It's not easy to explain how I can take antidepressant pills and yet completely distrust the psychiatric system, and yet that is where I find myself. The reason I do this is complex and probably involves more than a little self deception, coercion and fear.
To preface my essay, I am of the belief, backed up by science that antidepressants and antipsychotics are not chemical cures for any mental illness. They can be useful sleep aids, hypnotics and stimulants, but they are not anything close to resembling insulin or statins- drugs that have direct chemical therapeutic actions.
I did not take any antidepressants, unless you would count cannabis for the better part of the last 5 years. I had gone through the psychiatric system and found that taking the pills, I was worse rather than better off. The pills alternatively made me sleepy, agitated, anxious, dizzy, dumb and lazy. I was not able to deal with life or people any better, I was just more dependent on others.
I came off of the pills and although my health improved, I can't say my mental health did. It did not worsen, but I continued patterns of avoiding people and working menial jobs as well as travelling to avoid the stresses of modern life.
Very often I would find myself the subject of others disapproval of my situation. When i was homeless, I was unable to argue effectively the reason why I should not take medications, even though my reasoning(I did not want to feel worse) was sound. I was receiving help from others, so it was expected I would play the game and take medications that the doctors said were therapeutic.
I left that situation as soon as I was able to and was happy to be off of the lithium and tegretol that was making me feel ill and I travelled south on my bike and worked at an ecovillage.
Eventually, after spending a little bit too much time camping I found myself deperate and seeking help, while at the same time angry that I would have to agree to medication that I was almost positive would not help.
And so it was that I found myself jobless and while my situation was not terrible, agreeing to medications was. It is almost impossible to argue with psychiatrists in regards to medication, since they have the entirety of the medical profession behind them, while I only have my anectodotal evidence and small amount of research.
Given that the medication was a condition of treatment, I took it, but was not happy about it. The first pill made me sleep 12 hours a day. The next few gave me awful diarrhea and anxiety. Other pills killed my mind. The doctor, meanwhile ignored my pleas about wanting to change medication, insisting that the pills were helping. I found animosity and distrust growing.
The last straw, I believe was the insistence of the doctor to keep me on 9mg of invega, a medication I find useless, except to induce racing heartbeat, hunger, stupidity and sleepiness, although not in a fun way like cannabis. Given that the pills were 300$, I was recently forced to go off of them when they were not covered and the doctor did not renew my prescription.
Currently, I am not on any drugs, and this is seen as a bad thing to do, but given the refusal of the doctors to listen and work with me, I believe it is understandable. I mean who wants to take a pill that makes them continuously sick and profers no benefit? Who wants to be zombified while their dreams fade into the black?
Given the fact that I've run the gamut of most of the antidepressants and the doctor refuses to work with me on a mutually beneficial treatment plan, instead insisting on strong sedation to control all symptoms, not giving a fuck about what my dreams or desires in life may be, I don't think we would be getting anywhere anyway and until doctors realise that people with severe mental illness are people, too, people are going to continue to be "treatment resistant".
I am fairly certain that I will be coerced into taking some pill again and I am not looking forward to it, but until I am on my own medical plan and living in the forest again, it may have to be a sacrifice I am willing to make. I am not alone in my position. It sucks.
I am not sure where my life will lead and I know things are not that rosy, but I know things are at least a little bit better off of the pills than on them, and I'm really really tired and angry and I hate myself but I probably hate myself for not being able to get free of this bullshit coercive system even more.