To Medicate or Not to Medicate

Last week a client came in feeling much better than she had in years. She had recently decided to try an antidepressant. We had previously talked about this for many sessions, and while I don’t have any position on medication, sometimes it may be time to try it. Medication does often help.

She was amazed at how differently she felt. She was able to stop her obsessive thinking and instead could focus on things that required her attention. She was able to be a partner and a parent while doing her job with a clarity and presence of mind she had not been able to find previously. “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” she asked. She felt connected to herself, her family, and her work.

My next client has been barely functional for a long, long time. However, no matter what the conversation is about medication, he refuses. He spends a small fortune on alternative healing therapies and is unable to manage much of a life. But he is also adamantly against medication and sees it as a crutch. I’ve asked him what is served by such a rigid stance. My job is to help. I cannot force the medication issue, but I continue to point out what this adamant refusal is costing him in many ways.

Sometimes medication can change your thinking or allow you to do things that help you get back into living. Depression is lonely and keeps you from reaching out to people or doing things that are meaningful. Depression isolates you. We all need a sense of connection and purpose towards people, hobbies, and meaningful work; we need to be active mentally and physically. Depression is a stillness that shuts you down. Sometimes medication can give you just enough of a boost that you can get up, shower, get to the gym, go to work, have dinner with a friend, and laugh at a joke; it can be something that brings you back to yourself and the value of life.