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I see the handful of pills you’ve just posted on Facebook, which in turn has been reposted onto your Instagram account just in case anyone missed it.


Six pills are scattered in the palm of your hand. I can see you brushed up the image, maybe added a little light, or a little tint to this snapshot of your life. You’re complaining about having to take pills every day. How these pills are taking over your bipolar life.


I’m going to have to shut this down.


I commented on your snapshot. It’s not what I normally do, I usually troll on social media for places that I can plug my memoir. But today, today you’ve gone a bit too far.

I’ve seen many of these pictures with the caption ‘look how many I have to take’, like it’s a competition that no one is judging except your followers. In the comments, other people post their hands in similar positions. Cupped around their pills. You left me no choice but to comment.


Sorry but I’m going to have to call this post out. You should be lucky that you have enough money to fill your prescriptions. You should feel grateful that you have a doctor to prescribe these meds. All of the inpatients, or the homeless at the moment might not have had these opportunities that you have right now. I get it, it sucks to have to swallow 2-3 times extra per day … but please stop to think about how luck you are to have been diagnosed, prescribed, and are being followed to make sure that your health is okay. Bipolar is hard, I will agree with you on that. But please be empathetic to the millions of people who don’t get your opportunity to medicate.’


I sound whiney as my fingers type these words, of course I do. But I don’t see a point to flaunt them. You have to drink water every day, you need to eat as well. Where is the post with a head of broccoli in your hand complaining that you need to eat. Where is the post with your toilet bowl full of urine, complaining that you needed to take time out of your day to urinate.


I hope you’re writing all of this down.


Someone, somewhere, has made this into a competition. But here’s the thing, I could have a diagnosis of Bipolar disorder and only be prescribed one pill.  Would that somehow lessen my diagnosis because my hand would only be cupped around one white pill laying in the centre of my palm?


Short answer, No. Just because you take twenty two pills, it does not make your bipolar worse than mine or vice versa. We all metabolize medications differently. I started my medication journey at age nine. There were times I took twenty-seven pills, there were other times where I took seven. The thing with mental health is, we need different help at different times in our lives. While I was pregnant, there were several medications that I needed to stop taking. This didn’t mean that I was suddenly cured because I was on less. There were times that I was taking more pills because the drug that I was on only came in 25’s, and I needed three of them to complete my dosage. It might look like a lot in my palms if I were to waste my time and post it. I might be on several medications where I need to take three or four pills of the same drug.


But let’s get back to why you’re flaunting them, and why I have such an issue with seeing your post.


There are millions of people who are suffering right now, who don’t have access to what you have. There are people deciding if they should eat that week or fill their prescriptions. There are people who have been on the waiting list for years just to see a psychiatrist. And that psychiatrist will most likely only see them once, prescribe medication then refer them back to the family doctor who knows nothing about the medication that you were just prescribed. If you suddenly aren’t doing well, you have to go back on the wait list.


So, hear me when I say, if you are on medications for your disorder, and are being followed by a psychiatrist, you are one of the lucky ones.


You complain that medications are ruining your life. You wrote it at the end of your post. And I know there are side effects, and weight gain, and a million other reasons you don’t like to be on medications, and when you think like this, I want you to picture the inpatients who have been brought in because their mania went so far up without help, that they need to be hospitalized to bring them down. These people are wasting years in the hospital, well over the time it takes you to swallow extra daily. I want you to picture all of the depressives that are staring from bridges because they weren’t helped, or they were left on the wait list for too long.


I want you to smile and remember how lucky you are to be in the position that you are in, because we are not all so lucky.




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This is not your average messiness. But this is Ashley Berry’s life.


In Separate Things, Ashley fumbles through life, graying up the parts that are so intensely black and white, while learning that molding herself into this “normal” world is not the same as living in it. Never hiding from the stigma, she voices her opinions to others in order to help them understand that being slightly nutty can look different on everyone.


Running from a flood of mental illnesses, Ashley shares her raw, intimate journals from psychiatric stays, moments trying to find the sunlight, and the callous feeling of not wanting to be here anymore.


Peeing in foam cups and ruminating for hours about catching pedophilia is just a tiny glimpse into her sometimes manic life. She shares her stories in a very direct way that will only make you feel more compassionate to those who are touched by this light.

**Separate Things a Memoir, is available on Amazon.


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