By Natalie Hammer, NAMI-UW Ambassador
Anxiety ≠ Crazy. From early on in my diagnosis, I had to realize this statement true, but it was something I struggled with. I constantly thought having Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) made me crazy because I would worry and fixate on the little things, which my peers around me didn’t do. I’ve anxiety for as long as I can remember, and I want to share with you all my experiences with mental illness. IT’S OKAY TO TAKE MEDICATION. From my diagnosis, I’ve tried several medications to help with my anxious and sometimes depressive symptoms. There was one time in my life that I became particularity stubborn about taking medication. Again I felt crazy that I had to rely on medication every morning to make my day be smooth. During this time in my life, I hit rock bottom. I didn’t go to class, I didn’t hang out with my friends. I would lay in my bed sleeping or watching TV and would have mental breakdowns on the daily.
One day, my mom came to Madison and picked me up because I got so bad and she was so worried about me. She decided to make an appointment with my doctor for a med check (which I haven’t had in years). Long story short, my mom took me to the doctor and about 45 minutes later, I left the doctor with tears streaming down my face and a new prescription. I did not want to be dependent on medication. I thought I could improve without it. But then my mom told me something—she said that there is a chemical imbalance in my brain and medication was necessary in my treatment to balance my brain again. With her words and the doctor’s recommendation, I hesitantly took my new medication. At first, it made me feel foggy and gave me headaches (which is normal when starting a new medication). Although I felt crappy physically, I kept taking the pills and within 6 weeks, I could feel the medicine start to work. I began having a more positive mindset. I stopped sleeping as much. I hung out with my friends again. I went to class more. And most importantly, I started feeling like myself again. SO if you’re like me and get stubborn about taking meds for your mental health, it’s okay. We’ve all been there. But realize in some cases for your healing process that it is necessary in order to balance the chemicals in your brain, and taking medication does not make you crazy or weird or different from anyone else.