Medicating Grief


“I’ve often asked myself, why do we need to medicate grief?  Grief is normal.”  This is something my therapist said to me when I first got put on anti-depressants and sleeping pills to help me through my grief.  I was feeling guilty for being put on anti-depressants, but he told me that it was my anger.  If I were not medicated, I could potentially do some self-harm from the anger I was showing him in my sessions.  My weeks of losing sleep were also effecting my performance.  After a long discussion on this topic, he told me that you medicate grief when it starts negatively effecting your relationships, performance at work, and ability to function.  The medication was to get me through work.  It was to “give me the boost” I needed to perform on my job.  To get things off my mind and help me focus and be less of a zombie at work.  After a few failed prescriptions, we found the one that works for me.  To an extent, the medication did help me focus more and lessen the suicidal thoughts.  Six months later, I still remain on the anti-depressants and sleeping pills.  I still rely on them.

Medicating grief sort of makes sense to me, but at what point do we not consider this medicating part just “numbing the pain?”  I get that it helps us move on with our lives and deals with the depression, but if we “numb the pain” of our grief, do we really cope and deal with it?  Or does it just get pushed to the side?  If grief is normal, why do we as a society medicate it?  I understand that had I not been diagnosed with depression in July and put on depression medication, I would have done something stupid. I would have gone overboard.  I get that my grief put me in that state.  The medication does help me, as does the therapy, but I often sit here and think, “had my father not passed away, I wouldn’t have a depression diagnosis in my file at the clinic.  I wouldn’t be classified with the stigma of being depressed.  I wouldn’t be relying on pills so that I could live my life.”  I also wonder how long I will be relying on these pills so that I can live my life.  I am in no means ready to be taken off them.  I realize that it has only been 6 months, but how much longer will I need these pills?  The thought of taking the pills no longer bothers me, but these are just the thoughts running through my head.  If we hadn’t medicated my grief, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.  So, I am glad we did.  The war in my head is much quieter now than it was for the months before I took the medication.


One thought on “Medicating Grief

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  1. I fought medication for a long time, mostly because of my own stigma on receiving the label of being mentally ill. I did not want what my mother had. Then my son died from mental illness and I began to accept help during the grieving process. I tried many different types of antidepressants and finally found one that works. I treat it like my blood pressure medication. It is necessary to keep me healthy.

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