I’m Not Ashamed of my Antidepressants

I’m Not Ashamed of my Antidepressants

Nowadays everyone is encouraged to talk about mental health, but it seems recovery is our biggest problem.

The media portrays therapy, rehab, and medication as personal failures, and a total dependency on an outside force in an attempt to be ‘fixed’. Consequently the damaging stigma surrounding antidepressants led to people feeling ashamed to admit to having them; or even refusing to take them at all because they feel it makes them weaker.

In an age where suicide rates are at an all-time high, it’s time we stopped demonising the use of antidepressants.

I was one of those people; diagnosed with depression and generalised anxiety disorder in 2014, a time when doctors were practically throwing antidepressants at you at the first sign of a psychological problem. I didn’t want them – but what other choice did I have? They didn’t refer me to any counselling, or told about other treatment options, just “Take these pills and you’ll feel better.”

The attitude surrounding medication and the ‘happy pills’ scrutiny that followed made me view mine in a negative light; ‘I don’t want to become reliant on these – they’ll turn me crazy!’

People were misinformed; and misinformation led to fear.

For years I never admitted to anyone that I took antidepressants. It was bad enough opening up about a mental illness, never mind the pills. I even tried to wean myself off them so I didn’t have to lie any more (Which is definitely not advised. Please speak to your doctor if you want to stop taking your medication).

Above all, the important thing to know is that you’re not alone. Most people with a diagnosed mental illness would have been prescribed antidepressants at some point. While it doesn’t work for everyone, we mustn’t forget the lives that have been improved (and saved) thanks to medication. So for some people, they need antidepressants; sometimes a chemical imbalance can only be controlled with medication, and that’s okay. What works for one person doesn’t have to work for everyone, and that doesn’t make it wrong.

I have a much more positive attitude towards taking antidepressants now. And I’m happy to say that I’m not ashamed of them, or myself for taking them, any more.

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12 Comments

  1. October 17, 2018 / 5:15 pm

    For me, antidepressant or mental illness talk is often avoided. Other people try to empathise or negate impact of mental illness – as if health and ill health is a competition.

    Only so many “I have faced/or tried those during…” stories I cam tolerate, from well-meaning people.
    Easier not to discuss how or where I was prescribed medications (inpatient section 2), because someone will always have an opinion that ignores specialised prescriptions (and their own “facts”).

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:23 pm

      That’s true, everyone has their own ideas and stories. Some of these people do mean well, but maybe it’s not executed in the best way. I hope you have someone in your life who you can talk to, it’s so important to not keep these issues to yourself.

  2. Monique Medina
    October 18, 2018 / 3:42 pm

    Shame is such a fluid emotion. Seems like it was made to remind ourselves of our values and the difference between right and wrong, but for some of us, it’s morphed into a representation of “society’s bad ideals” which sucks! So glad to hear about your journey toward not feeling ashamed of getting better. Thanks for sharing <3

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:21 pm

      What a great comment, you touch on a point that I never even considered. You’re definitely right, we’re conditioned to feel ashamed of things we shouldn’t, and I hope that by more people speaking out about it we can change it. Thanks for reading!

  3. October 19, 2018 / 4:29 am

    A very sensible, well-written post, *thumbs up*!!

    I agree completely. I hated being on them for so long. Now, though, I know that they are necessary for me at this point in my recovery. It’s because of public awareness campaigns and things like your post that have helped me accept this. Which is why it’s so important to keep talking about it- good job!!

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:19 pm

      Thank you! It really is important to keep talking about it to change the stigma surrounding antidepressants. If you need them to recover, there should be no shame in taking them!

  4. October 19, 2018 / 7:58 pm

    I have taken three types of antidepressants in my life and have done the weaning myself off them all three times. Out of shame. Out of “not wanting to spend my entire life on antidepressants”.
    Recently, I’ve started to realise that I think they’re what I need to help me recover.

    There shouldn’t be any shame in this at all. It’s because of stigma that people feel afraid to admit that sometimes, pills are what they need to help them through.

    It’s people like you, however, that help them realise that it’s okay. This is what we need.

    Loved this, thank you for sharing.

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      Thank you so much, I’m glad my post has helped people open up. You absolutely shouldn’t be ashamed, and I know how it feels to not want to feel reliant on medication, but it’s there to help you get better! It’s really great to hear that you’re comfortable with antidepressants now. Keep fighting!

  5. October 20, 2018 / 8:56 am

    Thanks for sharing.

    I repeatedly say that medication saved my life. I’m not ashamed to take the three different pills I need to stay stable every day.

    Hopefully posts like this can help people feel less ashamed and realise that sometimes medication is a necessity.

    Katie x
    https://stumblingmind.com/

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:15 pm

      For a lot of people medication is necessary. Thank you for reading, I hope that we can change peoples perceptions of it by speaking out about it more.

  6. October 22, 2018 / 11:04 am

    I take antidepressants as well and for so long I felt embarrassed but I’ve learnt (like you said) there is nothing to be ashamed of. They have helped me recover and if they help you, then there’s no shame. Thank you for this post x

    • October 24, 2018 / 12:13 pm

      You’re right, there is nothing to be ashamed of. We’re ill, so we’re taking medication – that’s it!

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