I have been pill-shamed in one way or another for as long as I have been on medication. Countless times I have felt so embarrassed about the fact that I have to take a pill every day just to feel “normal”. The comments I have heard range from sympathetic to judgmental, but they all make me feel as if there is something seriously wrong with me. And I guess it shouldn’t bother me that much because frankly, there IS something wrong with me. Or maybe I’m just wired differently. However you want to categorize me, it makes me feel bad about myself and that’s not right.
I have friends who suggest herbs, supplements and vitamins. I have been told that I just need someone to talk to. Exercise more, read this book, meditate. Trust me, I’ve tried it all. And some of it really does help, especially meditation. But it’s just not enough for ME. And I appreciate the advice, but I know me, and I know that I don’t like crying for no reason and I don’t like feeling like I can’t function or get out of bed. It’s not fun. The last thing I need is to feel shame about it!
I’ve tried several times to be off of my medication. I’ve weaned myself the right way, the way my doctor told me to. And there have been times when I thought I was really doing great. But then something would happen, or maybe nothing happened at all, but eventually I would find myself in utter despair once again. Then comes the shame. I am a failure because I just can’t do it. I just can’t do life successfully without a stupid little pill, the way a “normal” person can.
That stupid little pill is quite potentially a life saver though, and I don’t say that lightly. Just like the pill that you might take for your high blood pressure, or the shot that you need to give yourself because of your diabetes. The treatment is there to help us live our best and healthiest lives. Why is there shame in that? Depression and other mental illnesses are just that. Illnesses. And they should be treated in the best way possible so that we all have a fair shot at LIFE! If I were to tell you that I had a life threatening disease and I had to take medicine for it, assuming you’re a good human, you wouldn’t ridicule me about it, or make me feel bad about myself. So why, when there is something different about my brain, is that a bad thing? Why should I feel embarrassed about that?
I shouldn’t. No one should.
So, from now on, when I feel ashamed about my stupid little lifesaving pills, I’m going to hold my head high and remind myself that I’m not less of a person because of it. I’m a fighter. And fighters do whatever it takes to win. I want to help make the world a better place. I want to be happy and I want to make other people happy. And I can’t do that when I’m in a dark, lonely and scary place. I’m strong enough to get help. So do what you need to do for you and I will do what I need to do for me. Stop the shaming (fat shaming, slut shaming, mom shaming, etc.) and be kind. We are all put together so differently, yet we are all searching for the same thing. Happiness. And we all have our own ways of getting there.