When are you done?

I initially refused to start medication because I was afraid I might have to take it forever.

Now, being on it – my fear is gone. I am no longer afraid to be medication for the rest of my life. I appreciate the change it brought to my life, and I am rather very thankful for the help it gave me.

However, not everyone seems to see it this way.

One most frequently asked question from my family and friends would be – “When are you planning on cutting it off? Do you still get anxious and sad if you miss a dose?”

Truly, I don’t know. I don’t know when I would be getting off these pills and yes, I think there are some effect that takes if I miss a dose for few consecutive days.

Why is it that me, the one who is actually facing this is OKAY, doing life with my psychotropic medications have to reassure others that I am okay?

I understand my families and friends are coming from a place of care and compassion.

However, I don’t know how to tell them I don’t plan on getting off this medication anytime soon without giving them the thought that I am “dependent” on it.

What am I supposed to do?


24 Replies to “When are you done?”

  1. We are dependent on our meds. I’ve thought the same thing. But then something happens and I realize I cannot get off the meds all that easily. When and how we get off the meds is a discussion between me and my therapist, psych nurse and primary care physician.

  2. They should not be asking you such questions as they’re not qualified mental health professionals. It’s your call. This sounds like unnecessary pressure and your should talk to your therapist about it

    1. You’re right. As much as I agree with everything you say, I guess it’s just hard to “cut it out of my mind” knowing they are genuinely the ones that care for me

  3. As a licensed counselor I see this dilemma often. The reality is that it depends on the person, the illness and the case. Some people simply need to be on medication just like some diabetics need to take insulin regardless of their eating habits. If it is a chemical issue it may be outside of your control and that’s okay. Obviously you do your best to limit the amount of meds you have to take but there is no shame in taking medication for the long run. Good luck to you!

  4. I agree that you should talk about it with your therapist/prescribing doctor. Plenty of medicines can be needed or intended for life long use without being considered an addiction, a crutch, or anything other than maintaining a healthy life… such as for diabetes, high or low blood pressure, heart issues, cholesterol, thyroid, and more. Mental illness is a genuine health concern.
    Praying for you and your family. God loves you. <3

    1. Thank you!
      I struggled not feeling guilty from being on anti-depressants as a follower of Christ myself for a long time. Still praying and asking God for his peace in wisdom in my life!

      1. I struggled as well for a time, but the Lord taught me that Mental Illness is a genuine illness. You are doing the best thing by praying to God and following what He tells you! 🙂

  5. I take medicine that helps me and I don’t plan on getting off of it. You are ok to continue taking your medicine that helps you as well… Do whats best for you!…

  6. Interesting post. Every journey is up to the traveler. This is your fight, and yes, while there are people there to support you, sometimes their lack of understanding can bring unnecessary stress. There is no easy way to breach this subject, but using your therapist can help, not only to be grounded within your decisions, but also to possibly act as a buffer for your family to understand. Carpe Diem and thank you for the post.

  7. It’s not up to them, it doesn’t matter what they think it want you to do. This is YOUR mental health in jeopardy, not theirs.

    Why do you getting the need to get off it, esp if it’s helping you? May I ask what mental disorder are you living with?
    I am living worth unmedicated ADHD but it’s not by choice, it’s just when you hate to do on sliding scale gov clinics, it takes forever and a day to get anything going, esp since the meds I require is a controlled substance.
    I would do what you feel in you gut and in your heart is BEST FOR YOU, not anyone else.
    I’m leaving you my info on your Twitter post and I would appreciate a return favor!
    Let me know what you decide!

    1. I struggle with depression and OCD. My OCD isn’t as bad as some people may describe, which I guess why people around me don’t seem to understand why I need to be on it..

      1. There’s one thing that I neglected to mention. You don’t have to tell your business to everyone, even your “friends” because it’s none of their business and that’s to prevent this very thing that’s happening to you!!💙💜💛❤️💚❤️💛💜💙💜 I’m sorry your going through this but it may be necessary to show you people don’t think with the same heart as some of us do… Think about that 💙💜💛❤️💚

  8. Hi Haelim first I’d like to say how much I love your work. It’s honest, Frank and totally from the core. When I read this post my heart went out to you for many reasons. One being the pressure you’re so obviously under to eventually stop medications. The treatment journey most definitely has to be the choice of the person experiencing the issue and of course you’ve chosen the medication route finding stability & balance from it. For this reason why should you do anything?
    As a traditional eastern healer though I have to say I’ve seen so many people start to manage their BI-polar more naturally without the reliance on medication but I wouldn’t even think of advising this if you see no other route than the one you’re taking already.
    There’s a you tube clip I’d like to share with you that looks at things from a different perspective. It’s one man’s story about how meditation helped his condition and let’s face it – BI-polar does affect the mind. If it means nothing to you then please delete it and don’t give it another thought. Still keep posting though as I really love your work. Julie

  9. It must be really hard when you know are doing well on the meds, on the one hand, and people who care about you are pressuring you to get off them, on the other. I imagine that they feel some fear about your illness and want to think that you are “cured.” Not needing the medication might represent to them proof that you are cured.

    I wonder if a little more education on the nature of your illness and what role medication can play? That might help. But fear, like other emotions, isn’t necessarily rational, so information may or may not make a difference. If that’s the case, you may ultimately need to set some boundaries and let them know that it’s not a topic you want to discuss. I am sure your therapist can help you find the right words to do this kindly.

    Wishing you all the best, Q.

    1. Thanks Q. I guess its mostly the guilt I feel whenever I see the looks on my family members when I tell them about my medication. Not that they are actively trying to guilt trip me, but they look discouraged whenever I tell them I don’t plan on getting off anytime soon. They seem to understand that many people take it life long as an “aid” just like we wear glasses and contacts lenses for the rest of our lives. But I think especially with my background as an Asian American, they have a harder time wrapping their head around that this is something more “real” than us Asians have a tendency to brush over.

      1. I don’t know if this would feel useful or relevant to you… I have a good friend who is Latina and who has a brother who is bipolar. She tells me that there is some of the same denial or at least lack of experience talking about mental health in her family and extended community that you describe in your Asian American family. She went to a course put on by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) for family members and then brought the information home and shared it with her parents and siblings. She said that helped the whole family a lot. I don’t know if you have a sibling or cousin or anyone who might want to go to one of their classes and then share the info… it’s something to think about, anyway. And that way, the whole burden of educating everyone isn’t just on you.

  10. Sounds to me like whilst they mean well and clearly by asking the question of when you will be off your meds completely, what they’re actually asking is, “When will you be cured?” By this, I would say that they probably don’t understand the illness. Please, whatever you do, don’t fall prey to any external pressure to eliminate your medication unless it is under the supervision of your doctor, therapist etc etc. and most importantly what you feel is right. You have to do what’s best for you. It might make others feel more comfortable knowing that you’re like them and free of taking any anti-depressants etc but this is about you and not them. Right, I’m off my little soap box now! Katie x

  11. “When will you be cured” – this question gets me every time!
    I don’t know if I will ever be “cured” but I know I took such large steps to be where I am right now.

  12. Take care of yourself and if you feel better on the meds than that is the reason to stick with them. No one can understand the feelings you have, and being “cured” or “normal” is different for everyone. Stick with it – like we discuss in our family – would you tell someone with diabetes to stop taking their medication??

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