One woman has motivated an incredibly important social media movement and in doing so has started an essential conversation surrounding mental health. And since it’s 2015, it all started with a selfie.
About a month ago, Erin Jones, who blogs about autism and motherhood at Mutha Lovin’ Autism, snapped a selfie and posted it on Facebook. At first glance, you see her fabulously vivid pink-and-blue hair, but then you realize that Erin is holding prescriptions for medications. “So this also happened yesterday,” she wrote in the caption. “I have tried living this life without prescription help. It seems to have me on top of the world one minute and rocking in the corner the next. There is no consistency. I’m done with that. Anxiety and antidepressant medication to the rescue. Sometimes, folks, we just need help.”
Erin took the picture on the way to filling her prescriptions after realizing that she couldn’t handle her anxiety and depression by herself. “I was making cookies and posting homeschooling advice, but I was trapped. . . in my own mind,” she told Mic. “Simple trips to the store meant I may have a panic attack on the [five-minute] drive down. . . I hid from my children when they were too loud. I yelled. I cried. I didn’t eat. I ate too much.”
Erin had gone 14 years without being medicated, but she decided enough was enough. “I thought I was strong enough to handle my anxiety and depression on my own until I had to dig deeper and admit that I needed help,” she explained to The Mighty. “That required more strength than any day I battled it on my own. It’s scary to admit we aren’t all right, especially when everyone depends on us to be.”
The sentiment struck a chord with many, and soon the post went viral with over a thousand likes. And for good reason. Erin’s story is one that many can relate to. Many, many people take medication daily but due to the negative stigma surrounding mental health, they feel unable to speak up about it.
Erin and The Mighty teamed up to start the #MedicatedAndMighty hashtag, which encourages those who take medication for their mental health to share a selfie with their prescriptions. And they’re absolutely beautiful and so, so important.
The tipping point for Erin was when she was begging her son, who was struggling with anxiety, to let her get him help — and suddenly, Erin realized that she was setting the wrong example for him by not getting help herself. “I couldn’t help him until I was willing to help myself,” she told The Mighty. “There is no good mothering taking place while crying in the bathroom floor. He needs me well. I need me well. There is no shame in being sick. Not in our bodies. Not in our minds. There is help. We just have to ask for it.”
Erin’s story and hashtag has resonated most of all with mothers. “I think mothers want so badly to be what holds their families together that they pretend they’re all right, many times out of fear that their family won’t make it without them,” Erin told Mic. “Mental illness lies to them [and] tells them they aren’t sick, [that] they don’t need help. No one will believe them, because they’ve faked it for so long.”
It’s time to start talking about mental health. There is still so much that needs to be done to give a voice to those who are struggling, but brave people like Erin can make a difference by speaking out. Thank you, Erin, for starting such an important conversation and reminding us that sometimes, you just need a little help — and that’s OK.
(Images via Facebook, Twitter.)