So I Got ‘Medication Shamed’…

Everyone’s mental health story is different, but here’s where meds fit into mine…

Sunday, Monday, Happy Days!
Sunday, Monday, Happy Days!

I love other people’s bathrooms. I want to crack open your cabinets. Let me take a shelfie. I’m incurably nosy, you see, and I want to know all about you. Can I covet your Crème De La Mer while empathasing with your eczma? I’m envious of your Armani Luminous Silk foundation, but comforted to know that you too, have at some point suffered from Athlete’s Foot.

This blog is a place to be flagrant about your pharmaceutical needs. I know my cupboards and cabinets reflect who I am, and not just because the main one is made out of mirror. I have some fancy ass shit. My bathroom tiles might be a bit cracked, the sink a little stained, but come on and look at my gear! Behold the Molton Brown shampoo! Check out my Korres shower gel! Marvel at the mini Muji candle! But I also have some less than lovely stuff to show you. Here’s some Imodium, for my occasional but devastating IBS. Super tampons, non applicator, for when my flow is all go. A rusty razor and single, used, false eyelash I haven’t chucked out because I am lazy, busy and disgusting. And a couple of boxes of Citalopram, the antidepressant.

It has taken me a long time to learn that my anxiety isn’t a flaw to work on. I didn’t ask for it, I can’t make it go away, and all I can do is manage it. I’ve tried this dozens of different ways, and for me, medication makes a real difference. There are secondary activities that help, like therapy, exercise, meditation, regular naps and eating lots of vegetables. But without Citalopram, I can’t do any of this. I’ve tried. When I am unmedicated, I constantly feel as though the world is ending, I am underwater, and there’s no air, only wet and tears. I’m smothered with self loathing and fear forcing my body down like a big, bad, scratchy blanket. Medication is an important, positive part of my story. So I was taken aback when I read a few unkind comments ‘shaming’ my decision to picture it on the blog. After all, that’s what I’m here to write about. This is why there are two boxes of antidepressants in the picture.

Anxiety doesn’t need a reason, explanation or excuse. Everyone experiences it in a different way, and it can be as unexpected and hard to control as the weather. But a drug that boosts my levels of Serotonin and regulates the way that the chemicals in my brain behave is what makes my emotions easier to manage. It doesn’t go away. It doesn’t stop me from ever feeling sad or scared. But it allows me to live my life and do my job in a way that sometimes wasn’t possible when I wasn’t using medication. It gives me the mental energy to catch ‘unhelpful thoughts’ – the ones about worthlessness and pointlessness. The ones that can create a current that won’t stop whirling until it drowns you.

When you grow up feeling scared of everything, you learn how to stay silent. You keep still, you do your very best to be unseen, but hopefully, eventually, one day you think “Fuck this. I can’t miss out on my own life because I’m afraid. There has to be a different way to survive.”

Living out loud is hard, but it’s what helps the most. This is show and tell. There have been very bad days when seeing a real, relatable person post a picture of a box of their medication might have made me feel less alone. I don’t want to hide the packet. I want it out there, with my perfume, powder and battered paperbacks. When people question my right to reveal it, it makes me very angry. But I don’t feel worthless or frightened. I think that’s progress. 

18 thoughts on “So I Got ‘Medication Shamed’…

  1. I hope this doesn’t show up twice (my computer belched in the middle of my comment and shut down my browser :O ! ) I was saying that anyone who tries to “shame” you about this kind of medication should walk a couple of weeks in your shoes and then comment if they still can. They clearly do not understand. I had one question though because I’m a bit obtuse – the Citalopram is in your medicine cabinet, right? Not on the sink (easier access)? Because if it’s out like that and you invite a certain sort of person in to your personal space, your medication will likely disappear. I used to take Xanax for many of the same reasons as you list for taking yours and some piece of crap stole them. I was naive and left them lying around where she could get at them though. The police (whom I called to report the theft) told me that Xanax and medications like that are the new ‘thing’ with addicts – they grind them into powder and snort them. Just wanted to warn you in case…?

