The Great Drug Debate

There are some people who go crazy and then manage to pull themselves back to normal through natural remedies. In fact, during my early adolescence, alternative medicine is what saved my life. I do not deny the efficacy of alternative means of dealing with mental health. I’m sure if I hadn’t gone to see that alternative doctor, I would be dead long long long ago.

So why do I take pharmaceuticals now? The short answer is that I had a psychotic break and what eventually stabilized me were pharmaceuticals.

Now I am just as aware as anyone of the unethical capitalist practices of the pharmaceutical industry. It’s a corrupt system, filled with unfairly tilted studies of new drugs, sweeping side effects like death, suicide, and homicide under the carpet.

At the same time, I think it’s just as unethical to tell someone whose medication works for them that they shouldn’t be taking it. I’m tired of hearing people tell me “you’re not crazy, you don’t need those medications.”

I am crazy. Crazy isn’t a forever thing, it happens in cycles, at least my brand of crazy. And while I can function to a high degree, I definately notice if I forget my meds. If I get depressed, you usually won’t know it because I retreat into my apartment. If I get hypomanic, most people will just notice that I seem happier and yappier than normal and that maybe I’m doing better. I have only once gone so crazy as to believe I was the next messiah, and that scared the shit out of me.

So I take pharmaceuticals. Big deal. Five pills a day and I’m a-okay. This is how I’m dealing with my mental health right now. There is always the possibility that someday in the future I will go into full remission and not have to take my medication. Likewise, I may always take medication.

As a crazy community, it’s important that we support everyone’s personal decision as to how they want to address their mental health concerns, drugs or no drugs. To do this, we have to be given more choices, more options. Doctors should be willing to listen to the concerns of their patients about side effects. The psych ward system needs to have group home options for people who are going through spiritual crisis that will allow the course of a psychotic episode to be resolved naturally. In fact, in the States back in the seventies this was done with manic depressives and schizophrenics, and without the use of drugs or restraints, all the patients were able to resume fully functioning lives. Of course once in a while someone would run naked into the yard, but this wasn’t pathologized.

And finally, most importantly, crazy people who are stabilized need to be given more supports in our communities. It doesn’t help to go to a mental health team and find out you’re not crazy enough to be given services.

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