You Don't NEED Antidepressants, Do You?

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I happened upon this great post from a blogger at Scienceblogs.com whowrote about the stigmaaround taking antidepressant medication, a stigma that doesn't exist for most other medications.

"Great Caesar's Ghost!" as my grandmother wouldexclaim … Ihear the samestuff this blogger hears all the time and it drives me CRAZY!!!… wait … where's my antidepressant? ;-)

As Mark Chu-Carroll explains in part of his piece:

"Out of the dozens of people who've heard about my stomach problem, and know about the drugs I take for it, how many have lectured me about how I shouldn't take those nasty drugs? Zero. No one has ever even made a comment about how I shouldn't be taking medications for something that's just uncomfortable. Even knowing that some of the stuff I take for it is addictive, no one, not one single person has ever told me that I didn't need my medication. No one would even consider it.

But depression? It's a very different story."

I'm sure many of you who have taken meds as part of your treatment for postpartum depression or any other perinatal mood or anxiety disorder have come up against this. It's okay to take antibiotics or statins or insulin or whatever else you're prescribed for other ailments, but whoa baby, NOT THE ANTIDEPRESSAAAAAAANTS!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! (meant to simulate screaming sound)

After he concludes his post, you'll find a long andinvolved andamazing discussion — comment after comment from people who have had the same experience, or people who understand how real depression is and that for some it requires treatment with medication, as well as from people who disagree with the use of psychiatric medication but do so with intelligence and kindness, not raving and misstatement of fact.

Antidepressants are not the end all, be all. They aren't perfect. They're not always necessary. They don't work for everybody. They can even be dangerous to some, as can most other medications. But they're also the only thing that works for some. The thing that saves many women's lives.It's not an EITHER/OR situation.

I refuse to be stigmatized about my treatment choices. I refuse to be stigmatized about having a mental illness.

I refuse to be stigmatized.

For more stories from Postpartum Progress on medication and postpartum depression, click the link.

Photo credit: © Greentree – Fotolia

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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Comments

  1. The Muser says:

    Amen!

  2. Thanks for posting Katherine!

  3. sara pollard says:

    In the grand scheme of things, it is really nobody's business what medication you put into your body!!! For some reason, those against psychotropic medication think they have a right to pass judgement on those who use these medications. They offer crtiticism but no solutions. If you take a psychotropic, such as an antidepressant, you have to get to the place where you could CARE LESS what other people say!!!! You have to say this is what I am choosing based on the best information available so that I can function and mother my children.

  4. Amen, Katherine and well said, Sara!

  5. I read somewhere that it used to be like this for diabetics and their medications.
    Maybe one day we'll get to the point where instead of people saying of course you'd take insulin if you had diabetes, they'll say of course you'd take antidepressants if you had depression.

  6. Melanie says:

    My son was treated for cancer at 1 year and his oncologist joked that his job was administering poison to kids for a living. Yet, we didn't think twice about having the accepted chemo treatment to cure my son's cancer–ugly side effects and all. Antidepressants aren't perfect but until science offers me a better alternative, I'll utilize what's available in my fight to get well.

  7. I think a lot of people really don't understand exactly what antidepressants are and do. They are NOT "happy pills" that make you becomes completely complacent and vapid, nor do they turn you into a zombie (and if they do, you're probably on the wrong med for you!) Many people I know seem to think antidepressants are some kind of Big Brother type personality controller, that they are used to take away the parts of a person's individuality that is inconvenient to others.
    Hopefully someday it will be common knowledge that these medications are designed to correct an imbalance of brain chemicals and hormonal reactions, not alter anyone's identity. And they certainly are not for the "weak" – women suffering from these disorders are some of the strongest people I know.

  8. Mark Bentley says:

    Well said!
    This stigma made it very hard for my wife to ask for help when she needed it. Once she finally did get on anti-depressants, she just wanted to get off them as soon as possible so that she wouldn't have that stigma of "being medicated".
    Now we have had one baby, one miscarriage and are now trying again. This time she has decided to take anti-depressants throughout the pregnancy and hopefully that will help. At least we are going into this with a plan, but it took a while for her to accept that it is okay to take medication to help make life better.

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