Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I may be crazy but what’s it to you?

Alright – I suppose I should warn you before I type. I don’t often “preach” here on my blog. I talk about MY life and how *I* feel but I try not to tell any of you to feel the same way. I don’t talk politics or religion and I try to keep it light or go to the other end of the spectrum and try to blog about serious topics that will help me. I try very hard never to judge any of you or your words. I only want to support you – period.

But today I’m gonna get on my soapbox and it might not be pretty. My hands are shaking as I type – that’s how passionate I am about this subject. Feel free to disagree with me but there’s a fine line between disagreeing and judging….so try to remember that.

My topic comes from a dear friend of mine over at Journey Beyond Survival. I just started reading her blog and haven’t gone back to the beginning but in just a few week’s time I am convinced she has the strength of 10 women + Rambo. She is Rambette….like Smurfette only way better. She has children with very real health concerns and yet every day she fights for her own health mentally and physically and her writing style is super unique. Her words touch me, she inspires me, and most days I’m just in awe of her. She is also pretty good friends with Mrs. Fatass…which I believe is how I found JBS…so thanks to Mrs. Fatass for that. I will always be grateful.

On days when I think I can’t go on – I literally think of all that JBS has been through and endures daily….and I go on. It’s that simple and that profound.  I don't even know her real name or know what she looks like but her words have changed my life.

Anywhoozle…the other day JBS posted a blog about meds – specifically meds for mental diseases and how people feel about them. She was prompted to write about this subject because another blog had touched on it. The comments on that blog were …um…let’s just say not what I expected. And I was angry. Normally I don’t let comments make me angry – but this day and this subject and the fact that many made the comments without ever feeling depression made me over the top angry. I was livid. I actually stopped reading them. And yah I probably misinterpreted and over-reacted but I don’t give a damn.  Maybe I just saw the comments as a reason to blog about this subject and get this out.  I don't know....all I know is it touched a nerve.

There were so many commenters that were anti-meds it shocked me. And yes I understand we as a nation are over-medicated. They all blamed the docs for dispensing it to young children who simply “misbehave”. All I have to say to that is yes, it may be true but what about the parent who fills that prescription and doses it out to the child every day? Aren’t they just as responsible for the “over-medicating”? We as a generation want fixes and we want them fast. Doctors oblige us because if they don’t – we get angry and we find another doctor.

That being said – there is a time and place for meds…and they save lives. Many comments said “exercise – that’s the same as meds and the body was meant to heal itself on it’s own or eat right or meditate”. Really?

When I was pregnant for the first time I walked 2 miles a day every day. I was in the best shape of my life. Had a terrific husband, the timing was perfect, had a cute house, a new car, great jobs and a healthy baby in my tummy that was planned. Everything was perfect. I couldn’t tell you one thing wrong with my life. Other than I had no joy. I rarely smiled. I found it hard to even get out of bed. The fact that everything was perfect made it all the more humiliating. If you for one second think that choosing to take an anti-depressant during that pregnancy was easy…then you’re insane yourself. You can bet I weighed the risks…but a mother who is dead on the inside and can’t get out of bed really isn’t a mother is she? I took the pills. I have no regrets. I would have died with that baby in me had I not. Of that, I am sure.

If you have never known depression or seen bipolar or cared for someone with schizophrenia or any other mental disease on the spectrum….I never want to hear you say you don’t think meds are the answer. I’m sorry – I just don’t. Until you live every day wanting to die…wondering how on earth you can walk yourself into the bathroom to pee or how you’ll muster the strength to literally run a comb through your hair without breaking down and sobbing….don’t talk to me about meds.

People throw around the word suicidal but until you feel it – it will always just be a word to you. Imagine – just take a second – and think about how it would feel to want to die…leave this world…forever…never come back….just to stop internal pain you can’t control. Can you imagine dying on purpose – and worse yet – wanting it instead of living when your own mind knows that it’s not okay to feel that way? If not for meds….I would be dead. It is that simple…and that awful.

My life was perfect. My health was perfect. My food was perfect. Literally.

How did I end up in a bed unable to move? Unable to work? Unable to eat or drink? Do you not think that if I could have eaten a certain food or done a certain exercise that I would have if that would have fixed it? I have a chemical imbalance. Period. It’s like a diabetic who needs insulin. I still have a damn near perfect life – I wouldn’t change a single thing. But you can bet your sweet ass that I am still on the lowest dose of meds possible….and if I go off…within days I will not be alive. For those commenters who are anti-meds because you’ve never lived in a black hole…I invite you to come watch a person will themself to die right in front of you and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. I pray your loved ones never ever feel this disease and I mostly pray you never tell them to get up and exercise or eat right or go meditate.

