Once I bring up my own dependance on antidepressants, someone inevitably admits, in hushed tones, to their own. And because I realize it’s due to stigma, I am gentle and encouraging, but sometimes I want to yell, “STOP WHISPERING BECAUSE YOU’RE FEEDING THE BEAST.” If you’re ashamed, you’re telling me I need to be ashamed.
If we talk about it casually and without grimace, we’ll teach others to do the same, and, eventually they’ll stop shifting in their seats, while crickets crick. If you suffer from mental illness, the only way it will become okay to talk about is to talk about it. Let’s be brave together.
I had lunch with a friend yesterday who I haven’t seen for 8 years. Six years ago he was slammed with Bipolar 2 and it bulldozed his life. It never occurred to him to hide it. His candor has brought awkward silences and face twitches. It’s become kind of a science experiment for us, an observation of humanity. I am okay with your discomfort at the mention of my mental illness. You don’t have to be ashamed of it; you’ve been taught to tiptoe around depression, schizophrenia, bipolar, multiple personality disorder, etc. It’s not your fault.
Cancer, diabetes, OCD, alcoholism, asthma, arthritis, autism, depression, ADHD, anxiety… these are all things that happen without our permission. Why are some more socially acceptable to talk about? I don’t get it.
Every summer, because of the lack of schedule I have as a free-agent (I’m a teacher), I forget to take my antidepressants for a few days. A few days turn into weeks, and by August I’m so high on sunshine and boob gawking, I’m convinced I’ll never need them again. Late August arrives (i.e. now) and I become weepy and overly introspective and Steve’s all, “Any chance you’re not taking your meds?” Dammit!
I’ve (mostly) accepted my dependance on drugs. Every summer is likely a subconscious test to see if I’m better. Maybe one day I’ll be able to function well without antidepressants, but for now, notsomuch.