TheWe couldn’t get what we wanted so quickly like at any other time in history. For example, you can just say a few words to Alexa to find out the average height of a giraffe. The information age, and especially with the Internet, allows access to knowledge faster than at any time in history. Access to more information can help us learn about health and other topics that may be faster than doctors and medical professionals, especially if you’re lucky enough (or unlucky) to experience some medical issues firsthand.
You might be thinking, “Could I learn more from doctors if I had some disease?” If you read, you will know what I am talking about; I have experienced this interesting phenomenon first-hand.
Contrast irony in Mental health awareness among patients and professionals
Direct experience with some disease or illness can give you an important role in engaging with any medical professional; If a person suffers enough, they may be willing to do anything to get relief, including searching for the truth about the root causes of their illness. The truth you find may go against the mores of society and medicine, which can be frightening. However, this is a recipe for getting to the heart of things and knowing what’s really going on with your health. A physician’s survival does not necessarily depend on finding certain answers to a disease. But if your survival and happiness depend on the answers you find to your illness, that’s certainly motivating. It wasn’t until after I went through everything I’m going to tell you that I discovered this fact. My experience showed me this fact.
I grew up believing that doctors can always be trusted and they know a lot more than the average person about health. Most of the problems I had were easily resolved by doing what my parents or the doctors said. However, this trend started to change as I got older. During my teenage years, I had an experience where I had some depression in my life and my psychiatrist told me that antidepressants would help me. My experience told me the doctor is usually right, so I started taking this pharmaceutical drug, looking forward to relief and recovery from depression.
life in psychiatry
The doctors had a good record of helping me recover from illness, so at first I was happy to hear their advice about the depression I was experiencing. I also spent some time in group and individual therapy. Group therapy was mostly a beneficial experience for me because I started to learn more tools that helped me approach life according to the terms of life. If I get confused and have overwhelming feelings, I learn to write down my thoughts and feelings in a journal. I had written in my diary before, but my understanding of the value of this practice deepened and I gradually found myself becoming better at expressing myself and being more aware of my thoughts and feelings. Another benefit of group therapy was meeting other people who were also dealing with mental health challenges. Working with these people helped remind me that I was not alone, but that I had other people that I felt I could relate to and work with. Group therapy helped me learn the tools and form relationships that gave me a good, healthy foundation to become a more balanced and happy person.
One-on-one therapy with a counselor was another bright spot in my recovery. It helped me learn to look and talk about those areas of my life that I had previously been afraid to bring up. I learned more deeply the value of having someone outside of my family and friends who could look at me more objectively, which I think is very important. Oftentimes, family and friends can have a hard time being as objective as anyone is a counselor, for reasons that include fear of offending me or perhaps even blinding both the good things about me and the ways in which I can continue to grow. However, I also need to stress that family and friends have also been instrumental in my recovery.
Psychotherapy was unfortunately a different story than the benefits I received from therapy, family, and friends. The chain of doctors who succeeded in helping me came to an ugly end.
After I started taking psychotropic medication, I became numb to how I felt and gained a lot of weight. My thinking slowed down and I had a more difficult time relating to others. I felt tired all the time. Over the next few years, I voiced these challenges to the psychiatrist, and thus began the horrible and very difficult experiment of trying to find the “right medication”. In some ways, this was worse than anything I had experienced before I started taking psychiatric medications. There have been a large number of side effects caused by these different medicines. Some of them were kinda hard to deal with and others made me feel like I was going to die. I’ve experienced painful things like chest pain, feeling like I’ll never be still, depression, and more.
I remember thinking during this time, “This is awful. I don’t know if this will ever end. I feel so lonely. Why do I feel so awful?”
Fortunately, I was eventually able to find just one psychiatric medication to take as I felt fine, or at least didn’t feel bad. Although I still felt tired all the time, I treated myself with caffeine and was eventually able to work full time again. However, after several years of taking this drug I realized that I was getting worse. I was more depressed than I was before I started taking psychiatric medications. I was overweight, had skin issues and digestive issues. I was always in survival mode and had no idea what the problem was. My psychiatrist had no answers, and my doctor said I seemed mostly fine. But I knew I was sicker than before I started taking the medication. I also learned that I “need” this psychotropic medication because I was told I had a “neurochemical imbalance”. Soon after I was told this, I ran full force into a brick wall trying to get rid of the drug to no avail, reinforcing that I, in fact, had a neurochemical imbalance.
A conversation that will change my life forever
After more than a decade of going through this circus, a wise psychiatrist asked me if I really needed psychiatric medication. I think I may have looked at her at first as if she had just told me that the moon was made of cheese. However, after absorbing what she said over the next few months, I realized that when I first experienced this depression, I wasn’t getting enough sleep and not eating well. Coincidence? Certainly, it was. Because I had a “neurochemical imbalance” and needed these medications, according to psychiatrists.
After taking the time to allow this possibility of no need for psychiatric drugs to sink in, I did what anyone could do: I Googled it. My search criteria included terms such as: ‘psychiatric drug risks’, ‘psychiatric drug withdrawal’, and ‘psychiatric drug withdrawal experience’. I was once again surprised by all the information I found. I discover many stories of people claiming to have successfully off psychiatric drugs, even after taking them for 10-20 years or more. I even found psychiatrists who no longer give their patients psychotropic drugs. Another fact that gave me hope is the discovery of many factors that can make a person feel anxious or depressed, including lack of sleep, poor diet, and bad habits in dealing with stress. Thanks in part to the Internet, I gradually began to realize that there might have been good reasons for my depressive symptoms when I was younger, and that taking medication was not the best answer to solving this problem.
After doing my due diligence in researching more about psychiatric medications on the internet and through some books I have purchased, I have decided to follow the suggestion of a wise psychologist to try and weed out; Somewhat surprisingly, I managed to get out of it. It was very difficult to get off the drug, especially since the doctors had dug into my head that if I struggled to get off the drug, it was a sign that I needed it. What I discovered was that it was difficult to get off the drug due to the withdrawal effects and because the drug ruined my health. But finally, I’m off medication! What a relief and what a miracle! Having been away from psychiatric drugs for many years now, I have found that the longer I take them off, the better I feel!
So, living in the information age can bring us the strange irony of disobeying doctor’s orders as the pain of my situation helped me search for deeper answers, including online. My experience has shown me that if you have enough pain in your life, you will look anywhere for the truth, even if that truth goes against what the medical system tells you. Part of me wanted my psychiatrist to be right because in some ways it would be easier to keep taking psychiatric medications. But I feel so much better not taking them, and hopefully I’ll never have to take these drugs again. Sometimes it looks a bit like a book 1984; I feel like I’m on a mission and the ‘System’ isn’t really concerned with our well-being. However, fortunately, I found that this is not entirely true.
During the trip, I met holistic doctors and medical professionals who are interested in finding the root causes of health problems, not just bandaging symptoms of anxiety or grief. Since I’ve been reflecting on my past while writing this article, I’m wondering if I’d be able to gain the knowledge I need to get off psychiatric medications if I lived in a time without the internet. I am grateful to both the internet and my wise psychologist that they helped save my life and my well-being.
Mad in America hosts blogs for a variety of writers. These publications are designed to serve as a public forum for discussion – in general – about psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are those of the writers.
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