There are days when I feel like I’ve had well more than enough. That I need to run away and never come back, leaving everything behind. I’ll contemplate what it would be like, what it would feel like, to no longer have the mundane responsibilities and overbearing pressures in my life drowning me, that I have now. My mind squirrels away down every trail it stumbles across with whatever captivates my fancy, only to chase another sparkle down another winding path. If I didn’t get lost within the sanctity of my mind, I would likely do more than just contemplate my getaway, only to sorely regret it in once I arrived at the end of the road, wherever that may be.
We all have these kind of days. They’re the days that make you question what the greater good of everything in your life actually is. Whether or not the living in your life is worth the aggravated struggle it takes to keep it up. The kind of day when your emotions are stretched so thin that anything could become a trigger for the damn retaining the overflow of your soul to release. But, when you have Depression, these days come faster, harder, & more frequently. These kinds of days may be triggered by the outside influences of life weighing heavy on one’s shoulders, carrying enormous loads of stress, but, they are fueled by influences from the inside. The misfiring of nerves, the imbalanced brain chemistry, the racing or irrational thought processes, and the irregular cycles of intensified emotions and feelings of intense despair, among many others symptoms are the enemy in a never-ending battle for control. Those outside influences of stress give aid to the war cause, but, reality is, that the disease is ultimately what generals the army. Depression is The Commander In Chief and there’s no impeachment laws.
As we grow and mature from children to adults, we learn many ways to cope with, handle, and control the many different aspects of our human psyche. Seemingly, the most successful people in life are those who are truly in touch with their own psyche. They are able to control their actions and reactions and maintain a cool, calm, and collected presence in the most stressful of circumstances. This is a near-impossible achievement when you’re diagnosed with Depression. Depression manages to stay one step ahead of the opposing army, cutting off all attempts at preventing it from sinking it’s talons in, relinquishing the dark in replace of the light in one’s life. It takes a full array of life skills, coping mechanisms, maturity, wisdom, knowledge, and support under one’s belt to push back the frontline to one’s advantage.
The pharmaceutical companies take gamble on this factor of the disease. They prey on those genetically stuck between a rock and a dark place. They prey on the fact that therapy, the psychological reconditioning of one’s thought patterns and teaching of those crucial coping skills and survival mechanisms, takes time, dedication, and a willingness to work hard at make change. Instead, those companies advertise promises of quick, easy, chemically controlled cures. These cures only work so long as you take the medication ritually consistent, creating a physical and mental dependence on it to maintain control of the disorder. That fits right in line with the definition of addiction- the psychological dependence of a substance to satisfy a psychological need for the resulting affects of that substance. In this case, the need is instantaneously relief of Depression symptoms, the substance is antidepressant medication, and the affect is the feeling of sanity, a return to the bright side of life, or, at least, a way to keep the all consuming darkness at bay and maintain whatever misguided idealism of what a normal brain might be.
Now, the concept of taking medication for an illness or disease of any sort is not a ridiculous concept at all. It’s the fact that the pharmaceutical companies push these medications as cure-all’s and one-swallow-fixes, misleading people to believe that it is the only necessary method towards achieving that normal brain they crave, that’s ridiculous. That medicating is the only imperative for escaping the clutches of the piercing talons of that twisted, discombobulated Commander In Chief, Depression. Through the suggestive brainwashing of advertisement, the drug companies give credence to the fact that Depression is no different than flipping a switch or setting a timer knob on and off: at 8 a.m. the pill goes in, normal brain turns on; exactly 23:59 hours later the pill wears off. That is a cycle of symptom masking, not a cure of the actual disease! Human error and real life interference are an oversight, no forethought given that the medication will even be used continuously as prescribed, at the specified doses and intervals.
It is a grave injustice to the mental health community for this debauchery, this facade, of mental health care to continue to go on as it is. Family physicians may have enough training to recognize basic mental health symptoms and feel falsely confident under the persistent influencing by Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Representatives, in treating the more cut-n-dry of mental illnesses themselves- Depression, Bipolar, and Anxiety. They will suggest one see a therapist for “added benefit,” but it’s not mandated for treatment. Other alternative treatment options are typically only brought to the table when the patient does so themselves. Medication, alone, shouldn’t be the only answer given, because it doesn’t work as promised for everyone. There must be something more, something greater, enabling the promotion of every option possible and mandating therapy to increase one’s arsenal, in order to effectively combat the frontline, or else, Depression will always win.
It’s a very morose state of unmet growing needs catapulted by financial greed, wealth of power, and a bit of political influence that the Mental Health care system is being controlled by these days. People walk around like brainwashed soldiers dedicated to the organization, oblivious to whether or not they’re actually benefiting from the system, getting the whole story, or being informed of all the truths. There’s a lot of misdiagnosis going on when Family physicians try to keep those “easy” patients, with their insurance monies and self-paying funds, presumptively lining their own pockets on someone else’s sanity. The only person monitoring a chronic, potentially debilitating and life-threatening illness is an overloaded physician of general practice with no extra mental health training beyond the mandatory six-week rotation in med school. Depression is not a drive-thru issue. It’s a serious mental illness and should be respected as such.
When the medical professionals representative of our own personal opinions of well-being don’t take an illness seriously, neither will anyone else. When those professionals covet their patients and refuse to show them the truth about their diagnosis, refuse to give them other options and mandate therapy, they are harming the mental health community. What good does that daily dose of antidepressant medication do when the day has turned rotten and running away is the only feasible option? It’s not going to magically kick your brain and say “Oh, wait a minute! I’m here. Let’s just change those thoughts about all the things that have gone wrong today and are bringing you down, then make you feel all rosy, sunshiny, and happy, again.”
The medications do the best they can to balance the brain chemistry that leads to those thoughts taking over, but they can’t stop them completely. Especially under a general practitioner’s care. They’re not apt to run any testing to make sure the medication is actually changing anything on the inside, they ONLY take the word of their patients, never looking at whether the medication is accurately effective at balancing that haywire brain chemistry. Those pharmaceutical reps will just continue to bait those physicians with their free samples and smooth-talking, hooking them with the guarantee to increase their revenue by treating cases of Depression themselves, leaving their patients vulnerable, misguided, and at risk.
If the stigma on mental health diagnoses is to ever change, so must our avenues of treatment. Therapy must become a requirement, so those of us with diagnosis can arm ourselves with the necessary weapons of control against this lifelong war on Depression- a fight that will not cease until our deaths. Alternatives to pharmaceutical medications must become readily available and easily obtainable. Changes to the structure of combat against this mental disorder are long overdue and necessary, because the next person contemplating driving off the face of this earth, might actually make it to their final destination without regret, lost to the war within their mind needlessly, sadly, unfortunately. An arsenal containing more than just man-made chemical compounds, could’ve saved that soldier of misfortune from being lost forever.