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May 2011
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Ys [userpic]

ETA: Read the whole thing. Trust me. It's been pointed out to me that this isn't really enough context to see the whole thing he's talking about...and I don't know how to provide enough without quoting the whole damn thing anyway. So just read. It's very good and RLP's discussion of the commentary in his head is so familiar to me it's eerie.

“See, the thing is, I can’t help but think this is just a problem that I should be able to cope with. You know, like everyone else does. Taking some drug seems like the lazy way out.”

“Is that what you tell people in your church who are on medication?”


"Of course not, because you know that sometimes people have to take medicine. It's not a matter of the will or of strength. Your brain isn't secreting enough neurotransmitters. We're fortunate to live in a time when medication can help. Your grandfather didn't have this option."

He paused, then went on. “If you want to keep trying to feel better on your own, you can. I can tell you what will happen. It’s only going to get worse for you. Your children and your wife will be forced to live with a shadow of who you really are. Eventually it will become too much for you, and you’ll probably end up in a hospital like your mom. Sure you're strong and determined, probably as strong as anyone I've met, but eventually this thing will eat your lunch. And what will be the use of that? So what if you manage to hold out for another twenty years or so. You’ll only be robbing your family of what they need, which is you.”

Current Mood: impressedimpressed

Usually I agree with RLP, but I think this is bullshit. *I* don't medicate, and *I* ain't no shadow.

I'm not going to comment in his journal -- I don't want to sabotage him. But while medication may be right for many people, the above quoted paras are GARBAGE.

You know, normally I wouldn't say something like this. Probably I should just leave this alone, but right now I can't.

It's statements like this one that kept me from treating my problems for years, and helped to make my struggles so fucking difficult.

Thanks so much for your support.

Thanks so much for your support.

I care about you far too much to just let a passive-aggressive statement like that go. You know what, Deb, I do support you and I always have supported you, modulo times when we weren't in touch.

My point was and is that it's coersive statements like the one you quoted that make people who choose NOT to medicate feel like they have to be on the defensive all the damn time. Medication is a CHOICE, not something someone should be guilt-tripped into, or for that matter, out of.

I kind of expected better from you. Should I not?

See, I don't see it as a guilt trip in the slightest, due entirely to context. Sure, it would be possible to use those same words to guilt trip someone, but they were not words that RLP quoted in a vacuum. Words strong enough to be useful in difficult contexts are also dangerous weapons in other contexts, but that doesn't make them inherently wrong.

He made it pretty clear that his doctor said them in the context of trying to help him deal with those same demons I wrote about in my other post. That he was struggling with, "I should be able to just cope," and his doctor was trying to whack him upside the head with, "You have something wrong with your body, Gordon, this is not a failure of character, it's a failure of biology." I have immense respect for a doctor who's willing to do that when it's needed and do it well.

It's no different, in my mind, than explaining the likely consequences of not treating diabetes or cancer to someone who is clearly in denial about it rather than trying to make an informed decision.

I've been there. Gentle words don't work. (Neither does actual guilt, mind you...in my experience, guilt trips make it easier to resist doing what you need to do for that much longer, in fact.)

I care about you as well and I am sorry that you find this so threatening. That said, it may be my own personal bias and/or buttons speaking, but RLP's commentary felt far more personal-to-him and yours far more generalizing to me. (It's clear to me by the fact that you said, "I ain't no shadow," that you did take the doctor's words as commentary on you and your choices, and I am fairly certain, again from context, that it wasn't meant that way.)

To make it clear what I got out of your comment: "Deb, I can do it without medication, why the fuck can't you? Are you that weak?" Yes, I am aware that you didn't say anything of the sort...but I bet that anyone who struggles with these particular things would hear the same thing. Those voices are awfully loud and require so little provocation. When you've heard, "If you just tried harder," all your life, it just doesn't take much. I admit that I thought you had more context than you obviously did; I had a hard time at first believing that it could've been anything but deliberate.

As far as expecting better of me...no, you probably shouldn't. When you come into my space and invoke my demons and leave me in tears, I'm not going to react very well to that. Maybe I should be a better person than that, but I'm not. I am sincerely sorry to have disappointed you.

