You all know that from time to time I like to share the blogs and things I like here on the Brownhills Blog – be it local history, architecture, music or science, over the years I’ve hopefully introduced readers to a range of subjects and writers, ranging from the serious to hilarious, from folklore to stats in journalism.
Regular readers will know that mental health issues are important to me – not only as a historic and current affairs social concern, but as someone who’s fought the black dog and still does from time to time, I feel keenly the ups and downs of my own life.
Talking about matters surrounding mental health is essential if we’re to break the stigma around many issues like self harm, male suicide, eating disorders and depression (or bipolar disorder as it’s known today), as well as of course the more severe classes of mental illness we can all suffer from.
There’s a remarkable local blog by a young lady called Shannon Diana, whose every new post I read keenly. Shannon is a lovely person who knows well the battle that is the path to healing and better mental health. Her blog deals with all the issues she faces, and and good deal more that others do; it is at times painfully frank and can be challenging reading – but there is a touching optimism that runs through Shannon’s writing that is life-affirming, heartening, encouraging and beautiful.
Shannon has made a marked impression on me in the last year or so and I commend you to subscribe to her blog, and read it regularly – she’s is continually gaining plaudits, awards and recognition for writing honestly and eloquently about her challenges and the recognition she is receiving is richly deserved.
One post that recently stuck with me tackles the issue of ‘Pill stigma’ – the shame anyone on long term medication for any issue – mental or physical – can feel. Picking up her prescription recently, a pharmacy assistant asked if she’d taken anti depressants before; this was overheard by other customers in the shop who commented adversely. It was clearly a horrible experience.
I have had similar happen – I take long term medication and when a clumsy dispenser says what it is in public, people comment. I’ve had people comment on me filling in the back of the prescription., them not knowing I’m filling in for a prepayment certificate.
The medicines we take are between us, and the medical professionals who think we need them. They should never be announced by dispensers in public, and I’m horrified that this has happened to Shannon; but it’s also very, very wrong that members of the public can sometimes see fit to pass judgment. It’s none of their damn business.
Shannon is correct: We need to end the stigma of long term medication. People need it, it’s not a matter for shame and if medicines help with our recovery, or to manage long term issues, then we should never have to feel cowed or embarrassed in the pharmacy, or indeed, in conversation with others.
Please pop along to Shannon’s bog – you can read the Pill Stigma post here, but the whole edifice is a thing of beauty and wonder and that can be read here – do subscribe. You’ll find it’s well worth your while. It’s a blog that’s made me smile, cry, angry and elated – quite often in the course of the same post.
Shannon is my mental health hero. Go check her out.