The Everlasting Stigma on Mental Illness Medication

Imagine this: you are experiencing pain and it begins to inhibit your day-to-day life. You go to a Doctor and they recommend some medication to help with the pain. Sounds completely normal, right? It’s the natural thing to do when experiencing any form of pain. Now imagine this pain is invisible and shows itself behaviorally. The medication is to help with a mental illness. Does your opinion change or do you have conflicting feelings about the matter? Perhaps you don’t, but the unfortunate reality is most people tend to believe medication for mental illness is “useless,” “doesn’t work,” or that the person is just faking it or just plain “crazy.” We don’t tell people who take medication for an injury, treatment for physical impairment or chronic pain to just walk it out or it’s wrong to take medication. So, why do we do it for medication for mental health? The chances that you know someone (perhaps several) who takes medication for depression, anxiety, bipolar, or other mental illnesses, are pretty high. These people are no different than a regular person. Many people that are diagnosed with depression or anxiety and take medication for it are for the most part able to function normally on a regular basis, making it usually undetectable for the people in their lives to know unless they are told or are there during a rough spot. This is undeniable evidence that people taking medication for mental illness aren’t crazy and it's rather sad we still have to repeat this in this day of age. Unfortunately, telling someone you are taking anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, or any medication for a mental illness is incredibly scary. You don’t know if they are going to have nothing to do with you, call you crazy or stupid, or end up actually supporting you.

Despite this self-care culture that seems to encourage speaking up about mental illness, a majority of people tend to keep the fact they’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness were prescribed medication for it to themselves. The reality is the way the world views mental illness is not going to change overnight and even if it did, there would be a minority of people who still argue against it. As the upcoming generation, we have the responsibility to ignite change in our society. Every person can do this, and it will make a big difference to the stigma around mental health. It doesn’t have to be a grand event or a walk-out, it can simply be noticing the signs of depression, anxiety, or any other illness and being there for the person no matter what. Mental illness feeds on loneliness and seclusion, the more someone with an illness can talk about, the better. Sometimes, just being a person, someone can turn to and talk when they have at a low point of their life can be the difference between life or death.