It's OK to take Medicine - Mental Health Awareness Month

It's OK to take Medicine - Mental Health Awareness Month

It's OK to take Medicine

I just finished listening to the We Can Do Hard Things podcast, and this is what Maggie Smith said: “Is there anything more dangerous than a woman who tells it like it is?”

Of course, the answer is NO there isn't anything more dangerous than that. And, Jenée and I are going to continue to say, design, and wear all the things hush-hush OUT LOUD.

It is mental health awareness month and I would like to talk about anxiety, depression, ADHD, dyslexia, divorce, middle age, reclaiming life, eating cookies for breakfast, and my relationship with social media BUT Jenée says we have to pick one topic this week, so we've decided to dive straight into the uncomfortable reality of accepting help, and in our cases it was finally accepting that medication is good for our mental health.

This blog is about two very high functioning middle age (me more than Jenée) professional women who have accepted that their mental baseline and their life goals are fighting with each other every single second of the day.

Our fancy coping tricks didn't work anymore.
Our therapy wasn't enough.
Every band-aid we applied peeled off the closer we became more successful in our careers.

When we started HUSH HUSH, we both immediately agreed we needed to talk about mental health because as women (and I'm positive this applies to many who don't identify as a woman) we are told too often that we are crazy, dramatic, unreasonable, sensitive, emotional and yes ... lazy.

When I look back at my childhood, as an undiagnosed dyslexic/ADHD in a family of Asian genius siblings, I had school anxiety every single day - even during summer vacation - because I was never sure I understood anything because I was unable to read well (I didn't read an entire book until I was 11). I fake read and was always daydreaming, but I was high functioning in the sense that I was a solid B student. I even got into NYU eventually, where my professor encouraged me to get diagnosed. I was diagnosed with dyslexia but as with most girls/women, ADHC was not.

I lived my entire life with ADHD and thought that dyslexia was the reason for my forgetfulness, time management issues, depression, hyperfocus, and so many other things. It wasn't until I hit rock bottom with depression and my marriage that I realized that the fancy coping tricks in my mental health toolbox weren't enough. I want to reiterate that when I say I was depressed, I was ready to check into a mental hospital because my thoughts and feelings were so overwhelming, I wasn't sure I could make decisions at all.

It took talk therapy, my Corgipoo Groot, my sister, and one friend to encourage me to get re-diagnosed. Before I get to the medication part of this story, I want to say that there is a lot of information about how ADHD is:

isn't real,
a male thing,
an excuse for everything,
treatable with dopamine inducing behaviors/diet (it wasn't enough for me but I do a lot of this).

When my neurodivergent brain was diagnosed as ADHD/dyslexic and I was on the right medication (Concerta) - I literally felt a heavy iron door unlock in my mind and for the first time in my life, I knew that anxiety could be a choice instead of a default. People with anxiety never feel like they have a choice because they live in the past or the future. My brain without medication could hardly sit still in the present to say "You're OK".

I could write endlessly about how creativity and working with my hands helped me as much as medication, but it was the medication, without a doubt, that allowed me to present enough to make HUSH HUSH – and finally share the life saving STAY BAR with everyone. What people don't know is that I asked Matt Haig a few years ago if I could design it. My friend Alex and I read REASONS TO STAY ALIVE because we suffered from anxiety, and we designed the STAY BAR together as a safety measure. Matt said I could design it, but I wasn't on medication at that time, and instead wore the prototype when I wanted to stay in the moment. Later, I added the cracks and stress marks on the back because sometimes we feel great, and sometimes we feel pretty shitty. It continues to help me focus on being present in my body regardless if I'm on medication. It reminds me that at this very moment in time, I am OK.

More neurodivergent creatives!

How to find a therapist (talk) or psychiatrist (talk & Rx)

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