Monday, December 17, 2012

28 days of keeping it real 2.0

First, thanks to all of you that have commented and/or messaged me- I will try to keep responding promptly with my responses!

I just finished watching the news, which included coverage of the memorial services taking place for the Sandy Hook Elementary victims. Like everyone else, my heart breaks for the families affected. Frighteningly,  however, the news coverage also included a segment showing how busy gun stores have been in and around San Diego (and the US) since Friday's mass-shooting. In fact, some shops are reporting 20-year highs in their sales. I am astounded to hear the gun advocates saying that this would have never happened if teachers were armed.

Again, no one is talking about mental health. Instead of trying to stop a shooter seconds before he kills strangers, what about trying to teach him to express his feelings years earlier in life? And how to experience failure and pain, without violence? What about if Adam Lanza or James Holmes or any of the other mass-shooting perpetrators, had of sought out and gotten  mental health care? And why isn't anyone talking about this???

Well, I certainly have plenty of experience in this arena, and tonight will discuss my love/hate relationship with prescription drugs.

I've taken various cocktails of anti-depressants and SSRIs on and off for the better part of 20-years. Sometimes I hate them. I feel weak and powerless and like a whiner. I feel like I should be able to suck it up. I can never skip a dose, and am quickly reminded with violently illness, if I do forget. Alternatively, I recently mixed up pills and accidentally overdosed. I was fine, but terrified, and had to explain to by doctor why I was seeing dragons.

These are serious mind and body altering drugs. Not solutions to problems or available for a little pick-me-up.

Yet, when my old friend depression rears its horrible familiar head, I am reminded of how my quality of life is significantly improved by those little pills. Overwhelming heaviness, grief, despair, and crippling sadness are not fun, as you may well know. And I will choose pills over the dark clouds every single time. Guaranteed.

But what would I (and millions of others) have done a hundred years ago? Drugs for, and even recognition of depression or other mental illness, are relatively new phenomena. Would I have been able to suck it up and cope if I were born in 1878, rather than 1978?

I don't know the answer to that. However, my great grandmother, who was born in 1898, was also plagued with mental illness. She was checked into an "insane asylum" when she was 39-years-old, and died less than a week later, of unexplained causes.

Perhaps without meds, exercise, and talk therapy (which I will detail at a later date), I would turn to alcohol, or street drugs, or anger, or abuse, or death, or violence, as our society is all to familiar.

But, I don't. And the vast majority of my life is full of joy and love and happiness. And now, transparency.

Much virtual love,


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