My Drug Dealer was a Doctor - *Warning - some content may not be suitable for all readers*
I think that I may have mentioned before that I have anxiety and ADHD. My anxiety is manageable, and I was only recently diagnosed with ADHD this past October.
When I was 15, I would go to my Doctor for an appointment and just break down. I was sad all the
fucking time, I was overwhelmed and I was having a hard time functioning with daily tasks.
Now, my Doctor knew my mom, knew the situation, and prescribed me my first anti-anxiety/depression medication; Effexor, the one she was on herself and was seeing great results. Those didn't work, because it is common sense that not everyone's biological chemistry is the same, and what works for some may not work for others... Also, perhaps my depression was circumstantial, not biological?
Did maybe taking these medications while I was still developing permanently alter the chemical composition in my brain? Why are we telling children not to smoke weed, but here take these chemicals? Honestly! As long as it is prescribed by a Doctor, who isn't trained in the psychological development and chemical composition of brain development during puberty, right? Not to mention added exposure to toxic stress, relationships, and an unhealthy living environment
So, I requested to my family doctor, that I be referred to a psychologist or a counselor. I needed someone to talk to, someone to validate my feelings and support me with everything I was going through.
The psychiatrist then upped the Effexor and added Welbutrin to the mix. Well, fuck. And fuck my brain.
Not sure who I was, how I finished high school or didn't end up dead.
I struggled with various medications, different doctors and I feel like I was playing a game of Russian roulette. Which drug are they going to plug me into next? Effexor, Welbutrin, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa are just to name a few... I didn't do street drugs, I seen what they did to my mom and I was terrified to be that person. I just stuck to prescriptions instead?
Ok, here is the thing, this is my opinion and my circumstance. These medications may save lives for some, but ruin lives for others. I don't want to take any responsibility for anyone making the conscious choice that'll effect their overall mental health. I do know that there are people with some biological circumstance, that not taking medication, is not an option. SO, let it be known that I am not against the treatment for mental illness via medication, I think there are flaws in our systems when it comes to the accessibility of it, not listening to patient feedback, and the lack of counselling services that are available to assist in making these medications successful. I hope that makes sense? If it is working for you, fuck what others think, be happy and live your life, everyone has a struggle, you take care of yours. The fuck what anyone else thinks!
Around 21, I stopped taking any kind of anti-anxiety medication. My partner at the time convinced me that it was, "all in my head" and I didn't need to take any kind of medication. So after I had my first child, and my partner was gone away for work, and I was put back on Welbutrin/Celexa to treat postpartum. It was awful. I wasn't myself, I feel like I had little to no self control. I was engaging in some reckless behavior, and I knew that this wasn't me.
It couldn't be the circumstance of raising a baby and going to school all on my own? I was made to feel like it was me, that the circumstance had nothing to do with it. Maybe some support, someone to talk to, and wouldn't need to be medicated? Regardless, I had to recollect myself and get my shit together.
I went cold turkey off of everything, which I do NOT advise anyone to do. Though after the withdraw, I was able to focus and felt better.
Fast forward to 2015, I started school and I was so overwhelmed and hyper focused that I was making myself sick. I was putting so much pressure on myself to do well and not fuck shit up. That at least twice a week I would sit in the kitchen, usually wait till the children went to bed, and just cry. Biological? Or circumstance? Nature vs nurture?
I went to my Doctor again and this time begged to be put on some sort of medication because the anxiety was so bad, I was having suicidal thoughts, no plan, just what ifs..
I was getting up at 5:30, seeing my partner out the door, get the kids' lunches ready, they got up and I got them dressed and fed. I was out the door usually by 7:30 at the latest, go to school all day. Come home around 5, usually (not always, but usually) make supper, get the kids ready for bed and tidy or clean up if I could muster the energy. If you were ever to my house, you would notice that it was far from ever being spotless at any given time.
