“Xanax Makes Me a Better Mom” has exploded all over the Internet. And as one of the moms featured in the article, I am a bit taken aback by some of the reactions.
I probably shouldn’t be. It’s not news that people like to judge others. But I have to say, I’m amazed at the audacity of people who like to make assumptions and throw around their uninformed opinions.
Some people have assumed that I am against taking antidepressants.
Others have ranted that I obviously have no idea what depression really is, if sitting by my clothes dryer is enough to calm me down.
Still others have said that people who take SSRIs are weak and pathetic.
And then there are the people who think that Hope Chanda and I should have never had kids if we need to take medications for depression.
That’s just a sampling of the opinions out there.
Honestly, I haven’t read every single comment on the article. There are just too many on the version CNN ran, and there are many other related articles and Facebook conversations that have popped up. Besides, I don’t want to read all of the comments because I’m sure there are some hateful ones that will bother me. So I’m not going to.
But what I do know from some of the comments and reactions is this: It’s abundantly clear why so many women are unnecessarily ashamed of their depression.
Depression is still misunderstood, stigmatized, and feared. And because of this, many moms are afraid to speak up and ask for help.
This is tragic. Absolutely tragic – because these moms are needlessly suffering in silence due to the stigma.
A stigma that is understandable, but just plain wrong.
I know from my experience that depression is a chronic illness that needs to be managed like any other illness. When it’s successfully managed, a person with depression can live a happy life. Treatments are individualized, and what may work for one person may not work for another.
Like others who deal with chronic illnesses, I have tried different ways to manage my depression. I’ve been on various medications. Tried no medication and all-natural tactics. Gone to therapy and taken part in online support groups. And done research to educate myself on the many ways to treat my illness.
No different than anyone else managing their chronic condition.
Should a person with Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, or lupus be ashamed that they have their illness? Of course not. Neither should a person with depression. But because depression is in the brain, it scares people.
And this is exactly why I write about my experiences with depression.
I want to help lift the stigma.
I want other moms dealing with depression to know they are not alone and that there is no shame in getting help.
I want to grab a megaphone and let everyone out there know that regular, everyday moms like me have depression, work hard to successfully manage it, and live happy, normal lives.
We are not crazy. We are not scary. We are just the moms who live on your street, who you work with, who you know and love.
So I will write. I will talk. I will battle the stigma and yell from the proverbial rooftops to reach as many needlessly suffering moms as possible and educate the uninformed.
The Judgy McJudgertons will keep on doing their thing. And I’ll keep doing mine. We’ll see who prevails in the end – but I know who I’m betting on.