Sure there are some that that works for…but just for a second realize that there are those for which it does not. Am I less than because I need meds? Maybe in your eyes. It’s okay – I deal with close family members who are anti-meds too….and their own children hide the fact that to live they take meds too. Nice.

Live or die. Take meds or don’t.

The choice is simple to me….actually I have no choice. I owe it to my friends and family to live and reach out and get help. Do I do it lightly? No way. Do I wish I didn’t have to? Hell yes. Will I apologize for it? F*ck no.

I am alive and able to stand on my soapbox today because of Zoloft. If you feel the need to judge me for that and think I’m weak because of it…that’s fine.

The crazy woman in me just wanted you to know how I felt I guess. And if the day ever comes when you feel even a fraction of the pain and desperation I have felt… assured I’ll be the first one to help you walk out of the black and into the light. It’s just the kind of doped up person I am.

Be well, my friends.


Jennifer said...

You amaze me. I'm right behind you. I grew up with a bi-polar mother. She wasn't diagnosed and put on medication until I was 25 years old. I know for a FACT that I would be a different person today if she would have been on medication when I was a child. I'm not complaining but it's a fact. There is NO SHAME in taking medication for a chemical imbalance. Anyone who says that there is - HAS NO CLUE! My mom is a completely different person today. (If she takes the meds) Why live a tortured life, and torture those around you while they watch you self-destruct, when there is something created to HELP?
Love you doll face! :)

Carmen said...

you tell 'em sister!

Genie @ Diet of 51 said...

Yes, you go! Until you've been there--right in that very spot--don't judge. Meds do save and improve lives in many cases.

LauraLynne said...

Like so many other things in life - if you don't like meds, don't take them. But don't you DARE try and tell other people how to live their lives. It's not fair. Don't tell me what to do with my body until you've LIVED in my body. And I'll return the favor.

tessierose said...

That's right!

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

*sigh* It feels nice here. I felt like I was the only one standing up to those people. And it was hard to keep my tone level and relatable.

I just wanted to scream.

Thanks so much for posting about this Drazil. It so needs to be talked about, and when 'drugged up' people like me are strong enough, it does a great deal of good to talk about it.

They have no idea how it sounds when they say things like, just move your butt and you'll be fine. Or, you know. Just lock up all the crazies.


Cause that makes everything better. Black/White/meds/supplements


Enough hijacking. I'm just glad that *some* of the commentors saw my comment, and read the follow-up.

-Grace- said...

Right on, Draz! You tell 'em!

Ice Queen said...

Oh Draz! If you only knew just how strong, courageous and passionate you truly are. Your determination to live a happy, full life is testament to that.

Meds are a miracle for those who need them. Yes, I do believe that they are overused in many cases, but they are also life saving necessities for so many and I never, never, never judge anyone who needs them.

Keep taking them and flip any dissenters the big, fat bird. Idiots who say, "Just exercise and you will feel better" are the same nit-wits who tell fat people that the cure is to "Just put the fork down" and they proclaim their ignorance and stupidity to the heavens.

Okay... Shutting up, now. lol

Band-Babe said...

Anyone who says they don't believe in medication for mental health has never needed it, or seen it give someone back their life. I was a hold out for a very long time (hippie parents)... but now there is no denying that these medications save lives just as antibiotics, immunizations, anesthesia. We are LUCKY to live in a time and place where these symptoms are treatable. If it's not for you personally, don't do it. But just because it's not right for you, doesn't make it not right (and even necessary) for someone else.

This is bad timing about medicine... but this is the first time I'm reading my "ambien" comment... holy shit... you can actually see exactly where it hit. That is the power of medicine... 10 little mgs, and pow!

Love you, please forgive me, and I put a public apology to you on my blog.

Beth said...

This is my opinion on meds and people's opinions. We all really need to butt out of everybody's buisness and do whats best for you! For some people maybe excerisize will be a cure for some its meds for some it s phsycologist or whatever. Are you less of a person because you took or take the meds? Only you can answer that if you are better for it than that is all that matters and everyone else needs to go find a mirror and check themselves out unless they are perfect (which I am sure they are NOT) then shut your mmouth and deal with you own issues.

This whole meds thing is much like my band. I do not tell anyone that I have a band because then I feel people will not give me the credit I am due for the work I have put into weight loss. This is the mental conversation: "Oh wow she has lost so much weight!"
"Yeah, but she had that lap band thing, thats the only reason, she would still be a fatty otherwise"

But you know what I am now 85 pounds down and they are still chunky monkeys and I don't care I don't EVER want to be bck there. And you should not have to sacrifise your sanity and the happiness of your family to satisfy others peoples' view of how a person should deal with depression. Because in the end its your life and they don't have to live it so the only opinion that matters is yours

Katie J said...

Very well said my sweet!

Anonymous said...

I'm on the highest dose of Wellbutrin and proud of it!!

