The reason I went on Katie Couric’s show this week to talk about moms, meds, and depression was the same reason why I write about it: to help lift the stigma and let other moms know they aren’t alone.
I felt going on Katie’s show would put a face to depression and help people to understand that regular, normal people deal with it. And from the countless messages and comments I’ve received from moms, I know many women breathed a sigh of relief when they heard my words, realizing they are not alone.
The problem is, there are still plenty of people who do not get it, and voice opinions like these about me and the other women on the show:
…that depression or anxiety can be solved by just relaxing a little: “I’m a mom of three and understand the stress of being the perfect mom … but wouldn’t take a pill or drink to make things better. When stress hits, meditate, take a break and relax.”
…that we take medication or have a glass of wine to be able to “tolerate” our children: “I can honestly say I loved being with my kids when they were small … never felt like I needed anything to be able to tolerate my children.”
And my favorite … that we’re actually a bunch of whiners and maybe should never have had kids: “these mom’s don’t know what work is, 50 years ago it was a lot harder & nobody whined about it or Used to cope.”
“What is wrong with this generation??? I had 3 kids, spread out in age, kept a clean house, cooked meals from scratch, volunteered in the schools and worked part time. Never had the thoughts of drinking taking meds. Buck up, girls. You must have too much time on your hands…”
“If you cannot deal with being a mother, without drinking or taking medication, perhaps you should not have had them. This is pathetic. Try exercising with your children…like going to the park?”
MISSING. THE. POINT.
Let’s get something straight. The women on the show who need medication for ADD, anxiety, and/or depression aren’t “taking drugs” for kicks. We have chemical imbalances in our brains that require medication.
We’re not whining. We’re not having a hard time due to lack of exercise. WE HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION.
And you know what? Occasionally having a glass of wine with friends while the kids play does not equal alcoholism or bad parenting, people.
All these women commenting online who “never have to resort to pills” or whose own mothers “lived in a tougher time without all the stuff we had today and did just fine” – well, that’s just great. I’m happy for you. Truly.
I’m happy that your mother didn’t have PPD or depression or ADD or anxiety.
I’m happy that if she did, she managed it successfully so you’d never know.
I’m happy that you have no problem sailing through life and enjoying every minute.
And I’m happy that you can simply meditate your everyday stresses away.
Really. I’m glad that you had a rosy childhood and that things are going well for you.
But not everyone’s like you. And your words sound kind of mean and like you’re rubbing your happy, perfect life in our faces. So please be more kind and stop with the judging, m’kay?
(Gosh, it’s just so hard to understand why women are afraid to admit they deal with mental health issues, huh?)
You know, at the end of the day, there will always be controversy over this topic. People are still not comfortable with depression and chronic illnesses that reside in the brain.
Yet what gives me hope is, from what I’ve seen, the positive comments about the women on the episode of “Katie” that I was on FAR outweigh the negative.
Honestly, it took me this long to write a follow-up post about the show because I’m still reading through all the lovely comments people have left on my Facebook page. I’m still responding to thankful emails from people. I’m still going through messages of support, hope, and optimism overflowing from my social media accounts.
The controversy is what attracts attention. But in the end, it’s not what will last.
What will last is the caring, the support, and the kind words that so many women have been showing each other as they courageously talk about their depression and other battles.
What will last are the communities of like-minded, supportive moms on sites like Moms Who Need Wine, Honest Mom, and countless others.
What will last is the hope that the more we talk, the less we’ll judge.
That’s what will last.