A few months ago I was at a conference where a psychologist was speaking about standardised treatment for mental and emotional trauma. The present norm in such cases is using a combination of medication and a basic therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to attempt to restore the sufferer to the state they were in prior to the trauma.
This threw me somewhat as after any major incidents in life one changes and I would have thought it was counterproductive to deny this.
I chatted to the speaker after his presentation and as he had liased a lot with the government on various mental health related subjects I queried him about something which had been bothering me for some time.
I’d noticed that near everyone I know (predominantly menopausal women but also men and several very young people) was on antidepressants, specifically citalopram.
Now I had mused how odd that seemed, given the individual nature of all our depressions/anxiety related illness’, but reconciled to citalopram being the ‘in’ drug of the moment.
Another thing that I had noticed was that some of my friends who have more serious forms of psychological illness were being offered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Whilst CBT does have validity of course, and admittedly my opinions are those of a layman with a long history of mental health related ‘issues’, but offering someone who is contemplating suicide to go on a waiting list for CBT, seems a bit lack lustre.
So I asked this psychologist, do governments and health care systems and perhaps even pharmaceutical companies have a standardised joint plan of how to treat and drug the population?
He simply said, yes.
I’ve periodically taken anti depressants for years for compulsive obsessive behaviours, anxieties, depressions and mania. I hate being on drugs and manage to stay off medication for years at a time, but life is often a struggle and I use every coping mechanism in my arsenal to survive.
Physical problems such as Graves’ disease can exacerbate my manias, and sometimes I simply snap and am lucky enough to have an awareness that says.. get help…now!
I’ve been on this particular course of medication for two years and recently had my regular physical checks and scans at the hospital. I was chatting with my practice nurse about the unexplained steady weight loss I’ve had recently. My nurse has been working with me for nearly ten years and always thought that I had the most awareness of my body of any patient that she had come across, asked me if I thought that my thyroid could be malfunctioning again. The thing is, I didn’t know. The anti depressants have dislocated me from my madness but also from my self awareness.
Now this situation unnerved me and made me very uncomfortable with my medication.
I’m not sure whether to risk coming off the pills to experience awareness of all aspects of life, misery and mania included, and to also be aware of my body and what’s happening within it, or to stay medicated, comfortable and sometimes even happy.
I also need to bear in mind that one of the symptoms of depression is the sufferer adjusting their own medication. The alternative to this is handing over responsibility of my well being to the medical profession, a field which, as indicated above, isn’t entirely altruistic.
As always, I’ll go with the change, the risk and what I hope, is the progression.