Was browsing Reddit when I stumbled on this charmer of a story.
First off, I cannot in good conscience say the writer is incorrect. There really isn’t much by way of solid scientific evidence proving or disproving the chemical imbalance theory involving mental illness and psych meds. It’s not an exact science, never has been, likely never will be. There is no blood test or urine test. And the pharma companies may not know exactly how the meds work…
For those of us who suffer and are helped with the meds, though….WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE MECHANICS INVOLVED AS LONG AS WE STOP ACTING WACKO AND FEELING LIKE DEATH WOULD BE A GOOD THING!!!
I’d like to think he was debating the pharma companys’ “false” advertising and claims about how the drugs are thought to work on depression and such. I get a vibe, though, that this is a dude with a serious chip on his shoulder and his flippancy toward the end of the piece, basically saying giving us a new car as opposed to the pricy psych meds would be just as effective, backs me up in thinking he’s one of the ignorant people who view mental illness as some sort of dramatic effort millions of people indulge in, like some role playing game in which the goal is to be as miserable as possible without cause. And whoa, a new car will fix it all!
People like him are why people go off their meds and downward spiral. NONE of us want to believe we are in some way defective. We would all love to embrace the notion that we’re lazy or spoiled or have weak psyches or, well, ANYTHING other than having something wrong with our brains. People often believe in ignorance like his and quit taking meds that actually improve the quality of their lives only to stumble into a gutter and keep falling downward. I have been there. One of the medication nay sayers was a shrink and when he basically said it was all in my head and I just didn’t want the meds to work…I got it in my head that I just needed to buck up. I mean, the doctor said so, right? I spent 17 months slowly declining, downward spiraling, until one morning I woke up, realized what I had become and how my life had imploded…And it was then that I vowed to never again allow anyone to convince me I do not have an illness.
I’ve lived it for over 25 years. I have been in therapy. Therapy with meds. Meds alone. No meds. Light therapy, sound therapy, aromatherapy, hypnosis, hell I even had my damn chakras aligned! Exercise, diet, cognitive therapy…You name it, I have tried it.
I may not have a blood test to prove that it’s not all an act. I may not be able to scientifically pinpoint what the problem is. But make no mistake there IS a problem, whether it is imbalanced chemicals or hormones or some sort of birth defect in my central nervous system or deep in my brain. The way I feel at times is NOT normal. It is NOT a figment of my imagination. And having done the off/on again meds route, only to go completely off the rails…I believe in the imbalance theory. Something up there is OFF. Maybe we don’t know if it’s low serotonin or whatever. Maybe we don’t know how some drugs work for some people but not others. The fact is, people feel like they’d rather be dead, they take a pill, and they reclaim their lives.
What kind of fucking moron argues with a positive outcome?
I don’t disagree that the advent of popular anti depressants has brought about a prescribing frenzy by doctors who will basically hand Prozac or Zoloft to anyone having a bad day. It bastardizes the whole subject for people who have serious, chronic, well documented problems.
But mental illness has existed since the dawn of time.
Back in the day, barbaric methods were used to treat what they called “melancholia” and “hysteria”. Doctors became convinced sexually stimulating a woman to orgasm would alleviate the symptoms and make her all better. Then there was instant asylum status for anyone deemed mentally ill. Lobotomies, electro shock, water therapies that did more harm than good, strapping people down…
Mental illness is not new.
Methods of treating it are not new.
They are improved, though.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but some opinions are downright dangerous. It’s the Tom Cruise disease. Scientology doesn’t believe mental illness is real, either. So ya know, I say let a violent psychotic without meds watch the kids, if you are that certain you are right.
All I am certain of is that I am bipolar. There is something wrong deep in my brain, something that sends the wrong signals, something that just isn’t right. But even without scientific proof, I believe whole heartedly that it is some sort of imbalance, be it chemicals or a birth defect or something else. I remember how crazy I was when pregnant and when I got depo provera. Hormones can fuck you up that bad when they are out of whack. Who’s to say other things going on in the human body can’t do it as well even if they aren’t sure how to prove it yet?
Millions of people believe in a religious deity because they have faith, not scientific evidence. Yet people are allowed their religious beliefs without being told outside of scientific proof their believes are invalid.
So apparently any illness that cannot be explained in entirety by hard science is not at all an illness. That is what I took away from this article.
And I am gonna have to play the bullshit card, because for some of us, this is not some tiny little cross to bear. It is our entire lives, day in day out, riding the medi go round, talking to doctors and therapists and trying everything we can to occupy a mental space that doesn’t make death seem like a wonderful thing.
Now, I want to close by linking to a blog by a girl who is pretty much my blogging idol. She is funny, but she is real. When I read this earlier, I couldn’t help but envy her ability to put into words all the things I feel yet cannot seem to string together. If you want to read a real take on depression complete with funny pictures and total realism…Check it out.