Tag Archives: mental illness

Why Stigma is Not Like a Band-Aid

Stigma sucks.

So does Stigmata but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

Thing is, band-aids would do a better job of healing stigmata, as horrific as it is, than it they would to heal the misconceptions about mental illness.

For centuries, people have developed their own fears and prejudices in regards to those of us who struggle with mental illness.

We’re scary.

We’re violent.

We’re stupid.

We can’t function.

We should be locked away.

We are to be feared.

We are to be hidden.

We are to be whispered about.

We are not to be talked about at all.

We are to hide our illness the best we can.

We are an embarrassment to our families.

We can’t have friends.

We can’t have children.

We can make our illness go away.

We choose to be crazy, nuts, insane, loco.

We use mental illness as an excuse to not contribute to society.

We are lazy.

Meet stigma.

Stigma is a heavy blanket which covers all of us who struggle with mental illness. Not only do we fight against whatever illness it is we are diagnosed with, but we fight the blanket too. It’s a thick and heavy blanket society has flung over us to hide us as we try to function within their world. It’s hiding us. Just as a band-aid hides a wound.

Band-aids don’t always heal wounds. Sometimes a wound needs to breathe, to gulp in fresh air, scab over, and continue to grow new skin in order to heal. Fresh air is the equivalent of open conversation of mental illness not laced with stigma. Until we, as a society, are able to sit down at a table together to discuss mental illness without resorting to judging or stigmatizing those who struggle with it, we will never heal.

Stigma is not something which can be pulled off quickly like a band-aid either.

It requires a slow removal because stigma is a wound which has been festering for eons. Lots of tender care is required in order to aid in the wound reaching fresh air. Several layers need to be removed, slowly and carefully. Bold conversations, intense honesty, patience, compassion, and a dedicated desire to convey the truth about mental health are requirements.

It is possible to peel back the layers and allow the wounds to heal. Start with one person and you might be surprised where your ripple of truth ends up. But if you never start that conversation? Stigma will continue to thrive. Don’t hesitate to do something because you believe just one voice doesn’t make a difference. Because your voice, no matter how small, matters.

Anderson Cooper, Meds, Parents, and Responsibility

Today, in 20 minutes from now, where I live, at least, Anderson Cooper airs. He’s doing a segment about Moms & Medication – Mothers who take medication to be a better parent. Anti-anxiety pills, specifically.

I want to be happy they’re covering this but after last night’s initial tweet which has several people I know up in arms, I just can’t. I’m holding my breath and will be tuning in to watch just to see if they cover things properly and make a clear exception that there ARE parents out there who do need medication for mental health issues just to live, not to be a better parent.

Last night, Anderson’s Twitter account for his show tweeted this gem:

Taking mood stabilizers to be a better parent? What do you think of this new trend? Tweet back: #ALParenting

— Anderson Live (@andersonlive) March 3, 2013

Wow.

If there are parents out there truly doing this, yikes. And if this is just Anderson’s way of spinning the situation into a hype, then shame on them. There are multiple reasons a parent would legitimately need psychiatric medication – not just to be a better parent.

Watch with me, follow along on Twitter (I’m @unxpctdblessing), and follow the hashtag #ALParenting.

I’ll be tuning in and pushing back, using both the #ALParenting hashtag as well as the #ppdchat hashtag. Please join me if you can.

This post will be updated with reactions – and if you write anything or have any comments, please do not hesitate to share them here as well.

Update, after watching the show:

Overall, it went much better than I thought it would. However, as with all discussions about mental health, particularly ones squeezed into short segments and sensationalized for daytime viewing, things did go wrong. Below is a short list of what I was happy to see and then a few things I wasn’t happy to see:

Happy to see:

  • Dr. Michele Borba emphasize the seriousness of maternal depression and getting treatment for it. (Also emphasizing that depressed mothers will and should do anything to get help for their illness)
  • Emphasis, again, by Dr. Borba, that we, as mothers, need to get to know our hot points, learn how to deal with them, and how to deal with winding down as a family so we pass on practical de-stressing techniques to our children.
  • Anderson Cooper emphasize, at the end of the discussion, how important it is that if you have an issue with depression or mental illness, to see a doctor about your issues.

