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When Mom Doesn’t Want to Hear About Your Prozac

mother and daughter discussing mental health on a park bench

Photo Credit: Erickson Stock/Shutterstock

When I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and subsequently prescribed a low dosage of Prozac, my life immediately improved. Of course, it takes four-to-six weeks for an antidepressant to build in your system and fully kick in, but what I was feeling was more than a placebo effect — I felt normalized.

For years, I experienced extreme anxiety and depression, but I had no idea what was happening or what to call it — I just thought there was something wrong with me. I would obsess over people hating people; even convincing myself that people laughing on the subway were laughing at me. Some days, I couldn’t leave my bed inexplicably. The worst was how often I lost my temper on the people I loved.

My whole life, I felt that these emotions were wrong and a part of me, thus there must be something wrong with me. So, to have a doctor explain that this was a medical issue and could be easily addressed, made me feel empowered.

I was excited to tell people, even my mom, whom I knew wasn’t a fan of psychiatric medicine (and who really didn’t believe in mental illness). But I thought she would see the difference in me and be happy for me.

She wasn’t. She was disappointed, upset, and even felt guilty, saying, "You get that from me. I am sorry."

Throughout the years, she would subtly let me know that she didn’t approve of my medication management. On a family vacation, I told her that I ran out of my prescription and was experiencing some withdrawal symptoms. She said nothing.

If I ever mention my mental illnesses or prescription, she will not acknowledge what I said — she pretends to not hear it. As if the lack of response will mean that I don’t take antidepressants — that her daughter is not “broken.”

I don’t actually know if my mom’s reluctance to accept or acknowledge my mental health struggles is because she thinks I am broken. But I know it’s how she makes me feel.

The irony though, is she made me feel broken before medication, too. She criticized my anxiety, depression, and temper, making me feel that there was something inherently wrong with me. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.

I don’t know if I will ever be good enough for my mother. But I know that the small, blue oval pill and the orange circle tablet I take every day are good enough for me.

In fact, they are more than good — they saved my life.

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