So if I read you right, you're opining that I had a knee-jerk reaction because I took something out of context (which you quoted that way). I often read RLP but I hadn't read this one, nor, frankly, should I have to. You quoted what you quoted and I took it at face because it was what you chose to quote.

You then took what *I* said out of context, and by that I mean the context of our friendship, i.e. knowing that I do not in fact feel the way that you were interpreting the words (and in fact, you even agree that you know this).

I may be wrong, but that's what you seem to be saying happened. I didn't invoke your demons, Deb, you did. At some point, people in your life who love you and care about you will not be able to avoid being the catalyst that does this, no matter how much they love you, because they can't know what will, in fact, trigger such an invocation. I can't be responsible for your triggers, but I will apologize anyway, because hey...it made you cry. And I didn't mean to do that. Hell, I couldn't have predicted that in a million years, or I wouldn't have done it.

If it helps, now I'm crying too.

I didn't invoke your demons, Deb, you did.

I agree and tried to make that clear. You may have been the trigger, but these are my demons. That doesn't mean I can always keep a handle on 'em.

And believe me, every spouse or spouse-equivalent I've had and most of my close friends have triggered this particular one to one extent or another.

The reason I finally got my wisdoms out was because my Tae Kwon Do instructor practically chewed me a new one for trying to just bull through the fairly significant effects I was starting to have. He interrupted the class to make me sit down (before I fell down). And then, more quietly, talked to me for a chunk of the second half of the class as I sat there. It was far, far less gentle than RLP's doctor was, but you know what? Nothing else had worked up until then.

I often read RLP but I hadn't read this one, nor, frankly, should I have to.

A) I believed that there was enough context in what I quoted (i.e. the paragraphs before the doctor's last one) to make it clear it wasn't a guilt trip on the part of the doctor. Obviously I was wrong there.

B) I assumed after your initial comment that you had, in fact, read it, given your comment about often reading RLP. This aggravated the whole 'this had to be deliberate' reaction.

I'm not trying to excuse it, just explain it.

You then took what *I* said out of context, and by that I mean the context of our friendship...

It is my experience in life that everyone has land mines. Not that that makes dealing with my own land mines any easier. (I should just cope, you know?) It's difficult even when you know that, sometimes even in retrospect, to see through all that to what the other person was really trying to say.

Again, not trying to excuse, just explain.

If it helps, now I'm crying too.

No. I did not/would not want you to cry over it. Frankly, had you not been someone I consider a friend you wouldn't have been able to trigger it to anything like this extent in the first place. Had it not been in my journal, I'd have been able to keep you from seeing it/suffering from it, at least.

I appreciate the apology, though, and I'm sorry that I upset you over all this, 'tay?

Maybe your depression is different, or not as serious, or -- like *most* people with clinical depression -- you don't entirely grasp what you're like. (I don't know you, so I have no clue.)

Don't get me wrong, I am not fond of the idea of psych meds, and I avoid them myself; I have mild depression and can treat it with exercise and St. John's Wort quite successfully. I was almost killed by two atypical anti-depressants (called neuroleptics) so I'm actually afraid of psych stuff... I generally look at the meds for others as (if nothing else) giving them the chance to heal enough that they can change things in their lives that are making them unhappy.

However, my partner *does* have clinical depression that no amount of changing diet/habits/life/jobs/relationships/etc. has been able to handle. What's described in the column is generallywhat he is like... He drags himself to work or social gatherings, where he uses all of his energy to appear okay, then he's this miserable suicidal shadow-person when he's not out putting on the act (i.e. alone or with family). It has almost completely destroyed our relationship -- and would have, if I hadn't read Sheffield's "Depression Fallout" and realized what was going on just recently. My BF couldn't understand his own behavior (that's part of major depression) so there was no way for him to tell me why he acted so strangely or was so persistently unhappy.

If you seriously think major depression doesn't make for major very unpleasant changes in people, try reading through the posts by family members at this support site:

I do hope that you have minor (or otherwise not major) depression, both for your sake and that of those around you.

- I have had severe chemical depression from infancy on.

- I am nothing like what you described (about your partner).

