I take antidepressants. Two of them actually. Every day. Morning and night. Do you want to know why? They get me out of bed and they get me into life. They are my flashlight and my high-vis jacket, my survival tools in my ongoing battle against the dense, grey fog that surrounds my brain. I use them to break free from the confusion and stride towards the road ahead, flagging a little from the exertion perhaps, but seeing the way forward and powering on without fear.
So tell me I’m the pharmaceutical industry’s bitch. Tell me I’m weak. Tell me your story about how you cured yourself using only glo-sticks and cucumbers. Go on….I dare you!
It seems to me that there is a counter-productive and dangerous trend emerging. A trend towards distancing oneself from the “weak ones”, i.e. those brainwashed by the pharma industry and too feeble-minded to even know it. Those who seek to medicate. Those who gladly hand over their hard-earned cash for the sweet relief of psychopharmaceutical intervention.
Depression survival has emerged from the shameful shadows of it’s past, to a time when it’s acceptable for it to be worn like a badge of honour. Honour being defined as having overcome “that nasty episode” by channeling your inner strength. And vegetables. And vitamin shakes. And jogging. And hypnosis. And whatever other bullshit you want to peddle as long as it doesn’t come in pill form. Or have to be dispensed by a person in a white coat.
It seems pretty clear to me that none of the following are acceptable responses to an article where somebody has BRAVELY publicly declared their mental health difficulties:
- The pharma industry makes a trillion bazillion dollars every year from people dependent on anti-depressants and it’s all a big ruse and you are just part of it you sad bastard
- My mother’s cousin’s sister had depression and then she went jogging every day and now she is fine and owns a ferrari
- I thought I was depressed but then I realised it was my lifestyle, so I cut out all gluten, sugar, alcohol and liquids and now, living on sunflower seeds alone, my life has never been better
And yet every day I read these inane comments. The discussion turns away from the bravery of the author, the stigma meaning we even need to label the author as such and the ways in which “normal” people can better understand and help those of us in difficulty. Instead, we turn in on ourselves and we ostracize those who medicate and we criticise their choices, with each person trying to outdo the other to tell the anecdote that *proves* the non-medicinal way is best. And we need to STOP. We need to stop right now. How can we expect the world to stop judging us when we can’t even stop judging ourselves?