I’m not a medical professional. The views and opinions expressed within this article should not be confused with medical advice, or a replacement for it. Consult only your doctor for medical advice. I’m here to share a story and an opinion. Don’t sue me.
I was recently invited to write a guest post on Black Box Warnings, and asked to share my opinion on medications used for treating Anxiety disorders. I encourage you to read the following article. I know it’s kind of long but it has a very positive message. (I know)
Consider it one of my gifts to you for the holidays. [Insert smart-ass grin emoticon]
The Fruitless Pursuit of a Permanent Fix
Those that deal with Anxiety and/or Depression are already aware of the feelings of desperation that accompany the two conditions. There’s no sense going into details. The bottom line is that both can have a serious impact on an otherwise happy and productive life if gone untreated.
I’ve dealt with both for the majority of my life, but there was a point when I didn’t really know anything about either condition. All I knew was that there was something wrong with me and that I needed to have it fixed.
About eight years ago I learned about Anxiety and Depression after meeting with my
drug dealer Doctor. I was relieved to find out that all of the symptoms that I was describing had a name; but more importantly, relieved to know that there were treatment options available.
All of the things that were happening to me were easily explained by a chemical imbalance in my brain. It sounded like a reasonable enough explanation to me at the time.
Obviously, brains have chemicals. Imbalanced Chemicals = Anxiety. Sounds logical?
I didn’t feel the need to start debating brain chemical theories and what constitutes a balanced set of them. I just wanted my life back. I trusted my Doctor. After all, his background was in Medicine. Mine was in Deceptive Advertising. He knows how brains work, and I know how to manipulate people into buying things…
…Looking back, maybe he had a background in Marketing, too?
I’d left the office that day with a vague understanding of my condition(s), as well as a couple prescriptions for medications to treat both individually.
I began taking the daily Anxiety medication immediately, but decided to handle the Depression on my own. It seemed to be the answer to my problems. Life returned to normal for awhile. I started dating again, socializing more, and stopped flaking out at work and school. Problem solved?
Over the course of the first year however, I noticed that the drug was starting to wear off and became less effective. I found myself back in the Doctor’s office with the same complaints. The solution: double the dosage. It was time for a brain chemical overhaul!
It was at that point that the side effects of the medication became really noticeable. I didn’t feel like me anymore. Sometimes it felt like I didn’t have the ability to produce certain types of emotions. I could remember the emotions, but I couldn’t actually produce them. I felt disconnected; sedate. The so-called “highs” didn’t really exist anymore. That’s when I started to ask myself questions like: Was this really the solution? Am I truly chemically imbalanced?
After about a year and a half I decided to stop taking the drug. I went back to my Doctor and he explained how easy it was to get off the drug: gradually reduce the dose each day for one week. At the end of the week, stop taking it.
I found myself in front of a Pharmacist a week later, jittering off questions about why I was experiencing a complete nervous meltdown after the “weaning period”. That’s when I learned that a week isn’t enough time to taper off a long-term pill regiment. I went back on the meds long enough to level my head, and then gradual tapered off the drug over the course of the next month.
After I got off the medication my original problems returned tenfold. It was unbearable. Every day it felt like I was on eight cups of dark roast coffee, and my mind wouldn’t turn off. Every single morbid, fucked up thought that I could possibly imagine was running through my head – all of them simultaneously.
I also remember getting these weird electrical sensations inside my head. It almost felt like my internal computer was re-booting. It was a quick flash of weirdness and an extremely unsettling feeling.
During that period was when I experienced my first Panic Attack. What fun!
At that point, no matter what I tried I just couldn’t seem to get a grip. It felt like I was completely out of control of my body and mind, and I didn’t know what was causing it, or how to stop it. Within a few short months I was at my wits end. I decided to get help from somewhere else.
And How Does That Make You Feel?
There are a lot of misconceptions about therapy. From my experience none of them are true. Going to a therapist doesn’t mean you’re crazy, and I’ve never witnessed or heard of anyone being strapped into a straight-jacket and wheeled to the nearest Psych Ward after a visit to one. To my knowledge they don’t do the foam baseball bat thing either. Bummer.
