Medicating Emotions; avoiding pain to our detriment

I wrote recently about drugging our lives and continuing in that vein I first must say;

 There are absolutely times whereby medication is required. There are some psychiatric illnesses where medication is as essential as insulin is to the person with Type One Diabetes. But note that word illness. Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Uni-polar. Without medication people with these illnesses experience acute psychosis that can consequentially cause behaviour that is of great risk to their safety. And yes, there are crisis situations whereby short-term medication is therapeutically appropriate whilst a person undergoes intense psychotherapy. But again note the words; crisis and short-term.

 The problem is that at least eighty percent of medication taken for emotional/mood issues today are not for these above mentioned situations. They are used to suppress emotional pain directly due to life experiences and to moderate behaviour that is considered outside the spectrum of ‘normal’ and more and more ‘normal’ is based whether you can ‘function’…i.e. go to work/school and behave yourself.

 Of course from one view this can be seen as an extremely effective way to control human beings. Parents desperate for a solution to a non-compliant child are often greatly relieved (along with their schools) by a diagnosis that comes with meds to ‘settle’ little Timmy down. Adults traumatized by past and/or interpersonal drama are happy that a little pill can bring them a sense of ease. Governments and business support what they see as ‘quick fixes’ that are cost-effective and ensure a functioning workforce and psychiatry, now joined inextricably to the pharmacological empire, has never been so empowered.

  So you may wonder then what on earth the problem could be. Well the problems from this are several. But for me at least the most important issue is that medicating emotions means these emotions are pushed deeper and deeper into our psyche causing well proven physical/mental/emotional damage and worse using pills to suppress our pain and confusion rather than putting in the conscious work of healing means that we will never heal from wounds inflicted (medication suppresses, never heals) hence never discover the amazing uniqueness and depth of who we are and what we are capable of; never discover the true preciousness of this life we share.  

 Life Matters! Life is incredibly precious. It is not always happy or nice or fun…indeed sometimes it can be pure agony. Nevertheless it is deeply deeply precious. I am yet to completely understand why it is so but I do know for a fact that our emotional suffering can open doors of understanding and evolvement that enrich our lives a million fold and hence lead to enrichment for all around us. And equally I know with absolute certainty that medicating our emotions suppresses not only the pain but also the healing and growth that can occur.

 In order to truly experience the preciousness of life, to be in the now…which is indeed the only reality we have…we must know and always be in touch with and actively responsive to how our inner self is feeling. If we are on pills that adjust how we are feeling then we can never actually know how or indeed who we really are.

Yes taking a pill will give you a sense of artificial wellbeing. But then so will a frontal lobotomy. And yes, facing the pain, the rage, hurts like hell and takes a long time and hard work to integrate. Yes it is much easier to drug a child than be a constantly mindful, thoughtful, positively responsive parent. But what you sacrifice is experiencing the amazing depth of who you are and what you can be, who your children are and what they can be…of feeling deep joy and contentment, of connection with each other, of joy in the moment. Quite simply you are sacrificing what Abraham Maslow described as the final step in our psychological growth as humans….Self-actualization. And yes…all of this is possible. I know for I have seen and experienced it to be true.

 True emotional/mental health comes from the process of exploration and understanding…understanding yourself, understanding others around you, understanding life. Drugs…be they nicely presented and medically approved or from the end of a needle bring none of this.

Please consider…with love…Leesa

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4 thoughts on “Medicating Emotions; avoiding pain to our detriment

  1. Thanks Leesa…

    I don’t look forward to getting doped. I talked to my partner about it, explained to him that I am going to be having depression crises because of my illness, and that I don’t want it to affects us and that I’ll discuss it with my neurologist to get some medication. He told me no. He said we’ll fight it together, and that I don’t need to take any more meds, I’m on more than enough as it is. I told him that it’ll drive him away in the end, the instability, the over-reaction. He said no. He said something else maybe but never this. So, I’m thinking of giving him a chance to make good on his word. They say that realization is the first step to the cure, and now I’m aware of this happening, and why it’s happening. I’ve fought alone all my life, so what the hell, might as well give him a chance to hop along. I hope I don’t regret it…

    Thanks for the post again, it means heaps…

    • hey Maggie. Severe depression…indicated by a prolonged sense of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness, being unable to get up, to hold conversations, to think clealry, to eat and drink sufficiently and care for ourselves…requires medication in conjunction with good therapy and support. However if depression is not severe then therapy and support is the absolutely the way to go. I think its brilliant you have someone willing to support you and absolutely give it a go. But make sure at the same time you are doing everything you can…therapy, diet, connection, exercise etc to assist in your healing.
      with love and hope for your journey…Leesa

  2. Leesa, you know I’m manic depressive with PTSD (incest by dad) and, well, you know, manic depression tendencies run in my family, traced back at least three generations. I used to go for days on a high, then “crash” and get violently ill or just sleep for two days.

    I agree with many points you made in your well-researched article: Kids should NOT be on meds, unless they are violent to the point of hurting themselves or others. Meds are not a band-aid when your kid doesn’t behave: That calls for parenting. Parents must learn how to deal, how to get a child to talk out their problems with help from a counselor experienced in treating children.

    I can also tell you that meds alone, without counseling, are a dead end. Meds may help you deal with everyday life, and deal well without losing any of your creativity (in my case, they helped enhance my gifts), but you HAVE TO talk it out with a therapist and stay with it. In my case, I had to dig deep for that crummy little misshapen pearl that looked like a Raisinette, shave back the layers to find that irritant that caused me to form it in my gut, like a clam forms a pearl.

    Missing real life? Not me. I’m only beginning to discover the joys of life without being stared at for screaming at someone in a parking lot or drinking or drugging in search of something to ease the pain. If anything, life is realer to me now, thanks to my rock, Lex, as well as Dr. Frey and Mary Trainor (my psychiatrist and therapist) and my support group. Thanks for this discussion, Leesa, and for welcoming responses. Peace, Amy

    • thanks for your response Amy. I agree :). And thank-you for pointing out how very important it is to have a supportive network. This is so essential.

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