It’s Just Cancer…Get Over It

I suffer from depression. It’s no different than diabetes or high blood pressure in that I cannot simply wish it away. It’s a condition that, for me, is treatable and manageable with lifestyle choices and, yes, medication. Everyone is different, but after decades of struggle, I’ve finally found the combination that works best for me.

I cannot imagine telling a type 1 diabetic, “you don’t need medication,” but for people with mental illness, we’re told this all the time.

The stigma attached to mental illness is a dangerous one. While not all people with depression need to be on medication, many do, and only the patient and their doctor can make that fully informed decision. Do some doctors simply push psychotropic drugs on people as a quick fix? Of course, they do. But when you say, “you don’t need a pill,” you’re reinforcing to the struggling person that there is something wrong with taking medications that have proved, for many, to be not only life changing but life saving.

I don’t care if you think all mental illness is spiritual in nature. I don’t care if you think you can fix it with dietary supplements. I don’t care if you think it’s hormone related. I don’t care what you’ve heard from some anti big pharma advocate at 2am on Coast-to-Coast. While there may be an element of truth in all these things, people who struggle with mental illness should feel confident to address their condition with their doctor without unqualified (though well meaning) people influencing the prognosis and proposed course of action.

I don’t advocate blindly following doctors, but if you opine on the mental health needs of a person without having a comprehensive understanding of both their family and personal history—as well as the medical knowledge required to appropriately address the complexities of the human mind—please understand that you are wading into dangerous waters.

We don’t tell cancer patients they don’t need chemo or radiation. Discouraging people with mental illness from pursuing medical help is every bit as irresponsible, and the outcome, in some cases, can be just as deadly.

People with depression don’t need your advice or judgement; they need your love and availability.

Thanks, in advance, for spreading the word.

Romans 15:13


3 thoughts on “It’s Just Cancer…Get Over It

  1. Ed Braddock says:

    I have suffered from depression – and suicidal ideation – since my early teens; just didn’t know what was going on back then. SO sorry , that you also suffer from this sometimes debilitating disease. I just get through one day at a time. I never have found the right combination of medications, as the side effects , for me , tend to be even worse. Thankful , that you have found what works , for you. So i just promise myself , each morning , that I will let myself live today ; that whatever happens , I can – and WILL – get through today . Peace Be Yours, Ed

  2. It is because we all have the answers….to everything. I suffer from having all the answers sometimes. I have psoriasis, and people always tell me to eat gluten free, stay out of the sun, use essential oils….NONE of that has worked. Don’t you think after having it so bad for 30 years I have tried it all. They need to simply say, pardon my French but life’s a biatch! That is right…Psoriasis sucks. But, even though I know that, I too still jump to give people my two sense on other matters. Because in our world, we always feel we have the answers. I try to have grace with those who offer me a new soap because I am reminded that I too suffer from having all the answers. Depressions sucks, cancer sucks, Psoriasis sucks…There is no answer and I FEEL your pain, but I too sometimes think I have the answers. Sometimes we just need to shut up and say we don’t know it all!!! I pray that whatever your means that you find some relief in your days cuz Lord knows there are days where that is all I can do….just find some relief….and sometimes it is in the form of a very toxic drug! Now, don’t offer me the newest essential oil!!! lol

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