Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Xanax mom. Feuling the stigma!

Sorry to interrupt you previously scheduled regurgitation . However  I felt this Xanax Mom article  needed to be addressed.
Articles like these (and the stories with in it) do nothing but add fuel to the fire that is the stigma attached to mental illness as a whole. These are the times that we need to be the most vocal and persistent. These are the times when others are most likely to hear us. While many will already have chosen there negative opinions on the matter, there will also be those sitting on fence, looking for evidence of another point of view. These are the times when we need to speak out and speak up about our illnesses, our treatments, our histories.... and not just of the positive, but of the negative as well. They need to see it for all its guts and glory, it's good and bad, and hear of our victories and tales of defeat. Then, and only then, will others get a sense of where we have been, what we have gone through, and what we perceive our futures to be like. While it is true many might be "abusing the system", misdiagnosed and/or are overly prescribed medication, that is not true in every case. Those cases, my friends, are the tales that need to be told.
Mental illness isn't an epidemic, nor is it the newest cop out. It has always been around. 50, even 20 years ago, many of us where hidden away from the rest of society. We were stuck in mental institutions for months, if not years at a time, simply because no one knew what else to do with us.  However, with current technologies and further understanding of the mind, there have been great strides in mental health care: better treatments, better therapies, better medication, and shorter hospitalizations (if any at all). Many of us who would've been drugged beyond belief and locked away in hideous conditions for the rest of our lives, are now (thanks to these new discoveries) capable of being productive members of society, just like everyone else.
If you met me in a coffee shop, you would not know looking at me that I suffer from a crippling mental disorder. I've often been told I look "normal." How could I possibly need medication when I seem so capable? My answer is this, "I am not capable, therefore I don't need medication. I am capable, because I take medication." That being said, I do not believe swallowing a pill is always the answer. In fact, I struggled with taking medication for many years. I did not want to be a slave to daily dosing. Moreover, I did not want to admit there was an actual problem. It took me 10 years to accept that my symptoms weren't just situational, and even longer to acknowledge they weren't going to just go away. And while being medicated was going to help me, it wasn't going to be a cure. Nor was it going to be the only tool I would use to maintain control of my life.
Getting back to this article, I think the things that angered me the most, were the responses below it. Many said they had tried medication before... it didn't work for them... when they got off them they felt much better... and therefore, that should be the case for everyone.  Not so.  Just because you tried something (literally ANYTHING) once and it didn't work for you, doesn't mean it won't work for anyone else. There will never be one treatment that will work for everyone. There will never be one medication that will produce the same results in every person who tries it. There will never be one illness that treats each person the same way.  We will never be exactly alike.  For that reason, one can not possibly judge someone else based on their experiences alone.

For many, medication is the answer. For most it is not. However there is a grey area where having to use them might be needed for a short period of time (like pain or cold medication). It is this grey area that our already fiery stigma gets its fuel. Everyone has emotions. Everyone has stress. Some have bouts of elevated stress due to situational issues (i.e. death of a loved one, divorce, becoming a new parent) Not everyone has it affect them in away that disrupts their lives or brings it to a screeching halt all together. Now, maybe this most recent argument is based on how stressful parenting can be and how we shouldn't rely on medication to be better parent, but just like I've stated before, not everything effects everyone the same way... even parenting. Parent or not, mother or not, no one should have to struggle with whether or not to stay alive, just because some person on then "net" fared motherhood just fine with out help. No one should have to choose between their children or living. I choose my life for my children and therefore I chose medication.


  1. Thank you for pointing that one out. Depression, Anxiety, Bi-Polar all effect us in different ways. I am not taking meds to "make me a better person", the medication I take (and I do take Celexa) helps me control my emotional swings, look clearly at a situation and analysis it instead of ripping into someone for something trivial. Does it make me a better person?? I don't think so, it just helps me to be a more rational person. Hugs to you Trace, I think we have all come full circle :)

    1. Hi Crazy Cricut Lady! Thank you for reading and responding. Also, thank you for speaking out. There is strength in numbers. I appreciate it beyond words. Hugs to you too. ;0)