Stop Spreading The Stigma!

I saw a post on Facebook recently that showed a picture of nature with the title “This is an antidepressant” and next to it was a photo of antidepressants with the title “This is a lifelong addiction.”

I can’t tell you how wrong this is in one blog post.

Because of ignorant people making this, posting it, and other ignorant people sharing it, the stigma of antidepressants remains strong. People, like myself, who take antidepressants are already embarrassed or ashamed that they have to take them, much less get called out on something like this. I don’t speak for all people; some may not be ashamed, and that’s great. But for those who are, posts like the one I am talking about make us feel so much more insecure about our mental illness.

Yes, I agree that nature is a natural antidepressant. But some people can’t go outside because of other disabilities, so antidepressants are the right solution for them. Is there anything wrong with that, or is it just that some people are so ignorant that if that person has to take a pill for their mental illness, that they are going to be lifelong addicts? Do you see how stupid that sounds? If it helps that person, what difference does it make to you? Why go around stigmatizing the thing that helps millions of people?

I’m not saying nature doesn’t help, because it does. We all know that serotonin levels rise when in the sun and outside and in nature. But what if it doesn’t help someone as much as another person? What if the antidepressant helps them more? Does that make them an addict? A crazy person? No, it doesn’t.

Some (actually, most) people who suffer with clinical depression can’t just “get up and go outside” like others think they can. It’s not easy at all. If you haven’t suffered from depression, you have absolutely no say in how someone takes care of themselves during a depressive episode. You don’t know what it feels like to hate yourself so much that you want to die. You don’t know what it feels like to hate yourself so much, you don’t feel as if you’re worth even getting out of bed. That feeling, that empty, worthless feeling, is real. “Getting up and going outside” is not easy, and people need to stop saying it as if it is.

Stop making people feel bad for what works for them. If a pill is what makes them feel normal, then so be it. Antidepressants are designed to help people feel like getting out of bed and trying to live normal lives. Antidepressants are not a “lifelong addiction,” so stop spreading those lies to people that will believe you. Nature is not an automatic fix for depression, but it helps a lot. I can speak for it. But it may not be an automatic fix for other people, so stop making them feel bad about it.

What works for you may not work for others. Stop judging people for it. Millions of people in the world take antidepressants, but people who spread the horrible stigma surrounding them and mental health as a whole truly are scum of the earth.

 

We’re Not Crazy!

cra·zy

ˈkrāzē/

informal

adjective

1. mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.

I hate the word crazy when it comes to mental health. It’s the epitome of mental health stigma. People believe that just because someone has a mental illness, that they are “crazy and will kill someone.” While obviously that has happened in the past, it doesn’t ring true for a lot of the mental health community.

Most people that suffer from a mental illness, like myself, do not want to hurt or harm others. I can’t speak for others on some of this, but for me, the only person I’ve ever thought about harming was myself

I’ve been asked (indirectly, might I add) to stop working with children at my church because of my mental illness. I’ve been called many names, including “batsh*t crazy.” I’ve been stigmatized, and I admit: I don’t know how to handle it.

I try to put it in the back of my mind, but it always makes it way back to the front. I try to play it off like it didn’t or doesn’t bother me, but it always did and continues to.

Depression is such a nightmare. Not even just depression, though. Every single mental illness diagnosis in the world is a 100% NIGHTMARE.

Last year when I was talking to my doctor, I told him what was going on with me and then told him, “I hate the word crazy, but I know I sound crazy when I tell you all of what’s going on with me.” He then proceeded to tell me, “You’re not crazy. You’re a regular, normal person who is going through a hard time.” That hit me like a brick wall and I’ll never forget it.

I remember walking out of his office trying not to cry because I hate crying in front of people. But when I got to the car, I let it out. Here was someone who I had just met only a month or two prior to that visit that didn’t think I was full blown crazy. 

People I had known for years or all my life called me crazy, but not Dr. B. He showed empathy. I’ll never forget what he said to me. I remember even telling my mom what he said and after a few seconds of silence, she said, “Wow.” Neither of us knew how to handle it. I had never heard such a kind, gentle statement made to me about my mental illness.

I’m not crazy. We’re not crazy. We’re humans with a problem invisible to the blind eye. But we need help just like someone with cancer needs help. Obviously different kinds of help. But both are invisible. Stop treating us like we’re not human.

We’re not crazy.