Monday, 13 June 2011

We all take medication

During the time I was going through divorce proceedings, I lost count of the number of times I woke at 4am – soaked in sweat and having a panic attack.

I cannot find words to explain how traumatic the whole process was. 

But never, not even once, did I consider going to the doctor to get ‘happy pills’.

This may be to do with the fact that even as a teenager I have always been very anti drugs.  I saw at close hand the effect that they had on people I knew as a teenager.  And my sister suffered mental health problems at that time, and was put on all number of horrific drugs to try and help.  But they didn’t help.  And the reason that they didn’t help was that it transpired her issues were a result of physiological problems, not psychological ones.

These are my feelings about medication.  I would not put them on anyone else.  But I fear for those around me, who are going through problems and happily taking the pills to help them.

I fear for them because their problems have a physical cause that needs resolving.  It can’t be removed by popping Prozac. 

Just recently however, a friend stopped me in my tracks.

She had a different view.  She was not totally pro-drugs, but made the interesting point: “if we aren’t prescribed drugs, we end up self-medicating”.


I would hate to think of myself in that way.  But she did have a point.  It was a point that sunk in as I downed my fourth large glass of red wine and lit another cigarette.  My own personal self-medication….!  Not so smug now Lara!

If I’m fair, and its something I really do try hard to be, we all have to find a way through the chaos. 

Mine will never be prescription drugs – but at some point I will have to quit the cigarettes and cut down on the alcohol. 

My divorce is over.  I am starting to move forward.  I therefore feel I have to take stock – and so my resolution this month is to cut down.  Wean myself off the self-medication…

(I can’t help wondering whether it would be easier to wean myself off Prozac…  After all, you can’t just buy more in the supermarket!)

Wish me luck!

1 comment:

  1. Firstly, good luck!

    Secondly, I am not divorced so my 4am cold sweats are related to completely different things...

    Thirdly, I think your point on "happy pills" is really interesting. A few years ago one of my relatives had some issues with depression and although wasn't in good shape retained enough perspective to say this "I'm taking the pills to give me the calm to solve the underlying problem". He was using mediciation for about 3 months.

    Fourthly (sounds rubbish compared with firstly but hey) I find the concept of self medication fascinating. It was something I only saw with a reasonable degree of clarity about 5 years ago and my road to damascus moment was realising that everyone in their way self medicates. I must confess I wish mine was those people who self medicate through working out, rather than through cigarettes, chinese take away and over priced cars. A friend of mine has this notion of an anxiety "rev counter" and that on any given day your revs vary depending on the amount of "stuff" that comes up - work, family, friends, relationships, vajazzling etc. If your anxiety revs are low (and your engine is just idling) then your propensity for self medicating is low however, for each bit of "stuff" that comes up your needle jumps a number and before you know it you're at the red line and self medicating feels like the only thing likely to maintain your sanity (cue cigarettes, chinese and a trip to the dealership)

    All this by way of saying, I enjoyed your post, although not divorced you're not the only one and I honestly wish you luck in reducing your self medicating. In the meantime, do you have a light?


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