I just refilled my prescription today for my anti-depressant.
Yes, I have struggled with depression since I was 18 years old and yes, I take medication.
The bigger issue here, however, is my shame around the fact that I take it. When I went to pick it up today at my local drug store, the woman who filled my prescription made eye-contact with me.
Immediately, I assumed she must have been judging me, thinking, “She has depression? What on earth could she be going through?” That is probably not what she was thinking at all, but in my mind, that is what I was hearing her ask herself.
I know it’s not my fault. I know I didn’t call my experiences on myself; depression and past experiences with suicidal thoughts as well, but the stigma that comes along with mental illness is one that many people who live with it believe becomes sort of like a patent that can’t be removed.
I know when people see me, they don’t know I have depression because I am not depression nor am I what has happened to me.
They probably just see a beautiful young woman who seems put together. But no one knows the demons I have lived with and fight daily. No one knows that sometimes I just ask God, why? Why didn’t you make me normal? Is that too much to ask? Sometimes, I feel so hurt by all I have been through that I wish I wasn’t alive because it’s tough to go through mental illness and maintain a healthy sense of self-esteem, a social commonality amongst friends and so on and so forth.
For a lot of us, we struggle daily just to be seen and to be seen as ‘normal.’ We want to be viewed as someone who isn’t broken and has not ever been broken because in the world we live in today, we shy away from crumbling enough to let others know our authentic truth.
But as a writer, I won’t stop talking about mental illness and my experiences even though at times I am ashamed because my story could be your story and I feel that I am obligated not to stay silent on our story so that we can heal and live.
Only God knows why some of us have had the stories and experiences that we have had and why they have been the way that they are, but you know what, we are here and we aren’t going anywhere.
So you too may be ashamed of your mental illness and loathe that you take an antidepressant, but please know things will get better and you will get better because you are here for a reason.
No one asks to go through shitty things in life but shitty things unfortunately happen.
But it is how we react to what happens to us that makes a difference in how we live our lives.
It doesn’t matter how many campaigns and funding that goes into mental health, I think it is definitely just one of those things that come with the stigma and there is nothing you and I can do about that.
But I will say this: You are not your illness, you are not your anti-depressant and you are not less of a person for what you have been through. You are not defined by your differences, or the chemical makeup of your brain even. Use your experience to make you better and do not let that get in the way of living the life you were destined to live.
Featured image via Unsplash.