Friday, October 10, 2008

Medz revisited

A recent comment and some conversations I've had got me thinking more about mental-health meds.

Medication was first suggested when just starting my treatment for OCD. I didn't want to take that approach. There were still traces of a "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality that I now recognize as a form of superiority. I would never have said it in so many words, but I thought drugs would be a crutch - they would take some of the accomplishment out of my eventual recovery. I know, not my noblest line of reasoning. I can blame this on my family's attitudes toward medications in general - the fewer, the better - but it's still how I thought.

Well, fast forward four years. There I was, my sorry, bony ass parked back on Dr. M's couch. It's hard to describe how I felt because I was so blank. I was tired, apathetic. Even the thought of going back to school failed to rouse me. I doubted if there was a creative bone left in my body. I couldn't remember the last time I'd told a joke, or laughed at one. This time I took the drugs when they were offered.

I was glad that they helped, and I recognized that they weren't a "crutch" at all. I didn't depend on them for my happiness, but they enabled me to remember what feeling happy was like, how to sit down with a book and actually enjoy it, how to crack a smile during a funny show. Like the hours I spent with Dr. M, they were a tool I used to make myself better. And they still are.

I don't see that much difference between SSRIs etc and painkillers or antibiotics. Brains may be "weird" (Dr. M's wording), but they're organs - like your kidney or your lungs, they're physical parts of you. When your pancreas goes on strike, you take insulin. When you have a UTI, you get fun pills that turn your pee orange (and allow you to pee without crying). So when your brain starts misfiring for whatever reason, why is it all that different to take something for it? There are those old, itchy fears of "mind control," and for all I know psychopharmaceuticals are being over-prescribed. For myself and others I know, at least, meds aren't about dependence, they're about functioning.

1 comment:

Emily said...

I completely agree with you!