From Lady Alcina Dimitrescu: Hi All! I need some advice. I have a friend who is on depression medication. She has stopped taking them in December and now she doesn’t want to go back on them saying she doesn’t want to be depended on them. Her boyfriend who is my best friend, came to me and asked me for help. Her parents and himself have been telling her that she needs the medication, but she still refuses. If anyone has some advice I can share with him, I’d appreciate it! Thank you!
From ManekiNeko: That’s a hard situation to be in, it can be very scary to see someone you love struggle, and it must be scary for her to think about being dependant on medications.
While we aren’t trained medical professionals, maybe with the help of her parents or boyfriend she could feel comfortable making a long consult with a professional so she can talk to them about all her concerns. That way she doesn’t have to make any decisions she isn’t comfortable with and can get the resources and information she needs. I know there is a lot of stigma around medications, and sometimes people may need them long term, and sometimes people may find other ways to cope, if she has those options available and has been able to try using those coping skills with a professional to fall back to it may ease her mind.
It sounds like she needs that reassurance that there are options out there and it’s okay to try them, but doing so under professional care is so much more therapeutic than trying to work through it alone.
From ManekiNeko: Sorry just to add, she may be needing to hear her concerns are valid and that the people she loves support her and that may encourage her to take the next step of professional care
From Lady Alcina Dimitrescu: That’s what I’ve been trying to tell him. I told him that she needs to go see a medical professional to see about alternative forms of medication to help her.
I completely agree with you. This isn’t my first time dealing with someone in this kind of a situation. Thanks for the advice.!
It’s hard to see your friend struggling and wanting the best for them, feeling like this option would be the best, yet also seeing them refusing to consider it. Antidepressants are very strong medications and it also makes completely sense that your friend isn’t willing to get back to them – no matter what her reasons are.
Just to share some personal perspective – I’ve personally benefited a lot from antidepressants when I’ve been needing it the most, but right now I’m in the middle of the process of tapering them off (with the help of my doctor of course), and it’s really hard to deal with withdrawals, not to mention that it can take a long time to get over it. To be honest, it sucks big time. All of this to say, that these medications in particular generally comes with a need to be fully aware of what it entails, and when you do, then sometimes the answer you find is to just not take them.
Some personal advice would be, as a friend, to:
- Encourage them to seek therapy if they’re not on it already, just as a solid way to be supported. Whether they take medications or not, if they’re struggling with depression and feel stuck in it, then they might need to be supported professionally. Somehow, the very fact that they want to keep moving on and heal without medications can be a good sign: that they want to work on themselves therapeutically (which medications don’t do).
- Encourage them to consider just having the conversation about treatments with their general practitioner or psychiatrist. There’s a lot of different medications out there, with different side effects possible. Some antidepressants are also easier to get used to (and to withdraw from) than others. And reminding them that having conversations doesn’t mean acting on it or making any decision. It’s only to get accurate and appropriate information about it.
- To take as much time as possible to listen to them and hear their possible concerns, even if you don’t have the answers to it. Was their prior experience good or not? Have they been particularly affected by side effects? Do they fear something in particular? Do they feel like needing this type of help would make them weak/would mean they’d be too broken to heal? What does taking depression medications represent to them?
- Be very patient with them. They stopped their previous medication not so long ago, and they may just need time to learn to find themselves again without the veil that medications add on our recovery.
- Acknowledge and celebrate their willingness to be an agent of their own healing. Hearing different perspectives could be perceived from them as a way to combat them - while it’s not of course. Depression is something that enslaves you every day, and it’s really hard to feel like being yourself when there’s this constant fog around you. So when you feel like a decision is right for you, it can also be a very positive sign of healing.
- But at the same time, be weary of possible denial regarding a relapse – if they’re experiencing one, they may need to hear it from a professional/therapist to accept it. And overall to be reminded that they are loved regardless of what they’re going through. <3
Taking depression medications can be a very delicate subject that isn’t just about taking pills, but really hits close to our own sense of identity. Taking them or not, or getting back to them or not, are very intimate questions to figure out. Through it all, you will not make decisions for them, but you can let them know that you care, that you’re willing to listen, and to support them if they have any fear, or if they feel like taking meds would equal failing.
Thank you, for being a caring friend. I hope they’ll feel better in times to come and make sure to seek help, no matter in which shape that is. <3
From Lady Alcina Dimitrescu: Thank you for your advice and personal insight. My husband is also on antidepressants. I’ll share this advice with my friend so he can try and get her to talk to me. She doesn’t know I know anything yet and I don’t want her to get anxious or upset. I know I can be a voice of reason for these kinds of things and encouragement too. I’ll keep all of this in mind if I get the chance to talk to her.
Hi Friend, Just as @Micro ManekiNeko have said this is a tentative subject and one that I am sure many find themselves in, thank you for trying to find help for your friend. I cannot add much more to what you have already been told other than sometimes the best thing you can do for a person is to just be there and give them the time and space to make their own decisions and catch them if they fall.
They are lucky to have you in their life.
Love Lisa x
From Lady Alcina Dimitrescu: Thank you Lisa and everyone!