Medication shaming and mental health stigma in Egypt walk hand in hand. Although, it seems that mental illness is “slightly” more socially acceptable if you’re able to handle it without medications.
Those that do end up taking medication are left tip-toeing around awkward conversations with friends, co-workers and family members. Pills shaming is basically everywhere and it has to stop!
Having a mental illness is hard enough as it is without the pill shaming stigma that floats among those struggling. There is so much misinformation out there about antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs that they’re addictive and make you weak. That’s not the case.
Pill shaming is toxic, and it’s time to break down the societal taboo.
Usually, when you go public with having a mental illness, people would jump in and advise you with a lifestyle change.
We get it, eating properly and exercising may work just fine for some people. BUT, others need that extra help of medications in order to have a “normal” life.
Just like people with diabetes need a daily dose of insulin, some need a pill (or in some cases, pills) to go about their day and IT’S OK!
It doesn’t make you any less human or any less capable of doing a job or taking an exam. It most certainly doesn’t make you WEAK.
Just because mental illness is not visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there. And that it sometimes requires the assistance of meds, just like any other disease.
Post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolarity, anxiety or depression; none of these illnesses should be taken as indicators to character flaws. So, you definitely don’t need to feel ashamed about it.
As a society, once we acknowledge that, we could finally break the stigma. As an individual, try changing the “medication conversation“!
Know that, if you’re in a situation and someone pulls on you the old “pill shaming attitude” you can easily choose to no longer take part in the conversation.
Or, you could take the liberty and start helping them understand more about the disease in order to avoid this conflict. However, with some people, it would be wishful thinking!
Make your needs your main priority, and let others run around with their own often misguided perceptions of medication.
For anyone who’s going through a dark patch right now, don’t be afraid. Talk, go for jogs, walk your dog, go to therapy, do some yoga. And if you need them, take the meds!
Finally, there’s no shame in needing medication to manage mental illness. Remember, it’s a tool in your journey of coping and each of us will need different tools in order to be healthy.