An Open Letter to My Commenter Who Had a Lot of Anger to Project

I’m not really sure who remembers that I was on Anderson Cooper’s show in March 2013 for a segment about moms who take anxiety medication. There was a clear bias in the way the subject was handled, but I wrote a companion piece to further explore what I talked about on the show, a post I called You Will Not Shame Me – The Stigma of Mental Illness and Prescription Drugs. As it is April 2015 now, two years has passed since I appeared on Anderson Live, and I’ve had countless people thank me for talking openly about my mental illness because it made them feel like they weren’t alone.

So imagine my surprise when I was checking my blog stats the other day and found this comment pending, two years later:

Hateful Comment

I had to shrink the image because it was quite wide, so here is an exact transcription:

i would love to try to see you hurt my sister she knows what she is talking about drugs do not make you a better parent you are a stupid woman and you probably sleep all day because of your drugs. You don’t have the slitest clue what goes on because you are to busy passing on because you are on Xanax moron my sister totally won the argue men on this show.

I have a few things I would like to say to Sammy, the sibling of the woman who verbally attacked me on national television.

First of all, I would never want to hurt your sister, and I can’t imagine why you think I would want to. In fact, my anger at anything your sister said is based firmly in indignation at the accusations she made about both moms with anxiety disorders in general and me personally. I did not choose to have an anxiety disorder, and my psychiatrist is a medical doctor who has helped me find the right balance of medications to treat it with the lowest doses possible. I am being proactive about trying to be as healthy as I can be in mind and body – for the good of myself and my family.

You made this personal, and you didn’t have to. You insulted me as a parent and as a person – and you did it more than two years after I appeared in a five-minute TV segment with your sister and wrote a blog post about the subject. What I would like to focus on is that you bothered to look up my blog post after two years in the first place.

If you still have such strong feelings that compel you to demonize anyone who takes psychiatric drugs that you had to search me out, I think you should consider why you couldn’t help but call me a “stupid woman” and a “moron.” If you’d read the post you left your comment on, you would know that I’m not sleeping all day passed out on Xanax because I did take it once and it did turn me into a zombie – and that was unacceptable to me.

Having a graduate degree in psychology means I’ve actually studied psychopharmaceuticals – that means any drug that affects a person’s mental state – and understand their mechanisms of action, thanks to a professor who was an expert in the field, having helped conduct some landmark studies on certain drugs. My degree also helped me recognize projection when I see it, and you’re using me as a target because you can’t actually confront the person responsible for your antipathy.

But I digress; this is about you. I can’t diagnose you from your brief paragraph, but let me run a few scenarios by you. Maybe one of your parents was neglectful because of substance abuse – whether prescription pills or something else – and you therefore distrust any type of medications and assume that anyone who takes them must also be a “bad parent.” You have to blame the drugs because you can’t blame the person who chose to abuse the pills as a form of escape. Maybe it wasn’t your parent, but the parent of someone else you care deeply about. Or maybe you two have your own struggles with anxiety but fear seeking treatment because of the stigma attached to mental illness, so you have to think of people who seek treatment as weaker or somehow less than you because that makes you the stronger, better people for “toughing it out” without treatment.

But it’s not really about me. Because I know I’m not stupid, I know I’m not a moron, and I know I don’t even take the Xanax you assume I’m abusing. I know I wasn’t having an argument with your sister on live television. I was simply stating facts in response to judgmental, loaded questions I couldn’t believe someone could say to another person’s face. I know that you feel it’s very important to your world view to establish that you are “right,” that you are “better” than me. You wouldn’t have to resort to name-calling if it wasn’t about trying to denigrate me and establish your presumed superiority.

I hope you find peace, Sammy. I hope you find love, and compassion, and happiness, and a way to get past the bad that has happened in your life. You will not find these things through misplaced anger and looking for outside targets to blame. I hope you have a safe place with a safe person to talk through your feelings with. That is the first step to healing.

Christina Gleason (973 Posts)

That’s me: Christina Gleason. I’m a professional copywriter, editor, and blogger. My company is called Phenomenal Content. (Hire me!) I'm a multiply disabled autistic woman doing my best in this world built for abled people. I’m a geek for grammar, fantasy, and select types of gaming, including Twitch Sings and Plants vs Zombies 2. I hate vegetables. I have an intense phone phobia, so I’ll happily conduct business over email or IM instead.


