There’s nothing weak or shameful about meds. Therapy has been wonderful for me, but I think the drugs have also been helpful. For me, neither one alone has been the magic bullet. They have worked hand-in-hand.
One thing to note: the internet is a blessing. But it is a curse. The first time you get a prescription, you will race to every message board to get the straight dope on risks and side effects. Just remember that the people with unpleasant experiences are more likely to post stuff than the people who had great experiences. The latter are too busy living life to bitch and moan on message boards. The negativity can be overwhelming and may make you afraid to take your medication. It’s made me afraid before. And sometimes that’s not a bad thing. For instance, my doc just prescribed me an anti-psychotic. After surveying the intrawebs to determine the common side effects, I feel confident enough to say that I’m just not in that bad of a shape yet to take it. I’m sure it’s fine for some people, but I don’t think it would be fine for me.
But there’s also negativity out there for the other meds that I take. I guess the difference is that the complaints aren’t as consistent for these drugs as they are about the other. If everyone is saying a drug turned them into morbidly obese zombies, for instance, that’s a lot scarier than if only some claim this happened to them.
If you can swing it financially, I would recommend going to a therapist (even if they don’t do CBT) while you tweak your medication. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had someone to provide support during all the doctor-searching and experimentation. It’s helpful to have a third party listen to you kvetch about side effects. From my experience, psychiatrists will either dismiss complaints about side effects or attempt to treat them with other medication (a big no no!) But sometimes you just need someone to just talk to–someone who has helped others go through similar experiences and knows what worked for them.
Also, therapists can act as your case-worker, talking to your doctor on your behalf and helping you find a new doctor in case you decide to switch. When you are seriously depressed and anxious, this is a freakin’ god-send. Well-connected therapists can also get you into the appointment books of doctors who claim they are not taking new patients. And sometimes, therapists can insist you stick with a doctor if you have a history of dumping them for trivial reasons (ahem).
Good luck with your chemical adventures.