Monday, 21 January 2013
Every Sunday, along with millions of others around the world, I check the PostSecret website. I save every postcard on my laptop, and I usually post a few ones on my tumblr, too. And today this one made me think. So I thought I'd write. It's the back of a card, so if you don't know what I'm talking about it might be best to visit the PostSecret website first to see the other side of the card.
With every medication, there are side effects. And the strong the drug, the stronger the side effects (well, for some people, anyway). I've been on quite a few different drugs and had a number of unpleasant side effects, so much so that in the past I've contemplated coming off medication altogether.
I think I was about 17. I'd been on medication for a few years at that point. I remember being in CAMHS, anyway. I don't know what I was talking about, why I wanted to come off it in the first place, but I was depressed and saw the drugs as making what was a cognitive problem worse. Then I wanted to come off them again, last year. I remember Sylvia's reply, it went something like, "So you're depressed and frustrated and you want to come off the anti-depressants because you feel like that will help? In what world would coming off the anti-depressants make sense?" I was 19 and stressed and depressed and constantly terrified and didn't want to have to deal with these horrible problems in front of me. I was sick of the fact that no one around me was going through it, I was sick of the fact that my peers' biggest worries were essay deadlines and making it in to class when I was trying to unblock my head, figure out why I was making myself depressed and try not to top myself in the process.
Today is 'Blue Monday'. I'd never heard of this before, but apparently it's the most depressing day of the year. So far today I have managed to wake up, showered, handed in two essays, made birthday presents/jewellery, and watched a lot of 24. This is considered a very successful day for me.
So what I wanted to say, or rather, ask- was it worth it? Are the side effects worth it? Are the hours (and money) spent in therapy worth it? Is it worth losing what feels like a huge part of myself, my identity, to try and keep myself safe?
Every single damn tear and word needs to be worth it, because we are living in a world that does not care, a world that will let us fall and ignore our screams for help. It needs to be worth it because we need to change this world, change it for the better, change it to make it worth trying to survive.
The last few weeks have shown me more than ever that we are at a critical time in the fight for the rights of disabled people in the UK and Ireland, one of a thousand problems I could easily list. We need to mobilise students to fight for the rights of those who are deliberately silenced and deliberately ignored. We need to use all the tools at our disposal, whatever they might be, to make sure that this fight does not go unheard and unnoticed. I am a disabled woman student and I am being let down, every single day, by the voices in Stormont, Westminster; even in places as close as my students' union and university. Where the hell has the compassion gone? Where is the anger? No one is going to start the argument for us- we need to do it ourselves.