Not happy to see:

  • The anti-med member of the panel ask a member of the audience this question: “If your son were to come up to you and say he had a bad day, would you just tell him to take a pill?” The audience member was stunned. Absolutely stunned. So was I. Just because I took medication after I had my children did not mean I only coped by taking a pill. A pill is merely one part of therapy, there are many facets to caring for yourself. There’s a line you can cross into addiction and yes, that is absolutely unhealthy (the anti-med member’s parents had crossed this line), and it doesn’t allow room for healthy coping methods while in the midst of the addiction, but it doesn’t mean you get to toss a blanket of your experience on everyone else. I am sorry that was your experience, but you absolutely do not get to judge me based on that at all.
  • Failure to mention mental illness in any serious way until halfway through the segment. Most of the discussion involved the emphasis on “taking pills to be a better Mother.” No mention of diagnosis was made, nothing. I understand privacy but if you’re on a national talk show to discuss taking meds, make sure you mention why otherwise you’re just feeding the stigma that Anderson put forth last night which is Moms taking pills to be a better parent as part of a trend. Postpartum Depression and Maternal mental health issues (paternal too) are not part of a TREND. They happen, they are real, and they deserve honest and informed coverage.

On to this afternoon when Katie Couric will have a segment about Moms and mental health as well. Today is gonna be fun, isn’t it?

Share your opinions below!

A Mother’s support is key during mental illness

According to an article over at Scientific Daily, what Mom thinks of her child’s mental illness matters when it comes to that child’s self-esteem. The study, carried out by a sociologist at Northern Illinois University, found that more than any other family member, what a Mother felt and communicated in regard to her child’s mental illness (in this study it was specifically schizophrenia), carried the most weight with said child, especially when these views were negative.

What researchers also found was that the greater exhibited levels of initial symptoms and therefore lower self-esteem in relation to symptoms, the more likely the mother was to reinforce popular yet stigmatizing beliefs about the child in relation to his/her mental illness.

Despite the small size of the study (only 129 mothers of adult schizophrenics were followed over an 18-month period), I find this study interesting from a Postpartum Mood Disorder perspective. All too often, I hear about women struggling with a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder who have chosen not to share their diagnosis with their mothers specifically. Or have shared their diagnosis with their mothers only to be told to “snap out of it” or that “it will pass.”

Family is often our first line of support and defense when it comes to any illness. But when it comes to mental illness, for many, family is the last line of defense because we fear stigmatization and exile from those we love the most. This study also reminds me of another study which concluded after fMRI’s of both depressed and non-depressed women that  a Mother’s criticism caused distinct neural reaction in formerly depressed women.

Is all of this related to the intricate female to female  relationship? Do we really care so much about what another woman, especially our own mother, thinks about us that we are willing to allow it to so definitively shape our own self-view? I realize we grow up wishing to please our parents but why is it what our Mother thinks of us that tends to matter most?

As women, should we not always strive to be the best for ourselves, not caring what any other woman thinks of us, not even our own Mother? How do we break out of that mold? How do we grow past attacking each other, past the guilt of having let another woman down? How do we learn to live for ourselves in a society which preaches competition and rewards those who achieve so much on a daily basis?

When the Mom wars begin to affect how the mentally ill view themselves, it’s gone too far. When the Mom wars delay other mothers from healing and finding the support they so desperately need, it’s gone too far.

A mother is where you go when you need a hug. A mother is where you go when your soul needs to be soothed. A mother is peace. A mother is love. A mother is not harmful. A mother is not hateful. A mother is not a source of shame about oneself. A mother is home.

When a mother ceases to be love, solace, compassion, and peace, we have made a wrong turn. Even mothers who are struggling with Postpartum Mood & Anxiety disorders are all of these things—they are simply unable to elicit the reaction within themselves without a bit of help and healing.

When a Mother, who, for no other reason, sees her child as stigmatizing and reinforces low self-esteem in her child simply because of that child’s mental illness? We as a society should be ashamed.

If you’ve struggled with a Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorder, I would love for you to leave a comment about whether or not you shared your diagnosis with your mother—if you did or did not, why? What was the reaction?

Let’s get to Just Talking.

An Open Letter to any Media outlet Exploiting Charlie Sheen

Dear members of the media including but not limited to ABC, TMZ, NBC:

You make me sick. Sick, angry, and sad.

A celebrity is in the midst of a dire emergency and you’ve erected circus tents around him replete with cameras.

ABC? You get a special mention here because you even allowed his CHILDREN to be present at one of the many interviews you filmed with Charlie Sheen. His children.

On what planet is it okay to be cool with nearly two year old children around someone who claims to have “tiger blood?”

