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3 Reasons I Was Scared to Tell People I Take Medication for Anxiety and Depression

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Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

“I’m on medication for my anxiety and depression.”

This is something I’ve never shared with anyone. For years, those who needed to know were sworn to secrecy and others were simply left in the dark. When I did decide I needed to tell someone, the anticipation anxiety beforehand was excruciating.

I was always jealous of others ability to be transparent about their struggles and their courage to be that honest. As I write this article I’m still finding subtle words and phrases that reflect my continued hesitation to share, but also my differences from those who have. Although I probably will always be uncomfortable with the idea of sharing this part of me with others, I also find this to be a giant step forward. A step forward toward a place of liberation from my own personal stigma and maybe even a way of continuing to work on my anxieties.

To some, it may seem like no big deal. Others may feel that I should “own it.” But the thought of sharing that private part of myself made me feel unnecessarily vulnerable and exposed in a way that I never wanted to feel.

These are the three reasons why I was scared to tell people:

1. Reactions.

What will people think? Will they judge me? Will they think I’m “crazy?” Will they think I’m a wimp? I can go on forever, trust me.

Unfortunately, in the time we live in, I think criticism and judgement seem to be reactions that are readily available to most, especially when they are easily concealed behind a computer screen. Giving people a “target” has felt endlessly terrifying.

2. Stigma. Stigma. Stigma.

It doesn’t matter what year we are in, stigma surrounding mental illness isn’t going anywhere. Yes, we have made huge strides to reduce the judgment and better understand these illnesses, but like anything, there are people who will always project hate. There will always be people who will associate mental illness with “crazy” or have a general fear of individuals who are struggling rather than providing support, understanding and even curiosity. But this stigma that causes the fear of getting help and remaining silent to be perpetuated.

3. I feared it would be used against me.

We all have had fights with our friends, but nothing terrified me more than this “secret” being used as a pawn in a fight. Although this fear never came true, I have had particular experiences with friends who I have shared personal information with who have then used it as a joke or in a heated argument. Luckily, I have removed that source of negativity from my life, but it wasn’t without pain or discomfort.

Three reasons. Three reasons held me back from real and deep conversations with people that I truly care about. Three reasons made me feel like I was hiding something from people that meant the most to me. But those three reasons have a little bit less power over me today. Today, those three reasons are kindly told to “shut up” and are replaced with a feeling of relief and utter transparency.

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Thinkstock photo via yelet

Originally published: August 17, 2017
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