Taking a Stand
I feel like I need to make a statement for mental health week/month as a way to take action on the CMHA #GETLOUD theme.
I know my reflections also have to do with a discussion in an online community about people who can share their stories about holistic approaches to mental wellness and to be part of a grassroots effort to promote change. It is also about my need to take a stand and offer my support to women dealing with anxiety, depression, stress and burnout. Note that I include “stress” in this list because women often push aside their symptoms by calling them stress, until they reach a crisis point.
Part of this post was written months ago as I reflected on my role as a holistic nutrition consultant and educator. How could I bring together my sincere belief that medication has saved my life along with my commitment to holistic strategies for wellness? For now, the fact that I can reconcile these approaches and speak up for other is enough of an answer.
I don’t have all the answers, but here’s what I know:
I don’t want another mother to feel guilty, sad and like she’s a failure when she misses her kids’ birthday party because of panic attack. I want every mom to feel she is able to be the best mom she can for her kids.
I don’t want another woman to wonder if she can ever have her dream job because of her mental illness. I want every woman to have access to all the supports she needs to help her reach all her goals.
I don’t want another woman to carry around a prescription for medication and avoid filling it because of stigma. I want to her to feel she has all the information and support she needs to make her decision. I want her to feel supported and empowered by the choices she makes for her own wellbeing.
I don’t want another women to feel that taking medication makes her any less of a person, a mother or wife. I want her to know that looking after herself and ensuring she has what she needs makes her powerful. And, if she choose not to take medication, she is equally supported in that choice.
I don’t want another mother to worry about how her mental illness impacts her children. I want her to feel confident that she is showing them a great example of how she is making the best choices she can for herself and her family. I want her to make choices that will help her and her family learn and grow.
I don’t want another women to claim that take medication makes her better than someone who doesn’t or vice versa. I want every woman to have all the support and all the options she needs to help her feel better.
I don’t want any women to feel medication is her only choice or that she has to depend on medication as her only tool. I want each woman to be aware of all the options available to her and to select the ones that will help her feel happier and healthier.
I don’t want another woman to suffer with medication side effects or through the process of stopping medication without support and an understanding of how to make tappering easier. I want women to understand how their bodies work and the choices they have to feel well.
I don’t want anyone to suggest that women who take medication have been duped by the system and aren’t capable to make decisions about what is best for them in their situation. I want women standing together and demanding the information and support they need.
I don’t want another woman to be dependent on medication and to be unaware there are other options. I want nutrition and diet, supplements and lifestyle changes to offered as strategies that can be used instead or alongside prescription medication to produce lasting change.
I don’t want women to assume the diagnosis of mental illness made by their doctor after a short conversation is the end of the conversation. I want women to know what questions to ask to understand their illness and their options. I want them to ask for a second opinion and to get more information before choosing their next steps.
I don’t want women to be told what to do or accept what they are told without reflection. I want women to learn about their bodies so they can understand their choices and make educated decisions. I want them to take responsibility for their health and their choices.
Most of all, I don’t want my challenges to be for nothing. I want to make a difference and assure people that living with mental illness is an opportunity to learn and become a powerful advocate for yourself.
I think this message is too important to be turned into a sales pitch. I encourage you to share it and to talk about mental illness and how it effects you and others, and all the different options to deal with it.