This is going to be a tough one.
I have a strong aversion to anything I have no control over. It started when I realized that I was very much out of control of my life, quickly spiralling away from me. While being hospitalised for the first time, I was handed a small cup with two pink pills. I had no idea what they were for or even what they were. The nurse mentioned something about a sleeping aid, but I doubted her entirely. I wasn’t sleeping there anyway, I told myself, they weren’t going to make me. I learned later on, as my psychiatrist prescribed me Quetiapine, that the nurse had given me 100mg of Quetiapine to sleep as being I uprooted and forced to sleep in a hospital behind iron bars caused insomnia. It was then I promised myself that it would never happen again, I would make my own choices.
This caused a lot of unrest between my family and me. I was resistant and at time belligerent. This trend continued even after I moved out of my house and moved in with my wife. We saw things differently. She, with her own brush-ins with mental illness, found it difficult to support me when I no longer want to take a medication. You must understand; being forced to take medication, not always physically forced but forced nonetheless, causes a great deal of uncertainty and anger.
It was only until I met a psychiatrist that took me and my qualms seriously that I started to see things through others perspective and put together my thoughts so that I could argue in favour of my case. I understand that we want nothing more than the happiness of our loved ones.
Even those who have lived experiences will argue with me.
“You are reinforcing stigma.” I would argue that no, I am not reinforcing the stigma of mental illness and medication. I am saying that for me I would rather advocate for autonomy than for the assumption that medication cures. In fact, I believe that I am fighting against the stigma that medication cures and that the side effects must be tolerated.
“Medication is part of the recovery path.” That may be true. But I personally do not believe in this notion of recovery. I believe that we must accept ourselves as we are in hopes of knowing where the “illness” begins and where “we” end. We must accept ourselves to find our own path. We must accept ourselves so that we can advocate for ourselves. The notion of recovery helps many people or many different paths, just not me and not mine.
“Make sure, if you haven’t already, to take your medication!” The worse is when someone reminds me to not forget to take my medication on social media. It strikes a chord with me, and not in a good way. I feel as though that in our own community medication is seen as a necessary evil. It may be for some and their ideal functionality but for someone who does take medication, I also understand why someone would not.
I believe in psychiatry and psychology. I believe it should be considered as health care. However, as it is, psychiatry is no perfect science. It is based on the idea that mental illness is revolved around neurochemistry. There is a great detach between neurochemistry, physiology in general and psychology. So when someone comes to me with a diagnosis and says that they cannot take medication, I feel their plight on a deep level.
No one wants to gain 100lb in 10 months. No one wants to drool or twitch uncontrollably. No one wants to fall down 2 flights of stairs because you were too dizzy. No one wants to sleep 12 hours in a row and be shocked that they missed four alarms. But that’s where we’re at. That’s what we get for some assistance in maintaining mood, squashing hallucinations or protecting ourselves from suicidal ideations. And what’s worse is that the medication that’s meant to remove these ailments barely work anyway.
So, I understand. I understand why someone would reject medication and psychiatry. I also understand the mother, brother, cousin, partner… who wants nothing best for their loved one. But what I don’t understand is a community that won’t acknowledge autonomy.
This was a post voted for on my Twitter @orangewallsblog! Follow me there for some zingers! LOL