Some people think the worst thing in the world is needing medication for depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. But that’s NOT the worst thing. The worst thing would be if a mom wasn’t around to raise her babies because of something completely preventable: suicide.
There is still a stigma to taking medication, although society is much more accepting now than even ten years ago. I see it in online comments all the time:
“You need Jesus!”
“You’re taking the easy way out.”
“You shouldn’t need to get ‘drugged up’ to take care of your kids.”
And my favorite:
“You should only take medication if you REALLY need it!”
So many people say these things, and most have no clue what it’s really like to live with mental illness. The utter exhaustion. The pain. The inability to push through an imaginary wall that’s holding you back. Feeling useless and hopeless. Wondering if you can and should trust your own thoughts. Feeling like a terrible mother. And just NOT BEING YOURSELF.
How does anyone know if I or anyone else “really needs” medication? You are not inside my head. The slippery slope to suicidal thoughts can be quicker than many people realize.
Today you might say a mom shouldn’t need medication.
Tomorrow you might say, “Why did she take her life?”
If we really want moms to take charge of their mental health and end the suicide epidemic that is a leading cause of maternal death, then we need to look at our judgement of TREATMENTS for mental illness.
Now, I realize medication doesn’t work for everyone and people have reasons they don’t want to take it. But one of those reasons shouldn’t be worrying about what other people think, or feeling guilty that you need it.
There are many other things that can help treat mental illness such as therapy (which has been immensely helpful for me) and supplemental activities such as yoga, exercise, meditation, prayer, and more. There is also taking care of any physical health problems that might be exacerbating symptoms. There is a whole picture of health to look at.
But my point is medication can be life changing.
That needs to be respected.
Don’t come after me about “big pharma” arguments, because I know what I know.
Medication has saved my life.
This post was originally published on the author's facebook page.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Call 1-800-273-8255 for help.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.