Amen, Sisters!!

Barbara said...

um Draz.. let me just add to the rant.. I too thought I had my shit together. .no no.. I did have my shit together and all of my endorphines were chugging along great.. and then one day, driving home from a week long business trip my husband tells me he has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and has probably 3 to 5 years to live.. ok, that's bad forward 10 days in the ICU, priest giving last rites and the doctor telling me to gather the family for the good bye.. can you say shock... and when it really hit me I went spiral.. I mean into a deep depression (AND ATE) and if it weren't for those depression meds.. I probably would not be around, because I simply did not want to live anymore... so anyone who judges anyone else is a moron.... don't judge unless you BEEN THERE DONE THAT!!.. take that you creeps that upset Draz!!!

Alexis said...

You got tons of support coming from me! I was on meds for about 2 years during a really difficult time. It's an issue where its to each his own. What may work for one person, may not work for another and it's sad that people will judge instead of just accepting someone's decision either way.

I didn't feel that you were preachy at all. You are always so great about expressing your opinions.

amandakiska said...

Amen, Sister!

kagead said...

And that's the reason I will never pay money to see a Tom Cruise movie ever again.

If you have an illness (mental, physical, whatever,) and you are lucky enough to have access to something that will HELP you manage it, why on EARTH should anyone hesitate to take it???? Even more, why on EARTH someone feels entitled enough to JUDGE someone for it is entirely beyond me.

Maybe I'm naive, but MYOFB (the F is mine, and you can guess what it stands for) and I'll mind mine, thank you very much.

Keep on keepin' on Drazil. From this girl's perspective, you are perfect just the way you are.

Corletta said...

Look what you've I gotta go find those people who were being mean :) I'll tell a Christian and as a therapist, I have learned QUICKLY that NONE of us should ever judge those around us. Yes, people make decisions for themselves that we might not have made for them, but it's their life. So...know that I don't judge you for ever taking medication that you feel is/was necessary. I do see a lot of people that are over medicated; however, I have listened to the stories of so many who desperately want to be different, but, with all their efforts, can't shake it. I always tell me clients, "Medication will never fix your problems. However, the right medication can help you reach a steady/healthy state that will enable you to live life. It's funny that you being this topic up. I have thought about being a psychiatrist as well as a therapist. There are WAY to many doctors that DO NOT EVEN listen to patients to know what the heck medication is needed for. UGH...don't get me on that soap box :) I love that you are bold. Thanks for sharing your story!!! As always...your blog is a PLEASURE to read!!!

Kristin said...

I think people too often come at this topic from the perspective that feelings are feelings and a person actually can just snap out of it. That's completely wrong.

In most cases of severe depression or mental illness, it's not subjective - a chemical imbalance causes the symptoms.

Telling someone with depression to suck it up and deal is like telling a diabetic that taking insulin is a sign of weakness. Absolutely ridiculous.

workinprogress said...

Standing ovation from me!!!!

Anonymous said...

Several of my friends suffer from clinical depression. My older brother is bipolar as is another friend of mine. My father is bipolar, extremely so. Every woman my younger brother has dated has had an eating disorder. There is no shame in meds. Some people can't function without them. Only you can make the judgment on whether you need them.

That being said I also believe that meds need more care and oversight then they are given. Someone I know was diagnosed with schizophrenia and medicated, then a later doctor added a diagnosis of bipolar and medicated for that, then another doctor diagnosed her with a dissociative disorder and medicated her for that. She wound up nutso on the meds, with an ectopic pregnancy since they didn't tell her that the combo of meds she was on cancelled her birth control and with decreased liver function since a coupe of the meds she was on should never be taken in combination.

Now, two years later she is off all meds except for an anti-depressant and is dealing pretty well. In my opinion therapy should always go hand in hand with meds. Particularly in the beginning. After a few years maybe you can slack off on the therapy, but I think that kind of close monitoring is helpful with meds since new ones come out every year.

We need to remove the social stigma that goes into taking psych drugs, cuz the bottom line is that if it makes it so you can get through your day then it is a miracle in so far as I am concerned. My father chooses not to medicate his problem so he tells lies that he believes. He has a problem that is so intense that I had to acknowledge that when he lied to me, he wasn't lying to me, it was actually the truth as he remembered it at the moment. Full on hallucinations that become his memories. His disorder has caused him to become an alcoholic drug user. At the end of the day I definitely consider Lithium to be the lesser evil. And frankly, I wish he would medicate himself and try therapy because then we might be able to rebuild a relationship. As it stands we do not talk...

Anyone that makes you feel bad about taking meds is an ass and you should tell them that all prescription meds can be substituted with exercise so the next time they get prescribed something, don't fill it, just spend an extra couple hours at the gym. They'll feel better in no time. At least until their abscess bursts or they stroke out...

