Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, anorexia, bulimia, bipolar and personality disorders have just become a part of our generation’s vocabulary. But not everyone understands how these mental illnesses feel up close and personal. It’s easy to look at someone and say, “I know what you’re going through,” but difficult to actually know. You may have my best interest at heart, but you do not know what I face and what I’m fighting against every day.
When I started taking medication for my anxiety, 2 years ago, the comments soon followed. I later learned that it is so common amongst mental illness patients that it actually has a name – ‘pill-shaming’. Making people feel terrible for treating their mental illness like what it is, an ‘illness’. I didn’t pick this, I would love to go ahead with my day without the help of a yellow or pink pill that balances the chemicals in my brain. I am not a junkie, but I’d rather have my pill than spend my entire day choking on air because my anxiety wouldn’t go away.
But thanks to the friendly neighbourhood aunties, the nosy friends and ‘understanding’ co-workers, I often find myself questioning the need for my medicines. Do I need them? Is there something wrong with me? Why can’t I get better already?
But after years of shaming myself, I’ve made peace with the fact that they are here to help me, in no way do they make me seem weaker than the rest. The fact that I’m willing to fight my mental illness instead of ignoring it altogether is where I win against my pill-shamers.
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