What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “mental disorder”?
I think for a lot of people it’s sequentially “medication”.
Let’s talk about that.
I haven’t kept it secret that the field I am going into, the field of psychiatry, is very inadequate at keeping track of who they medicate, why they medicate them, and yet is very adequate at hiding research results of medication. I haven’t kept it secret that there are lots of pill pushing physicians and pill pushing pharmaceutical companies. Let’s put it all on the table and be honest about it: medicine is a business. It’s not about you, it’s not about your health, it’s about how much money they can make off your health.
That doesn’t make medication any less important. That doesn’t make your health any less important. And although I stopped medication years ago, it doesn’t defeat the fact that I realize how much harder I’m making it on myself.
So every once in a while the thought slips into my mind: see a psychiatrist. Talk to them. See what they recommend. You have the smarts to tell them they’re being ignorant if you feel they’re being ignorant.
Then I think about everyone who has had the displeasure of being stuck in “the cycle”. We all know what the cycle is:
- Try medication.
- Hate side effects.
- Try different medication
- Doesn’t work.
- Try different medication.
- Hate side effects
- Doctor gives another medication to combat first medication side effects.
- New side effects. New Health problem
- Two new medications.
- Cocktail of pills at the end of the day.
Then there are people who get stuck in the “secondary cycle”:
- Find good medication
- Develop tolerance
- Up dosage
- Doesn’t work
- Coming down off medication is too hard
- Stays on medication.
There are about fifty other common cycles we could discuss here.
It’s hard for me to sacrifice my personal beliefs. I am not one to readily put a man-made product in my body. It doesn’t react well with me, it feels wrong, it’s foreign, it’s a form of control. . .
And yet, here I am contemplating it once more.
I think this is common for many of us who struggle. We teeter between a variable amount of medicinal release and a variable amount of “I can handle this”. The result:
But then I think of the cycle I currently live in.
- A few good days.
- Heavy anxiety
- Mood swings
- Suicidal ideation
- self harm
- A few good days.
“The other Cycle”.
This alter of mine ( I like to consider it as such) is, simply put, a beast. Teflon strong. Impenetrable.
Were I to live a life inside of my room six days out of the week with no threat of ever having to drift from routine, with no threat of ever having to learn new skills or meet new people, I could manage these things. But that’s not a life I want myself to live, that’s a life my alter prefer I live.
I feel this is something that is often common with some people who struggle. It’s easier not to tempt our comfort zone with abandonment. It’s easier to be in our heads and know where we stand. It’s easier to watch the world carry on than to even think of interacting with it on an on-going basis.
Tomorrow I start the week long training course for the counseling position I work. They do it every year and you need to attend at least 4.5 days out of the 5. Each day is 7.5 hours and although I know I am surrounded with people like me, I know my trust issues will get in the way of me connecting with them the way they will try and connect with me. I don’t believe their eyes, their expressions, their words, their body language, none of it. It’s as if they’re impostors, mimicking human beings in an effort to mock me.
Today I became much more aware of my hoarding issues. I’m one to buy things online that I only use a few times, then set it off to collect dust. I keep old papers from years before, and the majority of the time my floor, my desk, my dresser, and bed-side furniture are overflowing with things to the point where you can barely see floor or desk top. And when it comes to “clean”, as I’ve had to do partially today because an electrician is coming tomorrow and the spark plug box is in my closet, I shut down.
Every step someone makes near or in my room, I snap at them. Every paper touched, even torn ones, I have to read and touch to make sure I don’t want to keep it. I hold onto the majority of things, but I have the ability to toss some things if they are absolutely useless. I’ve been worse.
And when I finally see things starting to clear up, I panic. My sensitivities skyrocket, just the simple sound of paper crumpling or the movement of someone’s arm passing by me to pick up something sends me into a rage. I just want everything and everyone to stand still, shut up, and let me think in silence.
The whole process has exhausted me even more. And as usual, I don’t have anyone willing to talk to me about it, nor do I feel like bothering anyone at 11:30 at night.
So I think about medication. I think about how it would dull some of the anxiety and paranoia, how it would blunt some of the moods as well. I think about how it might help me think clearer, get rid of some of the miscellaneous thoughts clouding up my vision and preventing me from smoothly writing this post right now. It might even ward off some of the depression.
There is a possibility I could live easier than I am.
I enjoy who I am. I love my personality, I love the quirks of my day. I love seeing the world in a different light and honestly I love being suspicious of every one and everything. Why would I want that defense dulled? I love living in fantasy. I love having overloads of ideas and shocking people.
But it all comes with a price.
I don’t remember a moment from the time I was aware of myself consciously where I wasn’t living in a fantasy world, where I wasn’t in my own head, where I wasn’t anxious about every living and non-living thing. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to not have that.
And I think that’s what attracts many of us to medication when we first hear about it: the prospects of living as close to a societal “normal” as possible. Because the concept of normal is quite attractive. The concept of relief is quite attractive. The concept of not being lost within your struggles or your disorders is quite attractive.
I don’t know what I will do. A psychiatrist is appealing, but expensive.
I will not go to another physician for my mental health, for Gods sake that’s a nightmare and pointless.
Perhaps I will just go in for a consultation. Perhaps I will talk about my options and ask the right questions. Perhaps I will make them tell me what they don’t tell the average person because the average person doesn’t ask.
It doesn’t hurt to try yet again, does it?