I am dreaming that Melia and I are wandering around downtown, particularly in the Armory Square section, where there are outdoor vendors. Down every little alley, in small brick courtyards and on fire escapes there are people selling hand sewn hats, bags, tops and all manner of things. They are all priced too expensively but Melia and I are having fun strolling around trying on things.
Then I wake and am in the hospital. Today is the nineteenth day. The staff and I have learned how to personalize our treatment of one another. There are things that bug me terribly—call bells may not be answered for up to twenty-five minutes—but at the same time there are little kindnesses—a nurse who isn’t assigned to me but gets me ice anyway and does it with a smile, an administrator who gives me his ID badge so I can get a proper meal in the cafeteria, an aide who stands and listens simply because I feel bad and am depressed.
What we have accomplished: my blood sugar level has been lowered by half, and both the urinary tract infections have been knocked out. What we haven’t accomplished: placement in a nursing home. What we are working on: finding PNIE treatment.
If I continue to take insulin then I will become suicidally depressed. It’s happened the previous times I’ve taken insulin; it will happen again. If I don’t take insulin then my glucose will go back up to 500+ and I will continue life as a vegetable in a nursing home bed. This is what is called being between a very big rock and a very hard place—and there is no one else in the recorded history of American humanity who ever has had this situation.
There also is no one else who has taken antidepressants for twenty-six years and then stopped. People become psychologically, if not physically, dependent on their psych meds and they simply don’t stop taking them. In my increasingly advanced years, I have become convinced that almost all diagnosed psychological disorders are the result of being taught the wrong things through bad experiences in early life and that the “cures” that the idiot psychiatrist spoke of are not through the introduction of change agents but are the result of learning.
Decades ago, a particularly wise and insightful therapist said simply, “You were taught the wrong ways; now I will teach you the right ways.” If there had been money to pay for more treatment, where might I have ended up? I had been taught to be depressed, no question about it.
Anyway, I have come to suspect that many people who attribute their wellbeing to drugs—and insist that they have to keep taking them—have, in fact, fixed themselves. I think people are learning how to make different life choices but are giving credit to pharmaceuticals instead of to themselves. The test is simple: take a two-week vacation from your drugs and see how you do. This is particularly true of depression; experts have estimated that antidepressants are no more than 30% effective.
But I digress.
Fact: people take their psych meds until they die. I did the unthinkable: I quit. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was an act of God—no question about it. Or, more correctly, it was a combined act of God and me. God kept noodging me and giving me the chance and I took it. That’s the way the God works: he extends an invitation and leaves it up to your free will as to whether you’re going to accept it or not. You work with God and he’ll work with you is the way I’ve learned it to be.
So I did the unthinkable and quit taking antidepressants. Imagine that you train a rosebush over a trellis for twenty-six years and then remove the trellis: what have you got? Does the rosebush hold its shape? Does it collapse? Does it do something in-between? Well, that’s where I’m at, only worse. This isn’t about roses and wood; this is about chemicals and the brain. This is about drugs that altered my central nervous system every day for almost half my life.
If you look up any antidepressant in the Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR) you will find that it says ‘the exact mechanism whereby this works is unknown.’ Fuckin’ unknown! And we are ingesting this crap at an astounding rate.
- “Doctors wrote 254 million prescriptions for antidepressants last year,” according to National Public Radio (NPR) http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/08/06/138987152/antidepressant-use-climbs-as-primary-care-doctors-do-the-prescribing
- “Last year, antidepressants were the second most commonly prescribed medications, right after drugs to lower cholesterol,” said the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/2011/antidepressants-a-complicated-picture.shtml.
- CNN reports “’Doctors are now medicating unhappiness,’ said Dworkin. ‘Too many people take drugs when they really need to be making changes in their lives.’” http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/07/09/antidepressants/
I took drugs and now am the poster-child of antidepressants. Come and see me in my wheelchair or hospital bed, with an indwelling catheter and reliant on a machine for sleep.
But I will tell you something: I am not licked yet. I am taking insulin and in about four weeks the insulin will backfire and I will become suicidally depressed. I have a month to rescue myself and that is the question: how?
Psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology. Your emotions are connected to the central nervous system that is connected to the immune system that is connected to the hormones that are connected to your emotions.
I heard a story a long time ago. A nurse’s daughter had multiple sclerosis and was having intolerable side effects to the medications. A doctor paired the medications with pictures and the perfume of roses. The girl became conditioned so that, with roses and only one-quarter the normal dose of medication, she responded as if she’d taken the full dose of medicine.
Who was that doctor and where is he now?