I will say however, that there’s nothing more uncomfortable than the first few visits with a therapist. Well, maybe a prostate exam. Spilling your guts to a complete stranger about all of your darkest personal matters takes some getting used to. But, it doesn’t take long to establish a personal relationship with one – and he doesn’t have to put a lubricated finger up your ass in order for that to happen, either.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy covers a lot of ground. For me, the experience was about becoming aware of my self-destructive thoughts, and finding ways to change those negative thoughts into positive actions.
Each visit was full of introspective dialogue. It’s definitely challenging at times, and some days were harder than others. I realized that it takes a lot of balls to look deep inside, and that addressing your issues is a lot harder than pretending they don’t exist.
During that span I learned a lot about myself on that familiar brown leather sofa. I discovered so much that was hidden deep — things that I’d repressed, things that I wanted to forget about, and things that I didn’t even know existed.
The most important thing that I discovered?
All of this stuff couldn’t be fixed by a pill.
Medicine wasn’t the cure-all that I thought it was supposed to be. It didn’t solve my problems or help me to understand what had caused them; it was only a band-aid. All it did was cover up the symptoms that my unaddressed issues were not only creating, but continued to create.
Without therapy I would have never noticed all of the life-sucking vampires I’d surrounded myself with, nor would I have realized that I was living my life for the benefit of everyone else but me. I would have never learned about the importance of loving myself unconditionally, and I would have never realized that “What we think, we become.”
I know what you might be thinking right now: “Sounds like a bunch of phony bullshit to me.”
If that’s in fact what you were thinking, then you might be a good candidate yourself, Negative Nancy…
My thoughts on Medication?
I don’t think a vague label like “chemically imbalanced” really says a whole lot. It doesn’t address the individual or the underlying cause. I’m even starting to wonder if a lot of the conditions that are being diagnosed are really medical problems at all?
Maybe we need to question the pace that we’re living our lives at, and learn to identify the kinds of people and things that are toxic to our well being Maybe we need to learn how to be more accepting of ourselves and others, and learn how to be more responsible for our thoughts, actions, and behaviors.
I believe these things are all part of the epidemic *chemical imbalance* problem in our society. A lot of the time they’re never even addressed.
I’m not denying the fact that mental illness exists. I’m also not denying that some medications may be required for brain-related conditions. I am stating however, that I think we’re being over-prescribed, and needlessly diagnosed with conditions that might just be a product of the high stress, fast-paced, unforgiving, and highly competitive world that we live in today.
The reality of it is that therapy didn’t make my life problems go away. But, it did help me to become aware of them, as well as learn how to better manage them.
Truthfully, some days still suck. Some days I’m still a nervous wreck. Some days I still doubt my abilities. And some days I still feel hopeless about the future.…
…but life isn’t perfect. And that’s just the way it is.
At least I’m comfortable admitting it now. And whenever things aren’t going the way that I’d like them to go, I try my best to force a smile and say to myself:
Some days are just better than others…
- [Happy] Blogging
- Anxious? 4 Examples of Anxiety Treaments that Calm Nerves (psychologytoday.com)
- A Note About Anxiety (notadietstory.wordpress.com)
- Is Medication For An Anxiety Disorder Necessary? (drronglassman.wordpress.com)
It dawned on me the other day that sustaining an audience through weekly, incessant ranting might not be a good long-term concept. Not that I don’t enjoy bashing trends, or whining about trivial stuff, but it gets old — even for me. Does this mean the end of My Right to Bitch? Yeah right. I think it’s just time to add a few more ingredients to the salad bowl and mix things up a bit. I have too much to talk about that doesn’t revolve around pissing and moaning all the time – at least that’s what my therapist says.
Speaking of expensive health services, I visited my chiropractor today for the first time in a few months. All of this blogging has become a real pain in the neck (pun intended). Sitting for extended periods of time does a real number on the body, so I decided to pop in for a much needed re-alignment.
If you’re not familiar with what Chiropractic is, let me break it down for you…
The Chiropractic Experience
In a nutshell, Chiropractic is basically the science of twisting bones and joints in ways that they weren’t intended to move. Each visit brings a sampling of medical wrestling techniques designed to measure your tolerance for pain, as well as how easily you cry.
