I stumbled across this post on my Twitter feed (@TheMadvocates) and was curious!
It got me thinking a few things about my experience with psych meds and about psych meds in general.
I agree with this article when it says that those who have never experienced a psychiatric condition will never understand those who have. This has been proven to me time and time again. It’s not a bad thing to not understand in the sense of never having lived it. I will never understand what it is like to be LGBT because that is not my experience but I can be aware of the issues, be empathetic, not contribute to homophobia, spread awareness and support to the community and my friends who are LGBT.
Face it! We can’t know about everything even though we want to. There are some things we just can’t understand.
I have blogged about my shit-tastic experience with psych meds (http://prideinmadness.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/antidepressant-suicide-ironic/) but this does not mean that my battle is over. Psych meds still affect my life even though I don’t take a pill or multiple pills a day anymore. I still face a stigma. I am the Unmedicated Mad!!! BOO!!!!!!! Did I scare you?
I feel there is an “understanding” so to speak of the people who take psych meds by those who do not. Because mental illness is considered an illness it does not surprise anyone to hear that someone is on an antidepressant, anti-psychotic or anti-anxiety medication. It is expected to be the first course of action. We understand in general the idea that if you are sick you take medication. That’s not hard to understand. It is almost that medication that confirms to the world that you are sick.
So what about the people who chose not to be on medication? There is a stigma that I have felt has brought me more of a laugh than a cry. As I said before I am the unmedicated mad. This scares people. There is a horrible belief that people with mental health issues will go off their meds and become COMPLETELY CRAZY!!!!! (this stereotype is especially used to describe those with bipolar)
“You’re sick?! Why would you go off your medication? A diabetic wouldn’t stop taking their insulin!?!?”
Why would I go off? Because I want to! I have the right as a human being to decide what I want and do not want to put into my body.
The other issue I’ve come up against is the idea that since I am not on medication that there is nothing wrong with me. I ascribe to this belief myself but others then believe that this discredits many of my opinions and thoughts on issues about mental health which it in no way does.
I feel like I have been pushed to the fringes because I have decided to not take psych meds. This does not mean that I’m better or worse than those who take medication. It means that I made a decision that I felt would work for me. Everyone else can decide for themselves.
Overall we should not discriminate against those who are and are not on medication. We have the right to decide what course of action we would like to take for our recovery and we need the support or our community to help do that.
Psych meds are a double-edged sword. You take it you’re fucked and if you don’t you’re fucked. But we can’t be judging within our own community. Those with mental health issues need to be supporting one another. Just because I chose no medication and you chose medication doesn’t mean that we won’t both have our bad days and need each other. We will. And as we’ve already talked about those who have lived it get it best and that is where the best support will come from.