Posted by Viridis on August 3, 2003, at 18:22:25
In reply to Re: Straterra approval., posted by Kacy on August 3, 2003, at 11:56:09
All "mental illnesses", ranging from ADD to depression to panic disorder etc. are frowned upon by some people. Some think they aren't real and just reflect character weaknesses, and others believe they're real but feel you're somehow flawed because of it. ADD/ADHD is a particularly sensitive one because many people are skeptical that such a condition exists, or think that it only applies to children.
So, the amount of discretion you exercise is really a matter of choice. Since (with a few exceptions) it's not anyone else's business, you can just choose not to say anything. Or, you can limit the information to a few trusted friends and family. I don't really care what people think about my ADD etc. -- the ones who judge me negatively probably aren't the type I'd want to socialize with anyway, and their opinions don't mean much to me. So, I'm pretty open about my condition, the meds I take, etc. if the subject comes up, although I don't see any reason to advertise it.
I think there is a rapidly-growing awareness of mental illness as real and treatable, and the stigma definitely is lessening. When I first took Prozac for depression about 12 years ago, I discovered a "secret society" of Prozac users who were extremely close-mouthed about it except with other users. Now, many of the people I work or socialize with talk openly about the antidepressants, antianxiety meds, and even ADD drugs they use. Sometimes this leads others to say things like "you don't need drugs to make you feel better" and so on, but that can be an opportunity to educate them. I ask what medications they take, and whether they could just wish their medical conditions away. Sometimes this has an impact, sometimes not. But by being open, I think it contributes to the growing awareness that mental illness and psychiatric meds aren't limited to crazy people.
This is just my choice -- again, you're not obligated to discuss your mental condition any more than your religious beliefs, political views, sexual orientation, etc. All of these are likely to lead to disapproval from someone. It just comes down to your comfort level, and how much you worry about other people's opinions.