If you don't believe me, feel free to ask MY partner (popecrunch). Do I have issues, including social ones? Damn straight I do. I simply choose not to medicate for them. I don't look down on people who do, though I sometimes worry if medication ends up being a crutch (I worry in general, not for anyone in particular). But I also won't accept someone trying to coerce me into taking medication "because I don't know what I'm doing to my family" or some such bogus claptrap.

I think making generalizations about what works for people is the worst thing you can do when speaking about mental health, and it's that with which I have an issue in the quoted material. RLP was being guilt-tripped. Sure, maybe he's better off on medication. But it's HIS choice.

You know, that's really profound. And useful. (And might help me to remember to take my meds rather than letting my hindbrain tell me I shouldn't need them.)

I fought going on antidepressants for years, out of sheer stubborness. I saw so many people get on meds when what they really needed was therapy -- and I still believe that antidepressants are grossly, obscenely overprescribed. So, even though I've struggled with mild to moderate depression all my life and knew, really, that they might help me, I fought it. I also didn't want to get on the merry-go-round of going on and off different drugs to find the right one, which I'd seen other people go through.

But things got so horribly bad when I started this new, very stressful job. I was anxious, knotted up all the time. I cried pretty much every day. I hated my life, almost everything about it. I started contemplating suicide, fleetingly. My husband was amazingly supportive, now that I look back on how I was. Reluctantly, I accepted the meds. And miraculously they did everything they were supposed to do -- the anxiety and the depression went away and I didn't get zoned-out or zombified ... I felt normal. Well, ish. I'm not sure I know what normal is, really. But I wasn't crying all the time.

Then one day my husband said to me, "Have I told you how glad I am you decided to take the Crazy Pills?" And I suddenly realized how selfish I'd been to make him live with me like that, witholding everyhting good about myself and just giving him the pain. All because I was too stubborn to take some pills.

All of which is a long-winded way of saying .... yeah. What he said.

I agree, meds can be a real lifesaver for those that need it.

I have to recommend the same book to you that I have been to others this week, because it literally saved my relationship by helping both me (mild treated depression) and my partner (major untreated D) understand what he has been going through. Neither of us had any idea how the depression was really affecting his life, or how his thoughts were affected by depression, aside from that he was miserable -- so it was a huge shock, reading the book, to find that he had said, word-for-word, the same thing as so many others with depression...

The book is "Depression Fallout" by Anne Sheffield... If you are living with a family member, I'd suggest that at the least they read it, because it will help them really understand what you're going through and also how to strengthen themselves against the 'fallout' syndrome (results of being around somebody with major D). There is also a *great* section on dispelling the whole "I'm too strong to have my D treated, I have to handle it on my own or I'm a wuss" myth.

I hope the meds work well for you!

Luckily, I haven't had to fight with actual depression in some time. I'm more fighting the same demons over my ADD/ADHD and taking stimulants these days. (See my most recent post.)

My depression got hugely better...wow, ten years ago now...when I got my hormones sorted out. *grin*

Oh, good... I'm curious how your hormones were tied in, though? (I've wondered about that in myself for a while now, since mine all come in a pill and it's been a guess-and-try game to get the right dose!)

I don't have ADD/ADHD so I can't remark firsthand on it, but I have several psych issues (autism + ptsd + mild depression at the very least) and use a pair of meds to help keep me on a reasonably even keel. I'm *really* good at pinpointing/changing what is bothering me, but had hit a point where I was having trouble without there being any stimuli at all, and that was when I realized I needed something to help my brain function. I see it as the difference between somebody having weight issues due to their diet/behaviors (things they can change) and having them due to a thyroid dysfunction (brain/body problem), basically.

There is not a simple answer to that question, really. A bunch of it is over here. The short version is that I'm intersexual/mildly androgen insensitive and my testosterone levels were just insane. (At 25 I had normal T levels for a 16 year old boy still in the throes of puberty. No facial hair to speak of, but emotional issues out the wazoo.)

I tried Zoloft reluctantly at one point, which had exactly zero effect on me. Getting my T levels down and my estrogen levels up? That made a gigantic difference.

Frighteningly, the hormonal and gender issues were big enough to pretty much swamp the ADD/ADHD issues. I really couldn't deal with the latter at all until the former got resolved.