I think it’s still a stigma in our society to admit that one’s chemicals are a bit off… you know, just to admit that your brain just doesn’t regulate quite well enough.

If I had to estimate, I’d guess that around 80-90% of my classmates take some sort of drug, whether it’s a prescription anti-depressant or simply self-medicating with alcohol or weed. The terrible thing is that I think there’s still a stigma against taking something prescribed… so more people self-medicate than seek actual help. This is such a ridiculous thing for me to be writing about. I’m not a psychological professional. I mean, I took abnormal psych in undergrad (it was a useless class, believe me) and that’s about the extent of my expertise. But really.

If I had horrible heartburn, I mean, keep me up in the middle of the night, can’t eat anything tasty, excruciating pain kind of heartburn… I’d go see a doctor. I’d tell him what was up and when he said “you know, your stomach can’t regulate its chemicals quite right, so take this med” I’d be grateful and I’d let everyone with heartburn know that there was hope out there.

Why is it different when it’s your brain that can’t regulate its chemicals quite right?

Do you think that just because it’s “all in your head” you should be able to think your way out of it? I’m sorry, but if you have uncontrollable anxiety or depression… it’s a biological problem just like any other. I, personally, take something for anxiety. I’m not too shy about letting anyone know, either. I’ve suffered from depression since I can remember… I’m talking about being, say, 7 years old and planning my own suicide. That’s not something that anyone can just “positively think” away.

I’ve been able to control it without meds most of the time, but with law school? I mean, even the healthiest people find that the pressures of law school can make you flip your shit now and then. So when I started law school, I went to the campus clinic and told the doctor that I was having anxiety problems and he prescribed me stuff. The same way that some people’s stomachs can’t regulate chemicals properly, my brain can’t either. I need the help, and with it… well, I’m functional. I’m happy, actually. Overjoyed a lot of the time… but I know I wouldn’t be able to … anything. Anything at all… without meds.

I suppose this is all in response to a very close friend of mine. Someone who is practically a sister to me… really. My closest friend in the world, would take a bullet for, do anything for kind of friend… she probably needs help. And she’s too dissuaded by the stigma to accept it in the form of a depression med. Instead she self-medicates with alcohol.

I think that, as law students, we’re sort of encouraged to seek solace in alcohol. We’re encouraged to go out to happy hour, to participate in group bar reviews, cocktail events with firms, etc… but, really, I wish we were encouraged, instead, to seek healthier ways to cope.

My brain can’t regulate its chemicals quite right. I’ve been taught that it’s okay to seek pharma-help for that sort of problem

I wish that the stigma against it didn’t exist. I’m worried I might someday have to say goodbye to my friend, sooner than anyone should have to say goodbye to anyone they love, because she was too ashamed to ask for the kind of help that she needed.

Advertisements