SoyMamiYMas said...

I already hijacked and ranted on JBS's post the other day, so all I will say now here, Draz, is: Thank you, thank you, thank you for saying this, and for saying it so well.

And your readers? Just AWEsome.

Sandy Lee said...

All I have to say is without Wellbutrin and a couple of other anti's I wouldn't be here. Maybe these people should be telling diabetics to stop taking insulin. Sometimes you just can't change ignorance. And I would like to repeat exactly what Band-Babe posted yesterday. She said it so well (if only we could understand it!). At least it gave me a laugh.

*~D~* said...

I have been there and am there, too. Cymbalta is literally my lifesaver! When I decided to have Lap-Band surgery, I specifically asked about my medication because if I had to quit taking it...then I'd rather be fat, TYVM!

Cat said...

I've never understood someone who has not been in a situation that decides that it's wrong or bad for someone else to do something to help themselves. I guess I would liken it to telling someone with a broken leg to walk it off. Ain't going to work there, and depression, bipolar, what have you, doesn't get better by itself as a rule, either!

You take care of you, and the judgy ones can go take a flyin' leap! Pbbbt.


Cindylew said...

I'm so with you on this Tootsie Roll...yes I just called you a pet name...I have a 7 year old nephew with Autism and I can't imagine what his life would be like without the help of medication.

Sam said...

I have been there myself. Well said Drazil, no one could have said it better.

Southern Belle said...

All I can say is that I totally agree with you. Depression is a chemical imbalance that needs to be treated. Period, end of story. Anyone that says otherwise has never seen the disease in action.

Liss said...

Oh sweet *hugs* My Paxil keeps me alive and I know it. I had some mild PPD after my first child and then I went off of of the meds during my pregnancy with my second (well, I switched meds, but... They did NOTHING) and then realized I was suicidal when my son was about 5 months old. You better believe I called my doc and was put back on the good stuff immediately. People who believe drugs are unnecessary have just never been there and that they feel compelled to open their mouths on the subject just makes them need to be slapped.

Dinnerland said...

I agree: psychotropic meds are a godsend and a saving grace for many, myself included.
It will be a fine day when the stigma of mental illness is lifted in our society-- it may never be.
That said: I would endorse the concept that too many anti-depressants are 'just prescribed' by general practitioners. These are serious medications and not happy pills. But we all already know that. Just sayin!

Sherry said...

Hey Draz. Really interesting post. Do you read I think you would love her. She's touched on this a few times in her blog and it always makes me think.

I suffered from PPD after my daughter was born and seriously don't know what I would have done without the medication. I'm happy to say I'm off of the meds now but never will I underestimate their power in helping those who can't help themselves. There is no shame in getting help with medication.

I would like to say I could have gotten better without them but I seriously don't think it would have happened. Anyway, thanks for the post.

Tina said...

Wow you and the comments said it all..I just wated to chime in with my support annd a ditto to each and every bit of it all. We are all complicated human beings and depression and other mental illnesses are full of stigmas that create a cycle of judgment from others that is just plain ill-informed and wrong. I think some of this parallels the issues involved with obesity-a complicated balance between the physical and the emotional that no one yet understands and are likely different for each and every one of us.


Results Not Typical Girl said...

comment at our family thanksgiving meals: "please pass the prozac". bury me with my bottle. i am not ashamed. great post!

Bonnie said...

Usually I don't comment on your posts because by the time I read them everyone has already said what I would write and I have nothing original to add. Somehow I missed this post, but noticed a lot of people saying on their BYOC that it was their favorite. My husband was ready to leave me and our 2 children for another woman. He was miserable and felt that this person would make him happy. I knew that he was going through a depression - too many signs to list - and thank God he agreed to go on medication. 6 weeks later he was a new person and 9 years later we are still together. I owe Wellbutrin my marriage (and a lot of forgiveness on my part, but I'm glad I forgave).

Anonymous said...

This is late but I wanted to say thank you for writing about this subject. I'm a pastor and I take Lexapro. Sad to say that there are a few members of my congregation that would not respond well if they knew I was on an antidepressant. Oh well - it's a necessary part of my life right now. Things got crazy and busy last summer and I forgot to get it refilled so I went without it for about four days. Didn't realize I was acting differently until a friend called me on it and said "GO GET YOUR REFILL!" (lovingly, of course!)
Bless you for your honesty and for being so open. You never know who you may be helping!

Anonymous said...

anyone who doesn't agree with meds hasn't had thier child (as young as 4) tell them, "life isn't worth living, i wish i were dead."
or have thier cousin at 19 step in front of a train because he went off of his meds to see if he would be ok. (he had a Dr. appointment two days later to get back on them...instead, we attended his funeral)
if it's not for them, great, i hope they never REALLY need it...for those that do, thank GOD it's there!!