Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pills

Depression and OCD run in my family. So does high blood pressure and strokes. So when life got too stressful with my worry over feeding and clothing my family, I sought medical advice - early Fall. I was prescribed an anti-anxiety med, one for depression and then two for high blood pressure. I did it for my sons. I need to be around for them through college. Having to deal with a mother disabled because of a stroke is not in the cards.

I know there are some people out there who seem to think I'm taking an easy way out. But I want to educate those not in the know that it isn't the case. Taking an anti-depressant doesn't make me automatically happy or high. I still feel my emotions, the sadness, worry and pain. I just have the ability to not hyperventilate and cry hysterically. The medication helps keep my emotions in check but it doesn't magically make everything better. These drugs aren't taken for recreation. They are being taken to keep my heart pumping normally and to help me get through my days on a more even keel.

I was doing pretty well on my own before my divorce and having to sell my home. Those two events seemed to do me in - the grief I felt was overwhelming and actually included internal physical pain. It's funny to live in a society that has medications to really assist people in need with their emotional issues. Yet at the same time there continues to be stigma toward the people taking medications - as though something is wrong with us because we can't handle life on our own.

For me, the benefits of trying to take care of and manage my emotional health are worth any of the stigma that is directed my way. I have an obligation to be there for my sons, in as healthy a way as possible. I don't feel I have a choice at this point.

10 comments:

  1. You are not alone.. You have your priorities in the right place.

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  2. Taking medication is not a weakness -- it shows strength in recognizing that there is something physiologically going on and we need help with it. Unfortunately society does put a stigma on it, but I don't let it bother me anymore. I too take an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety medicine to get me through the days because I know I need it. I am not ashamed! There are too many stressors in my life and this helps me cope. No it doesn't take away everything, but I wouldn't want to be in a zombie state. It just helps to calm things down so I can deal with challenges at least a little better.

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  3. P.S. Congratulations on your Blog Award -- you deserve it!!!!

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  4. You're right. You do not have a choice. And neither did I.
    Although I am petite, fit and play tennis 3 times a week, my cholesterol rose over 100 points in less than one year ..... and this was before Jim died. I'd always had an average count. But in one year .... bam. It's completely hereditary and I am now required to take meds for it. For the rest of my life.
    After Jim died it only took 3 months or so for me, and my doctor to realize that I needed meds for depression. In a very bad way. We've tried weaning me off of them a few times over the last 3 years, but the results have been the same .... disastrous. The chemicals in my brain were changed by the physical effects of grief. They will never be the same and I will take these meds, along with the ones to keep my cholesterol, to keep my body .... my entire body, in check. It's not an emotional or a mental issue ..... it's a physical one. And yes, there are many people out there who would argue against that. I consider them to be ignorant of the proven facts of the physical impact that grief, intense, painful, heart breaking grief has on a body. I also consider them to be very, very lucky. For now.
    I'm glad you have a doctor who knows the facts .... and cares for his/her patients.

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  5. You are definitely not alone and I absolutely support your decision. I made a similar one when I went thru a divorce and lost custody of my child. Grief and struggling with all the ramifications and issues you are dealing with take its toll. You are taking good care of yourself and your children by choosing to get some help during this difficult time.
    karen

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  6. agree on meds but don't forget that exercise can definitely help also

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  7. You go girl!!!! You have a new friend here in Canada standing behind you!

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  8. I have been on medication since a few months before my husband died. I don't see that as any different . than taking my meds for cholestrol. The anti-anxiety medication didn't take away my grief but made it easier for me to stay on an even keel. I'm sure I would have fallen apart without it.

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  9. Everyone - Thank you so much for your positive support and comments. I am glad to know I am not the only one who ended up on meds after experiencing tragedy, grief and loss. Most people do not know that the brain does alter itself chemically due to grief/stress. I am thankful that there are medications out there to help. It has not been an easy decision and one that I looked into very seriously. Exercise is helpful and I do exercise almost every day - but that and a good diet weren't enough. Too much grief in too short a time and the old genes took over.

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  10. The body can alter itself completely. Not just the brain. Autoimmune disorders can be triggered and it's no fun. The immune system sticks into a fighting mode and then begins to attack your own body, muscles, joints, organs, eyes, and more. So, yes you are doing the right thing taking care of yourself now.

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