Ten Things Not to Say to Someone on Antidepressants

Much debate surrounds medication including antidepressants. Some people say that diet and other holistic methods are better than Western medication. Others argue that mental illness is not a true disease but can be overcome by willpower. While medicine is over-diagnosed at times, neither of these responses helps those who are struggling with depression or another such disorder.

For the past few days, I have not taken my strongest and most helpful medication. As explained in my post yesterday, my mood has been very low. Last night, my mother convinced me to take my medicine again. Although life is still not rosy, I feel much better today if sleepier. This just proves the importance and potency of medication.

Still, as shown above, people continue to judge those who take antidepressants. Here are some comments that people have made which is hard for a person taking medication for mental illness.

  1. Medication is only for sick people. – Yes, and someone with a mental illness is sick. Mental health is a serious issue and one that affects the whole body, mind, and spirit.
  2. How long before you get off of that? – I do not know. Maybe never or maybe in a few years. How long before someone is off of chemotherapy or taking insulin? 
  3. If you dealt with your problems, you wouldn’t need to be on medication in the first place. – Taking medication is one way of “dealing with my problems.” It is not trying to run away from the issue but confronting it. This medicine helps my brain to work correctly.
  4. Taking antidepressants is just an easy way to feel good instead of really fixing the problem. – Few people take antidepressants lightly. Doing so is a bit embarrassing and frightening. Thus, choosing to do so is not easy. Even if it was, the medication helps you to operate at a level where you can deal with your problems. Without this help, many people cannot even address their mental health issues.
  5. Everyone is so over-medicated. Everyone just has to have a diagnosis now. None of it is real. – As mentioned above, over-medication does happen. However, that does not take away from the fact that some people need medication. Mental illness is a real struggle.
  6. People just want to blame their problems on something and then think that a medication can take them away. – Medication does not take away the problems usually; it helps you to deal with them. Plus, how is taking medication related to blaming my problems on something? Everything wrong in my life does not connect to my mental illness. However, trying to become more healthy mentally is addressing my issues instead of blaming them on someone else.
  7. Who needs medication just to be happy? – Happiness is not the issue here; health is. Many people need medicine to be at a state where they can begin to function normally.
  8. If you prayed hard enough, you would not need medication anymore. – Prayer is powerful. However, many people who pray are not healed. Is that their fault for not praying hard enough? For those who are religious, believing that there is a plan and purpose that we do not understand can be helpful.
  9. You know that it is all just a hoax by the pharmaceutical companies to get more money, right? – The politics of this issue are difficult to wrestle through and something that I know little about currently. This should be addressed but not by those who need medication to function in daily life.
  10. I should pop a few happy pills too. – Once again, antidepressants are not to make me a happy person. They are to make me a person who is able to function without so much depression. Taking a medicine that you do not need is wrong.

What are some other phrases that you would add to this list? Otherwise, what are some responses that might actually be helpful for you?

8 thoughts on “Ten Things Not to Say to Someone on Antidepressants

  1. 메간 Megan says:

    How about this one “Medication is just a quick fix.” Too rude.

  2. MEM says:

    This is such an excellent post, Miss Rose with Thorns. Thank you. While all of your points are excellent (coming from someone who is fortunate to never have needed antidepressants), I particularly appreciate your thoughts in #s 3, 4, and 6. These indicate a deep realization that you have for the truth of antidepressant medication – it can help to restore your brain to adequate function. In turn, your brain is able to process from a more normal place. Once again, your post shows deep thoughtfulness for yourself and others who struggle daily with the pain of mental illness.

    By the way, I am a registered nurse and I have struggled with the questions of whether or not our healthcare system is diagnosis-happy and medication-oriented. At times these are both true. But you are 100% correct in saying that we would not second guess the need for someone to take insulin or chemotherapy if their health condition warrants those medications.

    I wish there was an eloquent way to speak to these rude comments. Try to remember that there source is usually one of ignorance. After all, it is when we “walk a mile in someone’s shoes” that we understand their lot in life.

  3. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    I like #4; What IF there is NO problem and it is a mental health condition and there is simply an imbalance in neurotransmitters in the brain. I heard so many youths asking me, Why should I feel so sad if I have the perfect family, friends, good marks…I cannot be depressed. Great post!

  4. Amber Autumn says:

    Great list. I think a lot of times people say inappropriate things with good intentions, but don’t realize how rude and inconsiderate they’re being.

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