Made in dedication to my father.
My father, who had been suffering from depression for much of his life, recently committed suicide. Although we're still waiting on the toxicology report, this topic is related and one I'm very passionate about.
People who're prescribed medication for, say, a heart condition, are rarely if ever questioned or discouraged from taking it. This is because they know the person in question has a condition; something wrong with a part of their bodies that needs treatment. It's such a simple concept, not a big deal, until the sick organ in question happens to be the brain. Then, that person's treatment suddenly becomes worrying, a crutch, and of course, everyone's business.
I believe society is still very behind when it comes to this subject, and were they educated, more understanding and less judgmental, there are a lot of people who could still be alive today.
People being treated for mental illnesses, especially those who made the choice to seek help on their own, are doing absolutely the right thing. Unlike going in for stomach pain, a broken leg or diabetes, these people often do so under the scrutiny of society and even friends and family members. This just makes it harder and is a preventable aspect.
Common misconceptions about psychiatric medications:
"That stuff is a crutch! You just need to toughen up and bite the bullet! Be strong!"
FALSE. Mental illnesses have nothing to do with being strong or weak. They are sicknesses just as much as non-psychiatric disorders and often require medication.
"Pills aren't the way to go! Find a good counselor or therapist!"
Therapy can be a wonderful thing and is not something I would ever discourage, however, just as talking will not heal broken bones, counseling will not change chemical imbalances in the brain. Therapy can be helpful, but is by no means a replacement or cure for people who need medication.
"Taking that stuff will change who you are! You won't be the same person!"
If your medication causes any drastic/negative affects on your personality, it may not be the correct one for you. Our bodies all have a different chemistry and what may be right for one person may not for another. Most people have to try a few or even many different types before finding the one that works for them. This is not unique to psychiatric medications.
"You've been doing so much better lately! Maybe you can try to get off your meds now!"
This is not only untrue, but an incredibly dangerous and irresponsible thing to suggest if you are not that person's doctor. Just because someone feels better while on their medication, does not mean that their condition has gone away. Coming off it on their own without professional guidance can not only bring back their symptoms, but actually cause people to "crash" from doing this with devastating and tragic results.
The list goes on, but these are some of the most common ones.
I personally have been and will be on both psych and physical related medications for the rest of my life. I come from, for the most part, a very understanding and supportive environment, yet all of the above have still been attitudes I've had to deal with at some points in my life.
If you are suffering from a mental illness, do not be ashamed. Do not be afraid to get help, and do not let society's ignorance keep you from living the happy and healthy life you deserve.
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