So my psychiatrist was going to take me off this one med that wasn’t working and put me on a different medication for anxiety and nervous system over-activation. At first I wanted it because I just wanted the damn struggle to die violently. We were all good, but then I asked her the little question of “can I drink alcohol” which apparently I couldn’t. We had this exchange where I was like, “but I want to party. I want to party and take psychedelics like a right delinquent!” She’s all “well that doesn’t sound healthy, Anya. You should think about your future and prioritize your mental health”
I didn’t respond to her because I needed a nice long hard poop-think. As I sat upon the toilet, and for the next few days, I thought and I reflected.
I do have these issues: I have this high level of tension and startle-ability, I worry and worry, and frequently have self-esteem issues and am often so far in my own head that all I can see around me is depressing and hopeless gray. I bite my nails and have a twitchy eyebrow (which actually is a new one for me), and it has been my dream to just be a relaxed person who lives life easily.
As I wandered and pondered and pooped and stared vacantly out of windows and wrote emotional poetry full of suffering, I began to come upon a truth in my soul-est of souls, in the aortas of my heart.
Medication, as all of gods conceptual creatures, is a blessing but also it carries its own implicit philosophy. Now, this doesn’t include those who have truly debilitating mental illnesses like OCD or bipolar, but for the rest of us here is the case. Medication can be incredibly helpful. It can vastly improve the quality of life for us who suffer from other mental struggles. When used well and within the confines of reasonability it can be a helpful temporary assuage-all to our sleepless nights, and other symptoms. It can be a little help on the side of life to help enhance the life and provide alleviation of suffering so that we can get our feet on the ground.
However, like all of gods conceptual creatures, it is also a double-edged sword and there is a fine line between when medications are supplements to life, and when life is dictated by medication. Although there is nothing morally wrong with medication, there are dangers when a medicated person begins to find themselves unawares in these deep, uncertain waters.
At some point medication can begin to take over the psyche, and a body can become consumed by the problematizing of their own mental selves. They have, unknowingly, fallen in love with the idea of a magic pill that solves their pain and suffering. A quick, instant fix that allows them to live the lives they dream of living. And then, along comes the insidious belief that that life is inaccessible to them without that medication, that the suffering can be alleviated in no other way. Maybe their hypochondriac tendencies work against them here in a majestic irony. Subtly, they have found themselves made victims in their own mind and their desperation for the instant fix. Although this is understandable given the magnitude and long tiresome road of their struggling, it begins to trump their faith in the slower, longer-term solutions. They may wonder if they could even make do in the short-term anymore. They feel very alone and very hopeless, overwhelmed by their struggles.
At this point of darkness, it is easy for things to become obscured, and the dream of the fairy godmothers wand appearing to make them glamorous for the ball, has left them sitting in that darkness, waiting. It takes some reminder, perhaps when the medication makes demands of its own that a person didn’t anticipate, or side effects that lead people to misspell words all the time, that undercut that beautiful dream.
At some point, it too, like all of gods conceptual creatures, falls short of human idealism. We wake up back to the REAL WORLD: where nothing is without its faults, shortcuts are bandaid solutions, learning is piecemeal, and big struggles take long struggling to overcome and heal from. Pills are neither a substitute for people, vulnerability, nor connection and it behoves us to not deny ourselves the little things and liberties that make us feel human. When we find ourselves slipping over this line, it may be time to reconsider and step back and embrace the hardships and joys and ups and downs and little victories and learnings of life.
In conclusion, medication is not “bad”, it can be a valuable tool, and no matter what people decide to do for themselves, they should be able to make their own decision without judgements. In fact I will continue to use the other medications that I am on, that don’t push me across that line. However, I don’t want to walk myself over into that space, and that is why I am drawing the line here.