According to the citizen’s commission on human rights, over 78 million Americans report taking some type of medication to treat a mental health condition. So why is there still so much stigma surrounding psychological medication?
Ultimately, it all comes down to the way our society views mental illness. While no one would ever think to question an illness like cancer, or blame someone for say, their broken leg, people are a lot more judgemental when it comes to mental illness. And that judgement creates a lot of stigma–especially surrounding medication.
The worst part is, sometimes this stigma gets internalized. It may cause you to think “Why can’t I just be happy on my own?” or “Should I really need a Xanax to be able to relax? What’s wrong with me?” These kind of thoughts suck. Fighting mental illness is hard enough without the added pressure that you should be able to fix it all on your own. It’s ok to have help. In fact, it’s admirable.
Getting help means you’re taking care of yourself, something no one should ever be ashamed of. Yet for some reason, getting help in the form of a pill is still taboo. That’s pretty ridiculous when you think about it. Consider someone with diabetes. We’d never say, “Wow, why can’t they just produce insulin on their own?” Instead, we simply accept the fact that their body doesn’t produce enough insulin, so they need a little help. Mental illness works the same way. When someone is depressed, their brain isn’t producing enough serotonin, so they might need a little help which can come in the form of medication.
While medication may not be the solution for everyone, it’s an important option to consider. Know that taking it doesn’t mean you’re weak, or that there’s something wrong with you. Often, medication just gives you the extra boost you need to get back to normal. Take anti-depressants for example. They won’t make everything sunshine and rainbows all the time. Instead, they’ll help give you a boost so that you can focus on taking steps to make yourself happy again, because you won’t have to focus on fighting the depression 24/7.
If you’re still on the fence, think about all the kickass women who have opened up about their mental health medication. There’s Kristen Bell, Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer Lawrence and countless others. Do you think the fact that they’re on mediation makes them any less kick-ass? Of course not. The same is true for you.