Comments

  1. Bravo for a very well-written response! It is disheartening that there is still such a controversy and stigma surrounding mental health issues and medications. While I fully understand concerns regarding medications, I can’t understand someone feeling the need to lash out at someone they do not even know for making a different choice than they would if they were in need of treatment. You handled this well, Christina!

  2. One Question…. Why put fuel to the fire so to speak and retaliate? Just know that you are where you are because you do not abuse drugs and that you are a good parent/mom. Just be satisfied with that and let the others think as they may. Just saying.

    • I considered just ignoring it, but they I felt it was important to share because I know so many other people who have been shamed for taking meds for their mental health, and I want them to know that it’s more a reflection of the person doing the shaming than it is of them.

  3. Christina,
    Can you please delete this response that you wrote to my now 15 year old torn apart sister? The reason I went on the Anderson cooper show was to be an advocate for my younger brother and sister who are still children 3 and a half years later. These are children who have had to watch their parents use xanax and other prescription medications. Children who unfortunately have watched their parents pass out and almost burn their home down with lit cigarettes. These are children that because of depression, bipolar, anxiety, and pain medication have been ripped from their home by child services. They are the reason I went on this show. This show like any other was a bias show that glorified the use of medication and patients with anxiety. This show was not only scripted, but the pushes certain words to make it interesting… I’m sorry if your feelings are hurt but I would appreciate you delete this. It is now February of 2017 and my sister a young child is sending this to me.

    Thank u

    • How would your sister have even found this? Is your family stalking me? You went on Anderson Cooper to shame MILLIONS of mothers who are mentally ill and take medication so that they can be healthy for their families. You accused me, specifically, of being a terrible mother who would throw pills at her child instead of teaching him coping skills. (By the way, he’s one of the most polite, compassionate little boys you could ever meet.) The show was scripted? Was I the only person brought onto the show who didn’t get a copy of the script, so you could attempt to bully me on national television?

      Your parents may have been irresponsible, but that’s not on me. That’s on them and their PARENTING abilities, not on anxiety and medication. And it wasn’t Sammy’s place to come here and attack me YEARS later ON MY OWN BLOG either. THAT’S ON SAMMY. If the show encouraged you to “use certain words to make it interesting,” it was your own sense of moral responsibility to either go along with it or say no, that’s not right. And you CHOSE to use words to shame and belittle me. My FAMILY was watching. MY family matters just as much as yours.

      I will not delete this from my blog. I was thanked by DOZENS of mothers with anxiety for having the COURAGE to stand up to BULLIES like you who attempt to shame us for being born with the wrong brain chemistry. I am an advocate for disability rights, and I will not be shamed or shunned or silenced by judgmental people like you who think “they made me say it” is an adequate defense for what you did. You didn’t even apologize. “I’m sorry if your feelings are hurt” is not an apology. If your 15 year old sister comes back to read this, tell her I’m very sorry for what she had to go through, but anxiety medication was not to blame for her parents’ bad choices. Choosing to ABUSE medication is a bad choice. I hope she is with a family who loves and respects her and keeps her safe. And if she ends up discovering that she has any type of mental illness now or in the future, I hope she finds a good doctor who can help her find the right sort of treatment for her, which may or may not include medication.

      It’s awfully gutsy to come here and tell me what I can and cannot have appearing on my site after it was your family who attacked me. Twice. In a very personal manner. I hope you and everyone in your family gets the help that you need.

      P.S. I’m rereading your comment, and am I correct that Sammy is your now-15-year-old-sister? If I had known that when I first responded to the tirade I received, I would not have been as harsh. The message would have been similar, but it would have been in gentler terms simply saying that I know her words were not about me, but a symptom of what she’s been through. It would have been in the tone of a compassionate therapist to a teen, rather than the tough love approach that is needed when talking to certain adults who don’t understand what’s really bothering them. I had wrongly assumed that Sammy was 1) male and 2) your age. I will remove her last name so this doesn’t haunt her in the future by showing up in Google searches. I never would have included her full name if I’d known she was a kid, even though it’s legal for 13 year olds to share their full names online. Perhaps you can talk to her about online decorum and how the internet never forgets. Not everyone would edit an entire post having learned the new information. I’ve added some of my hopes for her and some advice I hope she’ll take. She’s been through a lot, and it will help her to heal if she can recognize the true source of her feelings.

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