When visiting a clinic for the first time, the same initial protocol takes place as with any other doctor. You’ll typically spend a half-hour filling out a phone book-sized stack of forms highlighting your aches and pains. After that, prepare to spend another half-hour waiting in a room full of other decrepit people, anxiously listening to cries of agony coming from the occupied rooms. Don’t run.
Right before you’re about to fall asleep, the doctor will call you in for spinal x-rays. After the pictures are developed, they are then placed on a lighted board, which makes it easier for them to point out the problem areas, as well as the faint outline of your crotchal region. From there a diagnosis is made, and the real fun begins shortly after.
There are several procedures throughout the visit. The first set of bone manipulations begin with the patient laying face down on a table that’s supported by impact springs. The springs are meant to absorb the large amounts of force being driven into your spine from a defenseless position. Climbing aboard and riding the table of death to the horizontal position is the only fun part. After the elevator ride, the patient then grasps the “oh shit” bars below, while the doctor proceeds with a series of pile driver-like moves, causing your spine to briefly meet with the inside of your sternum.
Sternum: “Well hello there, Spine!”
Spine: “Gotta run. I’ll drop by next week.”
High Velocity Maneuvers
Some practices use adjustment techniques called High Velocity (movements), which look and feel similar to what Steven Seagal does to the bad guys in a lot of his movies. As a matter of fact, it’s exactly the same technique. While the patient is seated in a chair, the doctor silently approaches from behind, and when least expecting, violently twists the head of his victim — far enough for the person to momentarily view their own back. If it sounds painful, that’s because it is.
I nicknamed my doctor “the hammer”, because he does to his patients what Gallagher does to watermelons. On top of being medically-aggressive he’s also 300lbs – I’m not exaggerating. The guy is built like a dump truck, and likes to use me as a guinea pig for all of the new karate moves he learns at conventions. One of his newest techniques involves grabbing a hold of the skull, and forcefully extracting the patient’s head from his body cavity like a reverse-battering ram. It’s kind of like tying one end of a rope to a door knob, and the other end to a pick-up truck. Just for grins, I decided to measure myself before a visit. Surprisingly enough, I grew two inches after the adjustment.
And I’m not supposed to crack my knuckles?
It’s important to note that if you’re considering visiting one, be mindful of what you eat beforehand. For example, a stuffed bean burrito would be a poor choice of meals. The reason is self explanatory. When someone is jumping from the top turnbuckle onto your intestinal region, it’s unlikely your sphincter will maintain its gassy parts. Each visit brings with it the potential for becoming a human whoopee cushion. Many have fallen victim – myself included.
Right now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Why the hell do you bother going?” The answer is simple; it’s a life-saver for me. Most people don’t realize that all of the organ systems are connected to the spine. Even a minor subluxation can cause a body system to function improperly. I was extremely leery about it before I started visiting one, but haven’t looked back sense. If you’re considering it, do your homework first and find a good one. You won’t regret it –
What are your thoughts on Chiropractic — believer or skeptic?
**Please share your funny stories **
-Happy Blogging, ya wimpy Bitchers!
- Dr. Ben Altadonna Announces New Information to Help Doctors of Chiropractic Eliminate The Skepticism of Chiropractors and Chiropractic (prweb.com)
- Warwick, Seagal among those who owe Calif. taxes (cnsnews.com)
- Steven Seagal, Dionne Warwick make list of biggest tax scofflaws in California (cbsnews.com)
It’s official, America’s favorite celebrity doctor has finally established himself as a successful solo artist. The certified guru of personal health is now a permanent fixture of the Oprah Winfrey Network, dishing out the latest developments in medicine on a daily basis. Dr. Oz has become the Elvis Presley of doctors among his predominately female followers, and continues to drive the health craze nail deeper into my eyeball with each passing episode. Thank you, thank you very much.
The constantly evolving theory of the correct way to diet, exercise, and prevent disease is quickly becoming a bit obsessive-compulsive for my taste. I think it’s safe to say that we’ve finally reached the summit of mount paranoia when it comes to personal health in this country. Being that we’re in the midst of yet another mass-craze, as usual, I’m waving at everybody riding by on the band wagon. Have a nice trip. Bring me back something nice.
