Antidepressants are the most prescribed medications in the United States. Approximately 10% of the population is taking some sort of mood enhancer or mind altering drug for depression. In the decade from 1995 to 2005 the number doubled, thanks in part to commercials saturating the television networks by drug companies, pushing their antidepressants. According to an article in USA Today, spending on direct marketing to consumers went from $32 million to a whopping $122 million.
That being said, I happen to be one of the 30 odd million people on medication for depression. Have been for over 10 years. But here lately, I have been questioning my dependence on pills. We are a nation of “pill poppers” looking for an easy fix. I don’t have time for a one hour therapy session every week, we might say, so just give me a pill and I’ll be on my way.
In 2006 I went off all my medication with the exception of blood pressure pills. Of course you have to do it in a step-down process and it takes about a month. At the end of that month, my Dad died. It brought to mind one of the Airplane movies when Lloyd Bridges, the air traffic controller mentioned he picked the wrong day to quit smoking, sniffing glue, etc. That’s how I felt. Of course I had just experienced one of the triggers for depression, the death of a close family member and back on it I went. Over the past decade or so, there have been many reasons to be on medication for depression, my husband’s kidney failure and ultimate transplant surgery, and moving 2400 miles from home, being just a couple of them. So you take a pill, so things don’t bother you so much. There in lies the problem. You never address what is bothering you, your entire brain is not functioning.
I also believe being in an altered state of mind stifles my creativity. I fancy myself a writer and would like to see what I could accomplish with a fully operational mind, at what ever level that might be. You have to be open to creative thoughts, not knowing for sure where inspiration will come from and if part of your mind is missing, well you know……
As I have discussed before, ad nauseam, I am almost 60, and realizing, really realizing, that I have a finite number of years left. I want to fully live those years with all my brain, not just a part of it. So I am making the conscious decision to go off Paxil and start living again. There will be good, bad and ugly, I am sure. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Get ready for T Bond, uncensored.