The Doctor put me on Celexa. It was deadly, I was moody and angry. I had absolutely no patience for anything or anyone, I was miserable to everyone around me and to myself. The Doctor, this was my family Doctor, kept upping the dose in hopes that would help.
The anxiety was so bad, it was almost physically painful. At one point I remember sitting on the cold concrete floor (ok, this is very hard for me to write), my back against the washing machine, children running around upstairs, not wanting to go to bed, with a belt in my hand. I was crying so hard I could barely breathe. I slipped the belt through the loop, and put it down over my head, around my neck. (My heart is racing writing this) I pulled the belt tight so it was snug around my neck. I thought, I could do this. It would all be over. I thought of where I could hang myself. I think I was at my lowest point at that moment. I thought, I can't do this. I want to, but I can't. I loosened the belt, took it off over my head, and placed it on top of the washer. I stood up, wiped my tears, and walked up the stairs and put my children to bed.
I will never let myself spiral like that again. I went to my Doctor the next day and told her that she needed to take me off of this medication now, that I wasn't going to make it if I stayed on it. Her reply was, "What do you mean? Are you having thoughts?" I was terrified to tell her, because if she knew that I was having suicidal thoughts, what was going to happen to my kids?! She told me to stay on it and maybe talk to a counselor at the school.
So I did. My counselor said I needed a second opinion, and sent me to the school's clinic to see a Doctor who helped wean me off of the Celexa and start on another medication, Sertraline.
The sertraline, "numbed" me pretty good for the last year, until I was diagnosed with ADHD. I started medication for that and the effects of the sertraline went out the window. In January 2017,
I stopped everything again, and it has taken me about 3 months to reset my system. I keep regular counselling appointments, and I am very aware of my moods, how to feel my feelings, know what is acceptable emotionally, and what is not normal for me. Keep in mind, that I'm not a Doctor, I just know my body. My body had enough, I was essentially immobile, the anxiety was shit and it wasn't a life I wanted.
I spoke with the school's physician and she put me on a different ADHD medication and it's alright; My anxiety is manageable, I am writing again as an outlet to release any feelings that may be toxic if I hold them in. I am going to be me, and be a healthy me, inside and out.
Moral of this story here folks is that trust yourself, and your body. Be aware of what is "normal" for you and what works for you. Only you know that.
Doctors are Doctors. They are human, and they do the best with what they know.
Some Doctors, well maybe not. They are enablers. There are many people who are "treated" with medications, instead of looking to why they need to be treated, or recognize that not everyone should be treated the same.
Some people feel that the Doctor doesn't care about what they are feeling or what they are going through, that they are having pills thrown at them and pushed out the door. I felt like that too. I was enraged when they told me that there was an app for that...
It's no wonder there are people who want to live, but resort to other drugs, just to make life bearable. It is not that these (addicts) people didn't seek out help, or want help. They have felt that they COULDN'T be helped. So what they resort to is street drugs, alcohol, sex... Whatever vice they can hold onto to get through what they are going through. If they do get through it.
We can't judge these people, we can't. We don't walk in their shoes, we don't know their story, we don't live their lives. All we can do, is help the ones who want help, who are ready to be helped, and we can get after our government to make some much needed changes to our mental health system... *eye roll with no judgement*
I don't want to get political, I'm a humanitarian, I want to help people. I realize that I cannot help everyone, the father of my children and my mom, were two I couldn't. I do know that I will not stop trying, and that I will raise awareness and advocate for those who have fallen to our system. We need a system that will work on prevention, not bandaids. Sorry, best analogy I can think of right now...
Our doctors need to prescribe less, listen more, and know how to support those who need it. We need better accessibility to doctor's who specialize or are thoroughly trained in mental illness or psychiatrists available to anyone who needs their services...
We need lots of things.
What we need most though, is to be kind to each other. To not judge, but become good listeners.
I think that'll be it for today. I hope some of you can relate to this post and know you are not alone. If anything, I am right there with you.