totally understand your struggle. I didn’t realize I had anxiety attacks, and it took me a bit of time to accept it, every time I see my doctor , he always suggest anti depressant pills, and instantly get angry. I don’t take medication everyday, to me I feel , in order to face this I have to try on my own, of course I have some anxiety attacks that are too painful and for those I do carry some meds. not happy about them but I feel calmer knowing I had some in my purse to take if I need them. I suppose mentally I feel I am stronger and I don’t need them, true or not, that’s what I’m going with, and on my own I try to calm my self down, having hobbies to keep my mind occupied help. I can’t tell you what to do, sorry. but I do hope with time you will get to a place where you don’t need to take them everyday. side effects are terrible, me personally I don’t like feeling out of it. I like to be in control of myself, and pills don’t allow that. keeping you mind occupied could help, talking helps a lot, my counselor is my husband, even though he’s not great at listening, it still helps.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! It is definitely vulnerable especially when there is SUCH a stigma. I’ve been in the same boat before, dealing with tons of depression and every so often think about medication. Usually it is in times of distress when I think about it. I think if medication right now is helping you out and get through the day by day…then who cares what other people think! It was explained to me that when you’re depressed medication balances you out so you can make the most of therapy/counseling. That helped my rationalize it, and come to peace with taking care of myself! Again- thanks for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yes! That’s how my doctor described it to me as well ๐Ÿ˜ŠI just felt so uncomfortable because I wasn’t seeing a therapist or anything at the time that she prescribed it even though I’m heading in that direction and looking for one now, I don’t want to be on any medications if I don’t have a therapist or counsellor to help me deal with it ๐Ÿ˜ŠThank you for sharing!

  8. Hey, hope you’re ok ๐Ÿ˜Š In my opinion it could be a good idea to seek help from a psychologist/GP first just because they tend to veer away from giving young people medication – mostly because sometimes the drugs can cause opposite effects (increase anxiety or suicidal thoughts). Sometimes it can be really helpful just to unload your worries onto a professional & they often can give you good coping methods – last time my psychologist said every time you get a panic attack/ anxiety to write down what’s causing it – essentially a worry diary. I know how horrible it is to have that uneasiness & nausea from anxiety and you’re definitely right in the fact you shouldn’t rush into drugs. Hoping you feel better soon! Xx

    • Thank you for sharing!! I think that’s what I’ve decided to do so I’m just waiting until I can get an appointment with w counsellor now ๐Ÿ˜Š

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