“For every woman who has struggled – there’s no shame” Lena Dunham on the stigma of taking anti-depressants

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Since she was a teenager, Lena Dunham has been taking antidepressants.

But she's recently started to notice there's a stereotype, particularly in popular culture, that women who take psychiatric medication are portrayed as uncontrollable, emotional and worst for wear.

"Lately I've been noticing that nearly every pop cultural image we see of a woman on psychiatric medication is that of an out-of-control, exhausting and exhausted girl who needs help," she writes on Instagram.

"But guess what? Most women on meds are women who have been brave enough to help themselves."

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

Emily Taylor (played by Rooney Mara) tries a series of antidepressant medications in 2013 film Side Effects

Emily Taylor (played by Rooney Mara) tries a series of antidepressant medications in 2013 film Side Effects

The 29-year-old continued to stress how women on medication for their mental health should not be made to feel inadequate or ashamed.

"It's important that we see normalizing portrayals of people, women, choosing to take action when it comes to their mental health. Meds didn't make me a hollowed out version of my former self or a messy bar patron with a bad bleach job. They allowed to really meet myself.

"I wish that for every lady who has ever struggled. There's really no shame."

The writer, director, actress, author and businesswoman also shared a picture of the number of subscription pills she takes on Instagram.

A post shared by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

This week, the star also shared her new approach to coping with stress at work - a simple two letter word.

While many argue that saying "yes" is the key to opening more doors, Dunham says she's started to say "no" and that it's worked wonders for her personal life.

"Work is, organically, a place of yes," she writes in a guest post on LinkedIn. "Because I had so much shame about the private strings of unanswered texts, broken plans, re-made promises, at work it became my mission to answer every email no matter the hour, agree to every added task, finish the day off by reading a link sent by a colleague rather than a book for pleasure."

"And for awhile, it worked like a charm. A compliment like “you’re the fastest email-er I know,” or “how do you do so much at once?” was better than a romantic sweet nothing to me. It fulfilled my desire to be seen as unsinkable, reliable. And in the deepest place, lovable.But we can only pull off a high wire act for so long before gravity does its job. The more my personal relationships suffered, the more I wanted to work."

She says as soon as a polite “no” entered her vernacular -  “I can’t do it realistically by Friday,” or “I wish I could be on that panel but my week is insane,” or even “no, I’m not comfortable with this dynamic” - And "something miraculous happened".

"People respond well to honesty, to reality. They understand." Read Lena's full article at

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.

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