Antidepressants are the second most commonly prescribed type of medication, and help many patients suffering from depression. But even though 10 percent of Americans will take an antidepressant at some point in their lives, there is still some social stigma surrounding this type of drug.
A meme, playing into that stigma, was recently shared by Facebook page Earth. We are one. The meme refers to the outdoors as an "antidepressant" and an actual antidepressant as "shit."
Eventually, the meme caught the attention of actor and activist Jenni Chiu, who credited antidepressants for keeping her alive.
"I struggled with my own decision to take medication over a decade ago when I was suffering from depression and PTSD," Chiu told A Plus via email. "I am no longer on those medications, but I am certain they saved my life."
Given that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Chiu had to set the record straight. She published an empowering Facebook message attacking the absurd meme.
"Depression and anxiety are mental illnesses," she wrote on Facebook. "Not all illness can be cured with fresh air and sunshine. Sometimes chemical imbalances in the brain need to be supplemented. It may not be the answer for everybody, but it is definitely a life saver for some."
Chiu's May 25 Facebook post went viral for being an inspiring message for people with mental illnesses.
"The public reaction and personal messages I've received have been incredible," she wrote to A Plus. "I was certainly hoping to help someone (even just one person) with my post, but I wasn't prepared for how much the number of people telling their stories in the comments would help me. Each and every one of those people who said "me too" and "thank you" on the post has been a gift."
She also posted a more appropriate version of the meme.