Why are people ashamed to take anti-depressants?

My friend called the other night.  She had just been to the doctors and had been recommended strongly to begin a course of anti-depressants.  The reason for her call was that she needed reassurance that it was the right thing to do- she felt ashamed about taking the pills.  This is a pretty common feeling.  I had it myself for a long time.

The shame comes from the belief that taking medication makes you officially mentally unstable (true, but with the help of drugs hopefully not for much longer), that it is proof you cannot manage on your own (accepting help is not however, a sign of weakness, but of strength), that people will think less of you if they find out (you don’t need to tell anyone if you don’t want to.  If you do and they think less of you,  perhaps you need to assess how beneficial a relationship with them really is) and that if you start taking them you might never stop (can’t reassure you on that point- I’m still on mine after seven years).

I hope and pray that my friend starts taking the meds the doctor has proscribed for her, because they might make all the difference, and I am longing for her to feel better.  Life is hard enough without deciding the very thing that might make it a bit easier is shameful.