But it’s okay, you say.

Okay because Charlie says he’s okay.

Right.

You drug tested him. Drew blood.

Nothing there.

Guess what, ABC?

Mental illness?

Yeah. That’s not diagnosable via test tube or pee cup.

Now that you’ve “ruled out” drugs, are there plans for you to play Psychiatrist too as America watches?

I feel heartbroken for his family. For his ex wife, Denise Richards, who has now had to assure the American public that her kids have not been with Charlie these past two weeks. I feel for Brooke who is clearly in a state of confusion. I know where she’s at …. somewhat. I’ve been there. It sucks. You don’t know which way is up or down. It’s a vortex in which you do the best you can do just to stay afloat but mostly you want to collapse and scream and ask WHY?!?! But instead you go numb and trudge forward toward safety. You hope.

Charlie, a father with four children, is clearly struggling with a multitude of issues.

Instead of offering help to Charlie, you’re putting on a show for the rest of us with him as the star. You ask him things like “Do you worry about your kids learning about this?” To which he replies, “God no! What a lesson!” What kind of a lesson, exactly? That it’s okay to go crazy, seek attention, shout inane things from the top of the world, and demand that you get paid more for services you’re clearly not capable of at the moment? There is a lesson in all of this – it’s that when you hurt, you get help. When you see someone hurt, you GET them help. You don’t put them on display.

Wait. You’re the media. You do put it all on display. No matter what the moral and ethical bounds are – it’s all about the ratings. The wilder the better, right?

I’m not watching. Many people I know are not watching.

But many are… and the damage being done to those who are mentally ill and struggling with addiction by your organizations is atrocious. Here, let me serve up some stigma on a silver platter. Watch.

Have we, as a society, taught you this behaviour, through our obsession with reality TV?

Has reality TV finally blurred the line? Have we really come to this?

Is our society so starved for entertainment we are willing to watch, in real time, as a celebrity implodes live on the air?

I know it’s about ratings. If people watch, you make money on advertising, etc. Have you no soul? No decency left among you?

In my opinion, the only company that has done something right is CBS. I stand with them in canceling the rest of the season of Two and a Half Men. It’s unfair to the rest of the cast and the crew, but not to Charlie.

There needs to be someone holding him accountable for his behavior. Yes, he is an adult and shouldn’t have to have anyone treat him like he’s 12. Unfortunately, he’s also a very ill person in crisis right now. Sometimes we have to take steps back in order to regain our footing.

I sincerely ask you to stop exploiting Mr. Charlie Sheen’s tragic situation.

Your exploitation of his situation is possibly even more tragic and disturbing than Charlie’s fall from grace.

Warmest,

Lauren Hale

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Saturday Sundries: DSM 5 & Postpartum Depression Identifier

Hey y’all. I’m late, I know, I know.

Last night, I fell asleep at 10pm while watching Kevin Smith’s “Too Fat for 40.” He was hilarious. I? Tired. Woke up long enough to crawl into bed before 11pm.

Then this morning, as I woke up at 813a, the day rolled on and I didn’t blog. I hung with the kiddos as the hubs ran some errands. Then we put the kids to bed and I went shopping.

When I got home, it was time for dinner. So the kids ate. Put them to bed, hubs ran another errand, I did my 30 minutes of Wii and watched Grey’s.

Then hubs came home and we ate a yummy steak dinner while we watched The Parking Lot Movie.

After we ate, I opened my laptop to blog.

The dog decided she needed to go outside.

Of course.

So she went. With me.

Then I fixed myself some Twizzler Cherry Bites.

Then the Internet wouldn’t work on my computer.

Hubs tried to fix it.

Three router restarts, a firmware update and another router restart, here we are.

12 minutes before midnight with a HUGE question to answer.

Here goes nothing.

@WalkerKarraa asked the following question: how will Pediatricians and ObGyns diagnose ppd with no dsm specifier in dsm v. Will the icd 10 cover?

I’ve been mulling this one around in my head all week. I wish I had more time to do it justice. But I slacked and I apologize.

First off, I’m not sure what you mean by “no DSM specifier in DSM 5.” As far as I know, they are keeping the identifier as I’ve not read anything to the contrary (if there is something out there, PLEASE let me know because Dear LORD they can’t take it out of there.) As far as I know, they just aren’t extending the onset of PMAD’s to beyond 4 weeks, which, as covered here, is total complete BS.

