The decision to take (or not take) psychiatric medication shouldn’t be a controversial one. We should decide what’s best for our health with the help of our doctors, and that should be that. But stigma isn’t a rational thing, and a lot of people think that they know better than we do or our doctors do — that those of us with mental health issues should universally be able to get out of it with healthy living, exercise and an improved outlook on life.
Those are wonderful, important things to work on, but they don’t replace medication for the people who need it. And as much as we might know that, stigma is really good at undermining self-confidence. It gets us thinking that we should be able to make do without our meds, we should be able to function like everyone else seems to, we shouldn’t need chemical intervention to survive or thrive.
But living life by “shoulds” doesn’t get you very far, particularly when it comes to health.
Take How to ADHD’s Jessica McCabe. She seems to have it all together. She coaches her viewers on coping techniques for dealing with ADHD in all aspects of their daily lives. She has strategies and techniques in abundance. And in this unusually personal video, she shares a secret with her audience: without her meds, those strategies aren’t enough. Living a healthy life and employing every technique in the book isn’t enough to allow her to do the work she loves, because her symptoms get in the way. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, and McCabe know that, but she still felt that she should have been able to manage without medication. That’s the impact of stigma — and that’s why she shared her story.
The video is a must watch if you’ve ever judged yourself or someone else for relying on psychiatric medication, or you’ve ever wondered why someone might be ashamed to need it.
To learn more about psychiatric medication, read our expert articles about the pros and cons of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.