This is my little pill.
My teeny tiny yellow and white pill that helps me get through the day-to-day obstacles of life without breaking down or falling down a long black claustrophobic hole.
The medication wrapped up in this minuscule capsule is what helps the chemicals in my brain stabilize so that I have less of a chance of succumbing to a panic attack over something that can be perceived as trivial to those looking in. It also helps keep the boogyman away from me and my thoughts.
You see, I’ve taken this same pill on and off for the last 23 years or so – give or take. I’ve been taking it steadily, though, ever since I was hit in the face with postpartum depression and anxiety; in other words, for the past four years. Since then, I’ve been using this medication as a metaphorical floaty.
Do I wish I didn’t need it? You better believe I do.
Do I choose to take it? Like it’s my job.
Because it is my job. Taking my medication each and every morning is part of my job as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, an employee, and a human being who is part of a bigger picture.
Sounds extreme, sure. But what happens when I don’t take it?
What happens when my world falls apart because I can’t handle a tantrum or the stress of trying to balance my work life with my home life consumes me?
What happens when the thoughts in my mind become scary enough that I frighten myself, which is known to happen?
What happens when I hide in a dark closet and cry, ignoring everyone – even my child – around me?
Make no mistake, medication doesn’t cure me. It simply assists me in handling some situations – like those above – that I otherwise would not handle well. I still suffer from anxiety attacks and still have depressive episodes, but they don’t occur as often – or last as long – as they would if I neglected to take the pill every morning.
And I have neglected to take it, by way of forgetting. And if it’s been a few days, then I pay the price. The problem is that sometimes I feel great and forgetting seems natural. But just when I feel I’m ready to venture off on my own, I’m hit with a situation and it becomes clear that I am not ready, not just yet.
And that’s okay.
There’s no shame in taking medication, just like you wouldn’t feel ashamed for taking flu medication when sick. The difference is that my diseases are hidden and can be masked with a smile.
This is what I live with day in and day out.
Sure it’s a struggle and there are times when I feel defeated, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. No matter what is happening, the light stays right where it is.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel because I want there to be one. Because I know that’s it’s much better where the light shines.
This is just one of the many things that make me who I am. It’s not as glamorous as, say, my hair, but it is part of what makes me, ME.
I wish for the day when I no longer need assistance in the form of a pill, but until that day comes – and it will come one day, I’m sure of it – it stays a part of my morning routine.
So instead of finding shame in what is, I look my situation in the face while I stand tall complete with brass armor, and I stay on guard because it’s my job.
This piece originally appeared on Facebook