Secondly, Pediatricians do not need to be “diagnosing” PPD. They should absolutely screen for it but then refer Mom to her own doctor for official diagnosis.

I know what the ICD 10 is, have read it, and remember thinking that it would cover it and in fact, be reason enough for the folks over at the DSM to extend the identifier onset period but… apparently there has to be a defined offset in order for the onset to be extended. I know, my head hurts too.

Just as Jane said at the conference this past year, when the DSM was last revised, they too, fought hard for PMAD’s.

We can’t give up and let our voices be silenced. We also cannot let a book define our own experiences. It is what it is – label or not. Just because a doctor chooses not to label you as Postpartum doesn’t mean that those of us who have struggled with mental illness after the birth of a child will love or accept you any less. We will still love you and support you. We will still be there for you. Always.

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YAWP!!!!! (a rant)

(the following was inspired by The Daddy Yo Dude Unfiltered’s piece entitled: Bent, not broken)

In the deepest depth of the darkness, I had days unlike any days I had ever experienced.

Days on which life swirled around me, flowed up, down, backward, east, west, and pulled me in every direction. A thought? What was that? Thoughts were for other people, other humans who could engage in meaningful conversation with each other, meaningful multi-syllabic conversation. Other people who did things besides dishes, diapers, breastfeeding, feeding dogs, cooking, cleaning…. other people who did things like shower, leave the house because they weren’t afraid of everyone else knowing their secrets. Other people who could chop vegetables for their families without a zillion thoughts about how to use that knife for something besides chopping the vegetables.

Life was for other people.

Not for me.

Life requires you to hold it together. To not fall apart. To NEVER fall apart – not even behind closed doors.

We hide those who fall apart. We hide ourselves when we fall apart. Because we are not supposed to do this – we are, above all else, to stay together. “Keep it together man!” or “Just keep swimming” are a couple of recent quotes which come to mind here. (And yes, I realize that I am quoting Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo. I’m a parent with three kids six and under. I watch these films often therefore the dialogue is applicably stuck within my few remaining brain cells)

Legs break.

Arms break.

Hearts break.

Sympathy for all. No stigma or shame attached there.

But if your MIND breaks?

Holy effin’ robin eggs, batman.

If your MIND breaks …..

Society at large would have you believe:

It’s YOUR fault.

YOU can snap out of this.

And if you can’t snap out of this? YOU will never get better.

Once you get better, you are never ever allowed to break your MIND again.

(yanno, because YOU broke it to begin with and should now know how NOT to break it again)

Dear Society At Large:

My Mind broke. Twice. Or more. I wasn’t to blame. It happened. I sought help. I didn’t get help. I got worse. My mind broke even more. Shattered, dare I say. Decimated. Dust. I got help then. I wandered aimlessly about the hidden place – the hush hush ward of the hospital. The place where they say “You don’t have to tell anyone you were here.” (The first rule of Psych Ward is that there is NO Psych Ward!) The stigma? It starts THERE. It travels home. It spreads. In every direction, in every crook and corner of society it creeps and crawls. And it is there we, the ones with the broken minds, are expected to stay. We are sent home with this expectation, this order to hide ourselves away, to lie about what really happened to us. In the dark corners. The crooks and the crannies. Where NO ONE CAN SEE OR HEAR OUR BROKEN MINDS AND VOICES.

Guess what?

I’m in the middle of the room.

On a table.

Shouting out my story.

TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN.

(Not as sexy as a stripper but I’m there and I’m rockin’ the room)

Because you know what?

I was broken. But I’m not anymore.

I broke the old me. I broke the scared human. I broke her and I left her far behind, crumpled in your dark corner. I gave birth to the new me. I like the new me. She says things outloud. Things that shouldn’t be said and don’t want to be heard by you. But she says them anyway. At the top of her lungs to anyone who will listen.

She is healed. Scarred, but healed. New scars don’t scare her. New scars excite her because it gives her another avenue full of houses to which she can reach out.

I wish you the best of luck, dear society.

The best.

YOU may bend me. But YOU? May never ever break me again.

Love,

ME

Are PMD’s the new Jimmy Chu’s?

Six years ago, I woke up and wandered into my walk in closet. To my left, neurosis and psychopathy. To my right, temporary madness. I walked right past them to the very back of the closet and grabbed a pile of dusty boxes from the darkest corner.

Ahhhhh.

