There’s a serious problem I encounter ALL THE FUCKING TIME and it drives me crazy: So many people have depression or anxiety or anger that is making them and the people around them miserable, but they say that therapy and medications “didn’t work.” These are people who have the monetary means to help themselves but instead give up and live a lower-quality life. And, let me stress again, this isn’t just screwing yourself over, but also the other people who have to interact with you.
The thing about therapists and medications is, you have to test a bunch of them, before you will find one that works. This seems so obvious to me but too many people just DON’T GET IT! You can’t just give up or you might as well not have started in the first place. It’s a process!
There are so many shitty therapists out there and you have keep trying until you find a good one. And it takes a while. And it can be a pain in the ass. But you owe it to yourself to make that effort for your own wellbeing. Therapists are happy to have an evaluation session the first time, and they wont be insulted if you call back afterwards and say it’s not a fit for you. Even if you’ve had the same therapist for weeks or years: If it’s not helping you, you need to extract yourself from that situation because that’s time you could be spending with someone who WOULD help you. When you find the right one, you will know.
Same with medications. There’s a bunch of different ways that medications work, and a bunch of different ways that people’s bodies and minds work. Surprise! they don’t always match up. That’s why you need to keep trying different things until you find a match. Also, medications sometimes take a couple months to start working, so you can’t just take one for a few weeks and say “this isn’t working.” Similarly, you can’t take it for a few months and say, “it worked! I feel fine!” and then stop taking it. You have to stick with it for a while to fully benefit from the effects. If your medication works well but has a side effect you don’t like, you can add another on top to fix the side effect. The place to get a prescription is your primary care physician. Don’t go to a psychiatrist. If your doctor wants to refer you to one, fine, but generally your doctor will have a better idea of what you need.
Medication works to make you less miserable quickly, so that you can get your ass out of bed and to your therapist. Your therapist teaches you to deal with your problems in the long term so you can eventually get off the medication (ideally. Some people have permanent chemical imbalances that have to be constantly regulated).
I’ve been through this shit. At my lowest point, about 3 years ago, I was having debilitating panic attacks ALL DAY. I couldn’t enjoy anything. It sucked SO BAD. But now I’m chillin’ because I found the right therapy and drugs (I’m now not in therapy any more and I’m on half the dose of drugs that I started with).
Some people say they don’t want to medicate themselves because they don’t want to lose their personality, they’re afraid the medication will take over. Well, the truth is, if you are miserable, that is not your personality. That’s a shittier version of yourself and the medication will BRING BACK your personality.
There are plenty of low or no-cost options out there for therapy including free clinics and schools. Just google it. Similarly check out this article for advice on how to get cheap or free medication.