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Why It Doesn't Matter Medication Won't 'Cure' My Mental Illness

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I sometimes hear that treating depression/anxiety/bipolar/schizophrenia (and all mental illness) with antidepressants and antipsychotics is just a Band-Aid. Not useful. Not a cure. Why bother?

My reply would be — because they help us to live our lives. There’s no cure for diabetes, but to maintain life, and quality of, they use insulin. No one balks at diabetics. No one questions their faith. No one tells them to watch kitten videos and just stop thinking about it.

Do you see how absurd that is? People with depression (and on and on) have symptoms. Sometimes these symptoms can turn deadly. The illness is disputed because it’s not visible. The illness is disputed because it’s in our brain. People connect our brain with our hearts, and so wrongly assume our hearts aren’t in the right place. We must be lacking in some way. But surely it can be fixed with proper prayer, positive thoughts and meditation. Do you know how costly this type of mentality can be? It can cost your loved one’s life. We don’t need a sermon. We don’t need suggestions. We need love. We need acceptance. We need to know we don’t have to advocate for our lives alone.

No. The antidepressants and antipsychotics don’t cure us. They do, however, help us live life as best we can, day by day… while our brains and the chemicals we lack fight against ever single fiber of our being. What we lack chemically causes us to question our value. And it causes us to question if we are even worth the cost.

You can’t yell someone’s mental illness away. I can speak for myself and say that mine could not be prayed away. Trying to do that, and that alone, nearly cost me my life. It nearly cost my mother her daughter. My husband his wife and my children their mother. I needed real, tangible care. Quickly.

That is how very real and horrible this thing is. Don’t guilt your loved ones out of help. Ask when their appointments are — offer to drive them. Listen to them. They need you to hear. What they say might scare you — all the more reason to fight along with them. To advocate beside them.

This is a matter of life and death. It’s as real as any other disease or illness. And it is sorely misunderstood. It is frightening to be on this side of things. Asking for help is hard, receiving help is hard. Finding good, quality help, nearly impossible.

We need you. Like air, we need you. Continue to pray, continue to encourage us, but take action and help us live. It all matters. Every person matters. Their heartbreak — matters. Don’t delay — don’t wonder if you shouldn’t intervene. Show up. Choose love. Tender, caring, supportive love. Be proactive. Don’t be too late.

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.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us a story about a time you encountered a commonly held misconception about your mental illness. How did you react, and what do you want to tell people who hold his misconception? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Originally published: March 31, 2016
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