Lena Dunham’s Instagram Post Challenges Stereotypes About Women Who Medicate

Lena Dunham, the star and creator of the hit HBO show “Girls,” just made an important point about psychiatric medication and popular culture.

Dunham, who’s publicly spoken about how she lives with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), posted a photo to her Instagram account Thursday addressing the problematic representation in film and media of women who take medication for mental illness.

Her post reads: 

Lately I’ve been noticing that nearly every pop cultural image we see of a woman on psychiatric medication is that of an out-of-control, exhausting and exhausted girl who needs help. But guess what? Most women on meds are women who have been brave enough to help themselves. It’s important we see normalizing portrayals of people, women, choosing to take action when it comes to their mental health. Medication didn’t make me a hollowed-out version of my former self or a messy bar patron with a bad bleach job. They allowed me to really meet myself. I wish that for every lady who has ever struggled. There’s really no shame. Night, dolls.

Since Dunham posted the photo to Instagram on Thursday night, it’s been liked nearly 49,000 times. Many people commented to express gratitude for discussing this issue.

“I’m campaigning for this myself. It’s appalling how many times I’ve been told to cheer up, etc., and that I’m being a drama queen,” Instagram user ameyyloux wrote. “[There’s a] lack of support and understanding from tutors at university who see mental illness as a choice and an excuse not to do things. I chose to get help. I chose not to end my own life even when I wanted to.”

“Awesome to hear this as someone who took meds,” Instagram user onehitwanderlust said. “Thank you Lena Dunham for helping to spread awareness.”

Related: How One Mom’s Brave Selfie Started a New Kind of Mental Health Movement

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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