Do you remember doing analogies in school?
Tree: forest :: cactus : ______
Fish: ocean :: bird: _____
Pretty simple right? We would probably see these on our children’s homework in the early years of schooling
But what about this one?.
Cast : broken bone :: ______ : Depression
The concept is the same here. We have a simple analogy, and yet society tends to fill in this blank in so many different ways. Stiff upper lip. Sucking it up. Taking a deep breath. A positive attitude.
One of my favorites answers is Nothing. As in, nothing is wrong with you, it’s all in your head.
Fun fact, it is not all in my head. This analogy should be just as easy to answer as:
Cast : broken bone :: _______ : diabetes.
You don’t need a medical degree to know this answer is insulin. A doctor would never deny a Diabetic insulin. A disease that typically cannot be seen to the naked eye. So why is it so hard to say “Antidepressant” or “Serotonin Inhibitor” without getting the sideways “are you a crazy person?” look from people?
I have a confession to make. I take antidepressants, I have for quite some time now. I have also tried to skip my medication and wean myself off too soon because even as someone who has physically felt the affects of depression, I have a hard time telling myself this doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me as a person.
I have an illness, so I take medication.
End of story.
Nothing more, nothing less.
To all my friends out there suffering in silence with depression and other mental illnesses who are smiling through the awkward “you’re just sad” and “what do you have to be anxious about?” conversations, there is nothing wrong with you as a human being. You just happen to need a some form of medication, or therapy, or whatever it is that is working for you.
Just like a diabetic needs insulin.
I use this Insulin analogy because I had to post it on my mirror before I stopped treating myself like a less than human being for needing my antidepressants to get through the day.
The stigma of mental illness is all too real. So real in fact, that it is even hard to physically feel the ups and downs and STILL treat oneself as less than.
So just like I have been told to “just stop being sad” I’m going to tell you “just stop telling me mental illness and physical illness is different.”
To the approximately 1 in 4 who will or have suffered from Mental illness in their lifetime, I hope that you will find some courage to stand up and say Enough. The courage to see that so many of us are in the same boat. There is no need to suffer in silence when we can recover in solidarity.
My love and heart to you all.