This post brought to you by people who say things like, “If you’re on mental health meds, you’re not The Real You.”
This is just a for the record, for everyone, whether you’re talking about antidepressants or any other form of medication or life circumstances: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE “REAL YOU”.
You know why? Because HUMAN BEINGS ARE CONTEXT-DEPENDENT CREATURES.
You are the real you when you’re being flirty and charming and totally hitting it off with someone adorable. You are the real you when you’re crying on the floor of your room and wishing the world would end. You are the real you when you’re living it up on vacation and you are the real you when you’re just getting through the day at a boring job. You’re the real you when you’re on vacation and hate everything about it, and you’re the real you when you’re flying through the day at an amazing job. You are the real you when you’re at a party, and you’re the real you when you’re staying in with your cat. You are the real you when you’re drinking, when you’re high, when you’re reading, when you’re fucking, when you’re lonely, when you’re surrounded by friends, when you feel absolutely worthless, when you’re brimming with confidence, when you wish the universe would leave you alone, and when you love everything about it. You’re the real you when you’re unspeakably angry and hate everyone, and you’re the real you when you’re ecstatically in love and feeling on top of the world.
“THE REAL YOU” IS A MEANINGLESS TERM USED BY PEOPLE WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW HUMAN BEINGS WORK.
It’s like saying liquid water is real water, and ice and water vapor are not real water. The reality is: water acts in completely different, utterly incompatible ways in different contexts, just like we do.
Me on medication isn’t “not the real me”, it is “me in a different context”. In this case, a different chemical context. I am different with different brain chemistry, the same as I am different in different social contexts, living environments, relationships, etc., etc. If I want to rearrange the context in which I live my life chemically in the same manner that I try to arrange my life socially, environmentally, etc., I may end up different, but I will not end up “less real”.
There are contexts in which I am a shitty human being. I am still me in those contexts. I am still real – just as real as the contexts in which I am an amazing, thoughtful, loving human being. I strive to avoid the contexts that engender my being a shitty human being, because I don’t like being a shitty human being. If I were a better human being in the context of using antidepressants than I am in the context of not using them, then I would make the decision to use them, and anyone who thinks that would be a bad decision because it would make me somehow “less real” can fuck the hell off.
Just for the record.
Side note: see the comments for some fleshing out of the operational definition of “the real you” being used in this post.