Monday, March 2, 2015

Antidepssants Saved My Life but Overused

At one time in my life, I needed pills to help me make it through my day.  I'm not as much a proponent of antidepressants as I once was, but I still see there need.  Of course, I realize that taking antidepressants without doing the hard work in life is like using a paper cup to bail water from a sinking row boat.

Antidepressants saved my life.  Without them, I'm not sure I would have made it this far in life.  The first time I started on them, I could not even function.  I couldn't even bring myself to walk out my door or get up from my hiding place on the couch.  I was shaking and having anxiety attacks.  I was not the least bit focused on anything in my day.  I would collapse at the first sign of any moment where stress was present.

Years had passed and while I had been off of antidepressants for some time, I began to go through the next phase of my healing journey.  Unfortunately, this part left me for clinging to the smallest thread of life in my day.  The nightmares were horror.  The participation in life was without feeling and emotion.  I longed for my life to end.  I actively looked for a way to kill myself every day.

I would walk out in front of the trucks at the company I worked in.  I worked close to where many trucks would drive by in a day and I would try to time myself so that I would walk out in front of them.  Time and time again, I was unsuccessful.  I grew angry that I couldn't kill myself.  I did not want to be part of this world.  I did not want to live.  I drove erratically in my vehicle trying to put myself in a situation where I would crash my car and die.

Fortunately, I was smart enough to seek out help.  The therapist that I worked with helped me get on antidepressants so that I could at least begin to get my life under control.  The pills gave me the ability to cope and begin to function in a basic way in my day.  I still faced the horrors and the nightmares and the memories and all of these things were so very intense.

According to Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk in his book, The Body Keeps The Score, in 2008 Medicaid spent $3.6 billion on anti-psychotic medications up from $1.65 billion in 1999.  As Dr. Van der Kolk discusses, if antidepressants were solving our issues, things would be much different in our world.

You cannot just take antidepressants for the rest of your life and expect your life to heal.  Yes, they can help save your life like they have mine, but you've got to do the heavy lifting in life and find the courage to go in and deal with what life has given to you.  If you're not careful, antidepressants can actually hold you back from healing your life.

We all have so much more that we are capable of and if we give our power over to a substance that masks what is going on deep inside, we have prevented true healing from taking place.  I'm not saying, don't take antidepressants.  I'm not telling you to stop taking antidepressants.  That is not what this discussion is about and I'm not a medical provider.

Instead, I'm challenging you to not lock into the mindset of current medical paradigms and see antidepressants as the cure-all and end-all.  I'm challenging you to go in and do that difficult work which requires great courage.

Yes, I know it isn't easy.  I know if you have been dealt a horrible hand in life, that its hard to get up in the morning and do what's necessary to survive and thrive.  However, when you've been given that horrible hand in life, you are also given an opportunity to impact the lives of others and the world in ways that may be barely imaginable.

I know without a doubt that antidepressants saved my life, but I can also see how they are over used in our society.  We must all strive for more than we are today.  We must all look inward and touch the depths of our own sorrows, even if it is as hard as hell to do.  I speak from firsthand experience because I know what it is like to live through hell and I know how hard it is to heal from that.

I also know that because of the hell I have lived through that life is now giving me so much more than I ever believed was possible.  I'm seeing just how much impact I am having on the world around me and most likely that will intensify as the days progress.  The world needs those that have been hurt, because it is through the hurt and pain, that we will help the world to heal.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2/14/15 by Don Shetterly

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