I have a longtime family friend who is one of the most positive and happy people I know. She has never seemed to let things get to her and always has a smile on her face. I have admired her especially when I was personally struggling with anxiety and depression and taking Prozac to get through my days.
A couple of years ago her beloved cat and dog both passed away suddenly within two weeks of each other.
Needless to say, she was devastated. I have never seen her so heartbroken and sad in all the years I have known her.
She went to her primary care doctor because she was having some chest pain that she believed was due to previous bronchitis. She told her doctor about her pets and how sad she was. He responded with saying she was depressed and needed to go on an antidepressant. She told him she felt she just needed to go through the grieving process, get back to exercising and would be fine once some time passed.
They disagreed for a bit before he said, “Just taking the f***ing pills”.
This woman is someone who has never had to be on an antidepressant and was just needing the time and space to grieve her pets.
But she listened to her doctor and started the prescription anyway. She suffered horrible adverse effects like dizziness and went back for her check up with the doctor a couple of weeks later.
She smiled and said to him, “Take back your f***ing pills”.
I just love that woman. But it made me so sad to hear that she was being told by someone with a medical degree that it wasn't okay to be sad and feel her feelings.
We are human beings with emotions. We need to FEEL our emotions to live a full and purposeful life.
What is happiness without knowing sadness?
What is a sunny day without rain?
What is success without some struggle?
What is joy without emotion?
This is how we learn to appreciate what we have rather than pushing through the motions every day.
That is what frustrates me. I feel more and more people are being told it's not okay to be emotional. Instead he wanted her to mask the emotions, struggle with adverse effects and potentially need a bigger dose or more medication in the future. Not to mention these types of situations are adding to the horrible addiction crisis.
I have recently read Danielle Laporte's book, White Hot Truth. I read this part a few times and whole-heartedly agree:
"It has always struck me as absurd (and ludicrous and irresponsible and highly dangerous) that MD's, trained extensively on the biological functions of the human body but much less so on the workings of the mind, can dispense psychotropic drugs to patients without any extensive therapeutic interaction...Antidepressants can be the best course of action for breaking painful cycles and getting much needed respite from severe depression. But the fact that one in four women in the United States alone is taking antidepressants makes me want to weep."
As someone who was on an antidepressant for 10 years struggling to numb my dark feelings, I know that there is a time and place for medication.
I know life can be really overwhelming and heart-breaking. Sometimes we just want to numb our feelings because they are too intense.
But we should be getting consistent support rather than a medical doctor who just hands us a pill without any form of therapy or much follow-up.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 48.9% of people in the U.S. have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days.*
That's a pretty high percentage of our population and not to mention a whole lot of money being put toward doctors and drugs...
If some "expert" tells you to take pills and you're not sure you should, it's time for a second opinion.
If you are having a hard time navigating through the tough stuff of life, please know that there are many different ways to heal and get the support you need.
It's time to learn healthier ways to cope when we feel sad, depressed, lonely, angry and overwhelmed rather than instantly turning to medication and alcohol to numb our pain and emotions.
Last year I was working with a young woman who was struggling with anxiety and depression. She was used to taking medication or drinking alcohol when she felt anxiety coming on. We worked on her “tool box” and within a couple of months she sent me a message saying that she felt anxious but sat outside and journaled. She was so proud of being able to shift to healthier habits during a typically overwhelming situation.
My hope is that more women understand they are not crazy nor too emotional, and that they know how to get the right support when needed.
Here to give you hope,
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