There they were. All the members of the Postpartum Mood Disorder line, their labels obscured by years of dirt and grime, left there by the previous generation of women just for me. Chills ran down my spine as I placed the boxes on the floor and plopped down beside them, dizzy with anticipation.

Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and the most spectacular and rarest of them all – Postpartum Psychosis.

As I opened one, cobwebs covered my hands as stale air escaped.

I hyperventilated as the suspense of discovering my poison washed over me.

As I pulled the lid off, there it was, shining in all its glory.

Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder! I clapped my hands with glee, grinned, squealed, and slipped my toes into the bejeweled insanity, strapping my heels in for the bumpy yet glittery ride.

As I returned the other boxes to the shadowy corner, the fun times rolled full force ahead!

Horrible traumatic thoughts about harming myself and my baby slammed into me. I shivered in sheer delight. My anxiety level shot sky-high as my daughter screamed and fussed in the next room. And oh yes, my favorite of all – my newfound fear of kitchen knives as they became central to the little shards of horrificly delicious thoughts.

Oh yes.

THIS is what I am talking about. This is awesomeness all wrapped up in a gorgeous pair of killer heels. Where on EARTH had they been my whole life? This rocked.

As I sat down in the living room to nurse my daughter for what seemed like the 50th time in less than 3 hours, I admired my fancy new shoes. They were hypnotic, yet psychotically tragic at the same time. But dammit, they were mine. Bejeweled, beveled, and shining like gold, they clung to my feet with a grip that just would not quit.

Slowly the sun slid beneath the horizon as the house darkened and a loud silence filled the world, screaming at me.  Yet here I still sat, pinned to the couch, nursing baby on my boob, on my gazillionth episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, shoes still strapped to my feet. My heels blistered, my toes horribly pinched, my arches swelled, and my cankles threatened to devour the straps.

I wanted to take the shoes off. Now.

But baby wouldn’t stop eating. Life wouldn’t stop moving forward, swallowing me whole, the thoughts wouldn’t stop swirling around my head long enough for me to figure out how to undo the now almost buried straps beneath my cankles.

I pulled, I fought. I screamed, I wept, wailed, gnashed.

I needed professional help.

Had I waited too long? Had I done permanent damage to myself? To my marriage? How would I care for my baby if I could no longer function? What on earth had I really sacrificed to be so fashionable? Slipping on a PMD was the trendy thing to do, right? Why wasn’t this working for me? What the hell had I done wrong?

Turns out I had done nothing wrong.

And for the record, I didn’t really slip on a PMD. No, it crept up on me from behind, beat me over the head, and rode me like a drunken sailor rides a mechanical bull after one too many beers during shore leave.

I did NOT choose to have a PMD.

I do not claim to have a PMD so I can be like Dooce.

I do not claim to have a PMD so I can outdo your bad days.

I do not claim to have a PMD just because the cool kids are doing it.

I do not claim to have a PMD just because I want more traffic to my blog, dammit.

I started my blog to cope with an unexpected pregnancy AFTER two episodes of Postpartum OCD, one of which spit me out on my bed, rocking back and forth in the fetal position muttering “I don’t want to be Andrea Yates,” over and over to avoid grabbing a pillow and smothering my daughters. Yes, I said daughters.

My Postpartum experience couldn’t be solved simply by going home and calming my daughter down because even when she was calm, those thoughts still crashed against my shores, angry, unforgiving, and pushing me even further toward the overgrown jungle.

I for one, applaud mothers daring to be vocal about their experiences with PMD’s. As we raise our voices in a loud and beautiful chorus, more mothers are aware of what CAN happen after the birth of a baby. More mothers today know what to do, how to seek help, and have access to peer support immediately via the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, or other Social Media sites.

At the same time, I do agree that some might cry wolf. BUT – it is not my place to judge them. It is not my place to tell them to MAN UP. It is not my place to force them to a doctor so they can pop pills and become one of the “cool kids.” (By the way, if you go to a doc about a PMD and he/she immediately writes you a script, RUN. Run quickly. Find someone who rules out physical causes such as thyroiditis or anemia first. Please?) It is not my place to diagnose them. It’s not my place to compare their journey to theirs and try to one up them. It’s not my place to brag that my Motherhood Lane has more or less potholes. It’s not my place to blame them for feeling lied to if that’s what they express. It’s just not.