    I am really enjoying reading your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m impressed by your bravery, and it always surprises me what people on the Internet are willing to say. I’m glad you’re comfortable enough with yourself to share these things. Anxiety is one of those problems people don’t understand unless they’ve felt it. You’re increasing awareness of it beyond those that have suffered it, and that’s a priceless thing.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Atta girl! My sister calls her medication her “brain vitamins”. It helped me to feel less shame and damaged when she (like you) shared so openly and honestly with me after I was prescribed the same meds. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was browsing and just ran across your blog. I think it’s fabulous (said the girl who has suffered from panic attacks and an anxiety disorder for almost 30 years). I’ve been afraid of it… and I love that you’re talking about it.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Hi! Just stumbled across your blog. Your honesty and bravery are inspiring, it can’t be too easy to write about such personal experiences so thanks for sharing, I’m sure you are encouraging many who have been through similar situations. Plus I love your writing style! Looking forward to reading lots more of your posts in the future 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thank you so much for sharing. The amount of meds I’ve been on has been astounding. However, true bravery is continuing to strive for a better day or tomorrow. Any day out of bed or off the couch and in hiding is a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No one would bat an eyelid if you had pictures of hay fever tablets or an asthma inhaler. The taboo around antidepressants really winds me up because it’s brave to seek help rather than let your mind control you. I keep mine in a little tin that says “happy pills” on it and tell people what they are when they ask, and more often than not they don’t know what to say, and I don’t get why they’re so embarrassed because I’m not! Just found your blog, and it’s making me feel a lot less alone so thank you x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have fibromyalgia, TMJ, chronic migraines, and general anxiety disorder. I have a flippin’ PHARMACY in my bathroom. LOL. Anytime someone tries to shame me, I cock an eyebrow at them and don’t even say a word anymore. They just aren’t even worth the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I just found your blog, but I love how candid and thoughtful you are. The internet is full of the best people, but unfortunately it’s also full of the worst. Don’t be afraid to delete the bad ones – they aren’t worth anyone’s time and your blog isn’t required to be anyone’s soapbox.

    Like

  10. I’m so impressed with your post! You captured the essence of anxiety and the need (for some people) to take medication to get through, and not feel ashamed about it. I’ve been on Citalopram for years, and thanks to you I feel a little less “worthless and frightened” today.

    Like

  11. Thanks for being so open – as I’m new to the blogging world, I’ve been very open about being a new mom, laughing at my failures and joking about the tiny lessons I’ve learned….one of these days I will feel confident enough to share the way you did.
    Zoloft saved me – I’m thrilled for you that you found your perfect match! It’s hard to see when people give up after one attempt with psychiatric meds….it takes not only patience on your part, but patience from your loved ones who are holding you up while you are so so so far down….

    I always like to simply point out to the “shamers”:

    You’re wearing glasses…..why don’t you suck it up and deal with your impaired vision?
    Your mom is diabetic? Pretty sure she could just handle that on her own instead of going the “medication route.”
    Your uncle has a blood disorder? He needs to toughen up – we all bleed, he doesn’t need meds for that!

    Depression/anxiety is a treatable disease. The comments above sounded ridiculous, right? To the haters: your comments are just as ridiculous. Your ignorance is sad. I hope that the next time you get the flu and run straight to the doctors office for help, that you are told to get over your flu, you are ridiculed for your weakness, and you are laughed at as you walk out the door.

    Thank you again for sharing – you’ve inspired me to look into getting more honest on my blog – more open and honest on some of the bigger things that I’ve faced….and some that I’ll always face.

    ❤️

    Like

  12. “I can’t miss out on my own life because I’m afraid. There has to be a way to survive.” – literally you couldn’t have said in words what I thought in my mind numerous times before being prescribed anxiety medicine. I too am on citalophram and it has changed my life forever. You go girl.

    Like

  13. Keep on keeping on lady! You rock it and everyone is entitled to their own life so let the negative nancys persist, we will feel sorry for them and keep living for ourselves.

    Like

  14. I love your honesty! I suffered depression (and its resulting suicidal ideation, self-injury, etc.) for much of my life and there were times that medication was necessary. I love that you are shedding light on the stigma of mental illness.

    Like

  15. I take Citalopram too! It’s nice to come across someone who is so positive about taking medication for “mental health”–which is what I say my prescriptions are for. There is such a stigma that exists when it comes to “mental health” drugs and I’m so glad there are people out there not afraid to share their experience.

    Like

  16. Thank you so much for this post. Through my crisis counseling work as well as with family and friends, I know that there are so many people who don’t want to take medication for anxiety or depression. They literally think they will be devoid of any feelings, that they won’t feel normal, won’t be able to cry. They hide their depression and anxiety due to the stigma associated with mental health disorders. They don’t understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. As you pointed out, depression and/or anxiety can and often is due to brain chemistry. I have taken anti-depressants and/or anxiety medication for half of my life and I laugh and I cry and I get angry. What I don’t do is cry or get angry unreasonably. In my opinion, you are providing your body with what it needs to be healthy and of that you should be proud. I hope that people who suffer from anxiety and/or depression will read your post so that they will know that they are not alone and that there is no reason to be ashamed. I hope it encourages them to reach out for help. You are awesome!

    Like

  17. Living with someone who suffers from acute anxiety is hard work but medication makes it bearable for everyone. I would love it if we could throw away the Citalopram and regain the medication free loveable person that used to be. Anyone who hasn’t lived with this condition has no right to criticise.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s