Although I don’t write creatively anymore, I still think like a writer–all that formal training is still deeply embedded. Narratives still mean a lot to me, and lately I’m confused about my narrative about meds.
At first I believed the narrative psychiatry was selling: “just take the meds and you’ll be better.” Even when it turned into, “It may take a while to find the right cocktail, but then you’ll be better,” I still swallowed it. Even when I gained weight, slept all sat, couldn’t think straight, couldn’t hold a pencil…I still believed what they told me. I needed to believe there was hope, even if it came in a pill bottle. No one told me there was any other kind of hope.
In college, I came across the anti-psychiatry movement. After a number of hospitalizations that only further traumatized me and a bunch of meds that didn’t work, I was angry. I wanted somebody to blame for why I felt so terrible all the time. I didn’t consciously remember the abuse from my father, so I blamed it all on the abuse from psychiatry. I was sure the meds were making me crazier, so I took myself off them. Nothing terrible happened, which was further proof to me that psychiatry was a crock of lies.
A few years later, I calmed down some–mostly, I think, as the result of dealing with my father’s abuse. I tried meds again, even though they didn’t help. I got so desperate I even had 29 ECTs, which helped only temporarily. But I was working with treaters who were respectful of me and my desire to be on as few meds as possible. Eventually I was only being medicated for my sleep disorders.
Then Menninger. That was a nightmare; my psychiatrist was a control freak who refused to treat me like an adult human being. She took me off one of my sleep meds without telling me and cut the dosage of another by half. Then she put me on lexapro, which caused urinary retention. She told me Lexapro couldn’t cause that, and the internist told menu inability to pee wasn’t negatively affecting my quality of life. My psychiatrist pushed and pushed and pushed to get me to take antipsychotics despite a total lack of psychotic symptoms. I got angry at psychiatry again.
I was lucky to find Windhorse because they’re not big on meds. Since I’ve been here, we’ve been trying to reduce my meds. I was really happy about that…until this recent depression. I’m now on THREE antidepressants, which I hate. But since my psychiatrist upped the nortriptyline earlier this week, I have been feeling a bit better. Not a lot, but some. I don’t want that to be the answer. I mean, how can I be mad at big pharma and mainstream psychiatry if meds really do help me and I really do need to take them for the rest of my life?
I don’t know how to make sense of this. I want to attribute it to anything but meds, but I can’t find another answer.