It’s my place to listen. It’s my place to show compassion. It’s my place to love them as they travel down their OWN Motherhood Lane. It’s my place to offer resources through which they will also find compassion, empowerment, and achieve the Motherhood Journey they so sorely yearn for as they lay curled in their beds, unable to get up because the thought of facing one more day has left them powerless. Or the thoughts racing through their heads have frightened them so much they want to sleep forever – because when you’re asleep, when you’re asleep .. those thoughts are quiet. But they’re there as soon as you wake up and when you have a new baby, let’s face it, you’re up a LOT.

Once again, disappointment creeps deep within my heart. I wish we could co-exist in our own spaces without offering critique. Without feeling like the grass on the other side is just a smidge greener and then offering suggestions on how to improve our neighbor’s lawn or gossiping with the other neighbor about how the problems we are having with our own lawn is SO much worse than the ones they are experiencing. Fire Ants? Yeh, well, I’ve got moles. Moles? I’ve got groundhogs. STOP IT. Just stop it.

Can’t we all just grab a margarita and tear down the fences between us without the competition? Please? Cuz that, that would rock.

Just Talkin’ Tuesday 10.13.09: I’m OUT with my PPD – are you?

JTT in or outWithin the past couple of weeks I read a great article by a columnist down in Palm Beach, Florida. Of course the article is from February 2008 but still relevant. The author waxes over various reactions she’s received as a result of coming clean about her mental struggles and illness. But in the end she decides that shes would not change a thing about coming “out” about her struggles.

I started this blog as a way to cope with my third and very unexpected pregnancy on the heels of a nasty episode of Postpartum OCD which landed me in a psych ward. While there, several of the nurses specifically told me I did not have to share with anyone where I had been or why I had been there. Even at the time I remember thinking that was an odd thing to say. Why would I want to hide what had happened to me? Why would I do such a thing when all I wanted was to talk with another mom who was struggling just like me? Wouldn’t it make sense to reach out to other moms? To open up? What good would hiding my “light under a bushel” do?

So here I am.

Out. Shining. And still struggling from time to time. I have stages – right now I’m struggling a bit with not having the same bond with my girls as I do with my little guy. You see, I didn’t have PPD with him so we got to have the fun bonding way it’s supposed to be according to the books experience. Which, by the way, I found a little weird considering I had never done it that way before. But now I find myself saddened and angry that I never got to bond as strongly with the girls as I have with my little man. But alas, I digress.

Let’s get to just talkin here!

If you’ve “outed” your PPD whether it be through a blog, a book, a news story, sharing with a friend, loved one, co-worker, etc, tell  us about the experience. Was it positive? Negative? What you expected? Has the experience of “outing” your PPD changed your life? For the better? For the worse? Let us know!

Just Talking Tuesday 07.07.09: Anti-depressants or Not?

original photo by thegirlsmoma @ flicker

original photo by thegirlsmoma @ flicker

Today’s topic was inspired by a post over at Postpartum Progress: You don’t NEED Anti-depressants, Do You?

In this post, Katherine discusses the lack of stigmatization regarding pharmeceutical treatment for medical conditions in response to a ScienceBlogs post you can find here.

Anti-depressants are stigmatized. Period. Nitro-glycerin or insulin? Not so much. Why? Just as Anti-depressants may work for me, they may not work for you. And if you have the wrong heart condition and take nitro-glycerin, things may not go your way either. But you don’t hear people judging others for being on nitro-glycerin, now do you? And insulin? Many Diabetics require this life-saving medication. Even pain medication after an injury – do you question that prescription? Most don’t and certainly aren’t stigmatized for taking it because let’s face it – a broken leg hurts – something we all understand.

Mental illness hurts too. It hurts the person suffering. It hurts the people around them. And if the right medication is paired with the right therapy, it can make a world of difference. Why then, are we stigmatized or accused of not understanding informed consent for deciding (of our own free will) to take medication as we heal? What makes the scaffolding of Anti-depressants any different than pain medication as a broken leg heals?

So I’m posing a pretty big question today. And I expect there will be a bit of debate about it – which is good…our different opinions are what keep us interesting! Just keep things polite. No hateful, judgemental or fear-centered comments will be approved.

Do/did you or don’t/didn’t you take Anti-depressants? Why? Why not?

And more importantly – IS it your place to tell someone else they absolutely SHOULD not take them if you don’t believe in them or have had a bad experience? Or should you calmly refer them to research that explains the risks vs. benefits and let them make the decision on their own WITH a professional on board?

Let’s get to Just Talkin’!