All Aboard the Band Wagon…
At one end of the spectrum are the hypochondriacs. Like a bunch of wandering vagrants trying to score a dope fix, the crazies flood the internet with queries about their health, hoping to stumble across something to ease their worried minds. There they sit, pale-faced in front of a computer monitor, digging for info on freckle borders, out-of-place pimples, and dry tongue. At the other end of the spectrum are the urban soldiers that spend half of their lives in a sweaty warehouse, flipping tractor tires and snacking on raw spinach. Can we have a meeting of the minds here for a second?
Personally, I take everything with a grain of salt. I’m naturally skeptical, especially when it comes to things that people do in massive numbers. No matter what it is, it always seems to have such a Jerry Jones cult feel to it. I get itchy just thinking about it. Speaking of skepticism, I have an excellent conspiracy theory to share:
It’s a Conspiracy I tell ya…
Dr. Oz is actually a robot that was created by a Japanese firm, and purchased by Harpo productions to instill fear in the minds of an impressionable audience. The manufacturer model name is actually “Ozmotron 5000”. When not in operation, the Ozmotron 5000 doubles as “safety guy”, belted into the front seat of Oprah’s car. Since its introduction, her pharmaceutical stocks have soared because of the massive uptick in anti-anxiety medications being prescribed to people like me. The robot is operated by Verne Troyer.
Far-fetched? Not really.
Here are a couple reasons why I’d like to duct tape Ozzie to the ceiling:
1.) First of all, he’s a spin-off of the Oprah Winfrey show, and I’ll be damned if she gets any royalty cash because of my viewership. Conservatively, she’s probably worth more than the entire European Continent. It’s a safe bet that she’ll be the first celebrity goofball to go on a space tour when that whole mess takes off. I can picture her with her helmet on, waving hysterically from the shuttle window at all the poor people before launching into the stratosphere. Hopefully she’ll get stuck orbiting the moon. Transmission from space: “Harpo, we have a problem.”
2.) Secondly, he makes me feel guilty about everything I do. Stop it man. I would much rather eat a burrito than a cup of walnuts and a block of tofu. I couldn’t imagine being called on stage during one of his tapings. It would be awfully intimidating to explain that my lunch the day before was comprised of a half a sandwich and four cigarettes. At least it was wheat bread, dude.
3.) And lastly, Dr. Oz talks about regularity a little too much for my liking. Good god, I haven’t heard this much talk about crap since the Two Girls One Cup fiasco. It seems to me that colon health trumps all other topics, bar none. Are people really that desperate to go often? I’m not a doctor by any stretch of the imagination, but if you ask me, crapping more than once a day is a health risk.
If I bought into his regularity diet I’d have to apply for a janitorial job to insure I’d be within five feet of a toilet at all times. As a matter of fact, I probably wouldn’t leave the toilet without being strapped to an adult diaper. Give me a break man. Who the hell can lead a productive life when you’re eating five gallons of cherries a month? On top of the janitorial position, I’d have to find a source of secondary income (probably a work at home job) in order to afford the mile of toilet paper per week it would require to stay tidy.
I will admit though, there is one thing that impresses me about Dr. Oz — that being his uncanny ability to influence. Whatever he says goes (no pun intended). Truthfully, I didn’t even know women farted until I watched his show. However, call one down to the center stage and she’ll gladly share every detail about her bowel movements in front of the entire U.S. Frequency, color, girth — it doesn’t matter. I can picture a desperate fan, sitting on the bathroom floor like a closet alcoholic, chugging prune concentrate while the septic tank guy is banging on the door again — all for the sake of living up to the Doctor Oz regularity diet. That’s what I call mind control.
A Few Final Thoughts…
The way I see it, it’s an unhealthy addiction whether you’re at one end of the spectrum or the other. That’s not to say that healthy living shouldn’t be a priority, but it definitely shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. I think having a balanced disposition might be the best advice I could ever prescribe. Being consumed by anything to the point of obsession takes away from the whole life experience, doesn’t it?
The health craze is being driven by a number of outside forces, each of them competing for a chunk of your money. Fear is an excellent motivator. After all, it’s what’s kept our species alive for tens of thousands of years. Never underestimate it. “But that’s impossible, the earth is only 9000 years old?” We’ll get to that some other day.
Until that day comes, keep your head screwed on tight.
Please share your thoughts!
-Happy Blogging, you Bowel Loving Bitchers!