Mental Health, Medication & Stigma

There is a certain stigma around taking medication for your mental health. Full disclosure; I do take medication to help me cope with my mental health and I’m tired of it being treated as shameful or weak.

Taking mental health medication is seen as proof of a person having given-up and not working to resolve their own issues. Medication is viewed by many as the ‘easy way’ and reliance on it is thought to be weak and showing a lack of self-motivation to engage with therapy and other methods of working through mental health condition.

I call BS on all of these assumptions! I reached for medication as a last resort after I had tried therapy and counselling and found myself in a desperate situation where I felt like there was no hope of me ever getting better. For many people, medication offers them a lifeline, a way to level-out their condition/s so that they can go about their lives in the way that they want to. Medication can offer someone a platform from which to build their lives but it does not magically solve all of your problems. Work is required on top of taking medication to achieve the feeling of being mentally ‘well’. So, the next time you want to call antidepressants ‘happy pills’ think again because it just shows uneducated and ignorant you are about the whole topic.

Patients and doctors never take the step toward medication lightly. The journey to finding the right medication for your needs is a hard one in its own right. Often you have to trial a medication for a few months, see if it makes you better or even worse, then face the possibility of trying it all over again. The added stress of the medication having negative side-effects makes the process even more disheartening, scary and confusing. So, no, medication is not the easy option or a sign that someone cannot be bothered to work on their own self-improvement. In reality, a person’s trials and tribulations with medication can be really bloody hard in itself.

Other people pile shame on those who, like me, take medication. They say that medication is harmful, ask why we would subject ourselves to it and tell us to try a myriad of different natural alternatives. Now, I’m as big a fan of yoga and colouring-in as the next person but assuming that we haven’t already tried all of those things or that our conditions (which you know barely anything about) could be suddenly cured by these activities is insulting. The individual taking the medication knows their mental health the best, so do not try to shame them by pretending that you know better what they should and shouldn’t do. Some people find that medication works for them, others find that mindfulness and other techniques are great for them, none of these options should be shamed or stigmatised. Let people deal with their own health in the way they see best.

 

Another post I wrote about this topic can be found here: BEING ON AN SSRI

 

For daily doses of my ramblings, follow me on Twitter: @RyanBInNature

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Is The Internet Poisoning My Mind?

Life takes on a different sense of touch
When my eyes are not grazed,
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Invading my mind via osmosis
From a scarily familiar screen.

Unpopular Confessions and Why I’m Crap at Social Media

Whenever I am on social media (which is invariably way too much), I come across posts which make me think that people are speaking a different language to me. In-jokes and witty references often pass over my head because I have not watched or listened to the latest popular show or song. Sometimes this can make me feel out of touch (which is odd as a 19 year old) but other times it can be quite comical watching memes and joke threads unfold in front of me which seem to me completely bizarre and ridiculous because they are out of context. Without further ado, here are some of my unpopular confessions which explain why am I usually so out of the loop on social media (don’t judge me!).

1. I have never watched Friends. I feel like so many people I know have watched every episode of the series multiple times but when someone says they are a ‘Joey person’ I just look back at them blankly and there are so many Friends gifs which completely bewilder me.

2.What the hell is Stranger Things? I really do not know. I know it’s a Netflix series but apart from that I see people walking around in Stranger Things fan t-shirts and just wonder what the series is whilst also not being bothered to watch it because TV series feel like too much of a commitment to me.

3. I really never got to grips with Snapchat and so I just stopped engaging with it after about a week. I just always felt that it was a worse version of Instagram. 

4. I am useless at selfies. I don’t know what it is about me but I can never hold my phone at a normal angle or rest my eyes on the screen without looking that I am staring at myself like a maniac. If I pose then I just come across as looking scary, so there are literally barely any photos of me to find anywhere.

5. I still do not understand what IG TV is and whenever it pops up on my Instagram I stare at the notification with mistrust until it goes away. No matter how many times people talk about what it is, I still do not get it.

6. Whenever someone talks about ‘spilling the tea’, I instantly switch off. The phrase really irks me, especially because I find ‘spilling the tea’ videos to be the most petty and anti-climactic videos on YouTube.

7. I am terrible at motivation posts, so #MondayMotivation is completely out of my league. I either come across as being cringey or just downright annoying if I try to tweet something energetic or inspiring!

8. I have never had a pumpkin spice latte, so I cannot do the typical ‘autumn’s here’ post with a picture of my seasonal Starbucks drink.

9. I find people that only follow me to get a follow back annoying. I usually do follow my followers back anyway especially on Twitter but when people then unfollow me after a day because they’ve already got my follow, I just find it rude.

10. Whenever I am actually doing something interesting, I forget to take a picture or document it in any way, so my social media is always really boring. I literally feel sorry for my followers.