Thursday, January 29, 2009

I Take Diet Pills, So What?

Mental health is a stigma in today's society. Perfectly understandable. In the past, someone with a mental health issue was locked away in an asylum, kept behind closed doors, sometimes written out of family histories. My own great grandmother was locked away in an institution in Tennessee in the early 1900's, and my family has yet to determine why. The thought of stringy unkempt hair, wild fits and tantrums, catatonic states, etc. come to mind.

But no longer should mental illness bring about these negative ideals. Today, most people suffer from some form and degree of mental illness. Usually depression and anxiety, and these states could be fleeting or chronic. The point of this entry is to simply state that denying a problem will not send it away.

I suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. Nothing bad about it. It is bad in the fact that sometimes I can not control my moods, but with the medications (so lovingly termed - my "diet" pills) I am on, I have more good days than bad. Because I chose to acknowledge, finally, that I had a problem. It is not normal to go for a few days without sleep, just because you feel you don't need it and you have too much to do. It is not normal to be so hopeless and upset (for no apparent reason) that you cannot force yourself from your bed and in a sense hide from the world. And it is not normal to go from one extreme to the other in a short period. But that's what I did. With a few panic attacks scattered about, just for spice and flavor.

My mother also suffers from depression. In our case, this is a hereditary problem that comes from our bodies inability to produce and absorb serotonin. Mother chose to ignore her problems until just a few years ago. As a result, my brother and I were raised by a psychotic bitch who could not control her temper, and spent days when she was not yelling or berating us, crying in her bedroom. My childhood was a time of silence and fear, and of not knowing what to expect from hour to hour. It was so great.

If she had gotten help early on, before my brother and I were born, perhaps life would have been a bit different. Perhaps my own problems would not be to the extreme that they are.

My psychiatrist recently sent me to the counseling center on campus, to talk more in depth with the psychologists they have on staff (quick lesson - psychiatrists have the drugs/ psychologists just talk to you). They feel I need one on one individual focused counseling for awhile. To help more with my mood swings, my body dismorphia, and other issues. I am complying, because maybe I will eventually be taken off the drugs I ingest daily, which can become quite expensive. And my health insurance does not cover the cost of the drugs or my visits.

Which, believe me, I find to be crap.

Mental illness is a disease just like anything else. No one thinks badly of the diabetic for taking insulin. Or those with heart problems taking blood pressure medicine. So the fact that I pop pills to keep my emotions under control should be just as acceptable.


Anonymous said...

Hear Hear!

The Demon said...

What happened to that conversation we had about keeping our emotions buried deep deep down inside?

Lenina Crowne said...

In the words of the late, great Colonel Sanders: "I'm too drunk to taste this chicken."

You use that fear. You use it and you ride it like a skeleton horse through the gates of hell!!