Monday, August 29, 2011

Michael's Meds and the House of Blues

Michael McLean is a personal hero of mine.
I love his music.
Here is one of my favorite songs,
for those of you unfamiliar with his work.

(not his video, but the best I could find)

I am always grateful when people choose to talk publicly
about how their psychiatric medications help them.

LG came home last night from a free Michael McLean concert
telling me how impressed he was when Michael candidly
spoke of his decades long fight to take medication
for his debilitating depression.
Michael wrote a book about his journey,
which I have every intention of reading.

Last night, Michael explained that he was the kind of guy that kept making deals with God.
He figured that if he would just do certain things God would take his blues away.
I guess you could say that he was just holding on waiting for the light to come.

After hearing his doctor and family
adamantly encourage him to try medication,
he finally gave in.
He was in a dark place and it dawned on him
that maybe medication would be the way that God would help him out.
Maybe the medication was the avenue in bringing the light.

The medication worked.
The little pills worked a miracle in his life.
One that he had needed for so long.
He could actually get out of bed without a struggle.

Michael, just like so many others,
wondered why he suffered for so long
when it wasn't necessary.

I am a little dumbfounded when people
are so anti-medication.
I truly believe that the people who are so
vocal about how "bad" medications are,
are probably some of the ones that will benefit the most.

It always astounds me when people truly believe that
more exercise or meditation
can cure a true illness.

I cannot tell you how many times I have helped friends
be o.k. with the idea of medication
and how many of them have found happier and saner lives.

I have stories. So many stories.
From the woman with lots of kids who couldn't cope at all.
She started thriving after getting the right anti-anxiety meds.
To the younger mom with little kids
who just couldn't understand why she would be given this trial,
but once she found the right meds.
was so deeply grateful to be able to mother
without the constant darkness and hopelessness.

It's such a bummer that an unnecessary stigma
keeps people from tapping into God's help.
Yes, God inspires scientists to invent this stuff.
It scientifically fills in the gaps that have been left
because of genetic mutation, environmental factors,
and even just the pressures of living in such a fast paced society.

People have mental illness.
People also have stressful lives.
Medications can help with both.
And they do.

My go-to question to a lot of my struggling friends is,
"if you had cancer would you refuse treatment?"
Of course not.

So, you people who are anti-medication,
please leave your stigma creating judgement elsewhere.
I am here to tell anyone out there
who needs some light in their lives
that getting on medication
may be God's way of giving you the blessings that you need.
Don't be afraid.

Here is Michael's Med song:

And here is another one just for fun.
It will give you another coping strategy until your meds kick in.

Don't suffer a second longer than you have to.
You don't have to take medication forever,
but if you need help,
take it.
Get sane,
and then decide when you don't need it any more.

Would you refuse an epidural
just so you could feel the pain?
Well, yeah, some of you would.
But, why?
Why suffer like you are in childbirth
for longer than a day,
or a month,
or even years?

Especially if you are a mom.
The best thing you can ever do for your kids
is to be happy.
Even if it means you need a little help getting there.

The last week or so I have been having trouble with feeling really lethargic.
I don't want to get out of bed.
It dawned on me this morning that I am experiencing a slight bout of depression.

I have been on my medication for 7 years
and I have never felt better.
I don't ever cry incessantly like I used to.
I don't think hopeless thoughts.
I don't lay in bed all day.
I don't sit around worrying.

I don't do so many things that I used to do.
I am generally pretty happy
a great majority of the time.

And even though right now I am in a tad of a funk,
needing some greater direction in my life,
and feeling the effects of the recent move,
missing friends, a new career consideration,
and the weighty decision of whether or not
we are done having children,
the worst of the funk
is feeling tired.
Really tired.

I would say that is pretty damn good.

Especially when 10 years ago,
if I found myself with the amount of crap that I have on my plate right now,
I would have been suicidal,
locked in my room,
crying all day and night,
and feeling like it would never end.

Get help people.
Tired is doable.
Very doable.


Donna said...

Love this post! I tell people to get therapy on a daily basis too. It helps. Seriously. I opted for no epidural with Oliva cause I couldn't afford it. Luckily she came in 1 hour. So I didn't have to suffer too long.

Michelle Ford said...

I must agree with everything in this post. For a long time I was one of those anti-meds people, but eventually you realize that its not worth it to feel bad all the time. Depression runs in my family, and so much of my family has just suffered through it and I did too for so long. Also for me, having a history of drug abuse in my family I was scared to death that I would get addicted to anything I would take, but a time came when I knew absolutely that I couldn't go on living in that darkness. My aunt died suddenly in February and I didn't get to see her before they cremated her and of course we could only have a memorial service, so after that I started contemplating getting on some medication to help me deal with it. Then 2 weeks later my 3 year old cousin passed away in her sleep, and at that point I knew there was no way I could keep going without something, so I went to my doctor and asked for something to help with my depression and anxiety. I explained that I was concerned of the idea of getting addicted and she helped ease my fears of that. It's only been a little over 6 months but I feel like its saved me a lot, and saved my marriage too. I'm not completely better, and I never will be completely free of my depression, but with the medication I am learning to manage. Thank you Alice for being such an amazing advocate for mental health. I love having people like you to depend on!