real talk about mental illness

Let’s have some real talk about medications, specifically for “taboo” issues like mental illness. Medication does not mean that you are weak. Medication means that you were smart enough, brave enough, and strong enough to get help for a disease that you have no control over.

I get the hesitation; I really do. You see, I used to be one complaining about how “Big Pharma” doesn’t offer cures, but only creates customers. Or how everyone is “overmedicated” and “overdiagnosed.” You might feel like you are so enlightened and not following the mindless crowd to say these things, but the danger is that when you truly need medication, you will be blind.

I have medications for sleep, depression/anxiety, panic attacks, muscle pain, multiple sclerosis, dysautonomia, asthma, and allergies. Is my Zoloft (for mood) somehow more shameful than my injections for MS? Is it weak for me to carry Ativan everywhere I go in case I have a panic attack, while it’s okay for me to carry an inhaler for my asthma?

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You can pry my Zoloft out of my cold, dead hands.

I’m sharing this with you to break the stigma. I’m sharing this with you so that if you ever feel like you need to see a therapist, or a psychiatrist, you know that regular people like myself rely on these tools and therapies to live amazing lives.

I considered myself to be so enlightened about mental illness. I have a minor in psychology and I used to read books about mental illnesses to understand them better and develop empathy for those with them. And yet it took me five years to accept that I needed to do something about my own mental health.

I am now medicated and proud of it. The strongest moments in my life were when I decided to seek therapy and start medication, and I will never have any shame about it. Know that if you seek help that there are many of us who are here to support you on your journey to mental health and wellness.

–Merium, The Muslim Educator

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