I asked my daughter to write some of her feelings about mental illness as both her parents are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It puts her in a unique position with an experienced perspective on the subject. This is her opinion on medications and the purpose they serve.
“Mental health makes you roller coaster more than your average joe. Taking the proper medicines that fit you and at the proper amount stabilizes your mental health. Helping you stay in better check. See, everyone sees medicine as a downfall. Nobody WANTS to be a pill head. Not that you are but that you can possibly feel that way. For some odd reason medicine other than cold and flu virus or pain relievers are labeled and/or hexed so to speak. So taboo. But does taking Advil for pain make you a pill head? NO. It helps you. Makes you feel better right? Right. Same thing with any other medicine. In this case mental health. It puts you into better shape, even emotionally. But for some reason a lot of the world sees it as different. “You have mental health? Oh, well, you’re different” NO. you’re not different. You are a human being like everybody else. The term sick is heard of a lot in mental health. That’s fine. You can use the term sick. Not sick minded, but sick as in having the cold or flu. Let me tell you something. I do not like that term. You are not sick. Are you sneezing snot? That is sick. Mental health is not sick. It is a chemical imbalance, science in the human body. For an unknown reason some of us are born without the right chemical balances. It is something out of our control. To those who do not understand the struggle of mental health, realize it is not us. We are no different. We are only doing the best we can. Medicine helps us manage what is out of our control. We did not ask for it. For those of us that feel like a failure for having medicine aid us, do not despair. You are a success! How do you ask? Letting your pride drop and seeking help, THAT IS A SUCCESS. The medicine has put you in a better position mentally, has it not? Saying you can overcome your challenge is pride, but having sought help and letting others in to help is when you’re truly on your way to overcoming. People see the idea of taking medication as a sign of failure. I see it as a sign of strength and courage. Accepting help is hard and shows humility. I choose to see it as successful, not as a failure. You are capable of having a happy and fulfilling life. Including those of us who struggle with mental health. We may have a bit more struggle than others or work a bit harder in some areas but you can be happy. Do not push away those who do not understand. Help others realize the challenge and help them become more accepting. Little did you know (or maybe you did) some of the greatest MINDS in history were bipolar or struggled with some version of mental health. It’s true take some time to go look. I know you may feel alone but I promise you, there are people, real people, that are dealing as well. Even many celebrities today struggle with mental health. People need to know that. It can be a big deal, but be grateful. There is so much worse out there. So, so, much worse.