I chose a long time ago to never be medicated for mental issues. I had no idea what kind of struggle I’d be facing by making that choice.
My mother was a total nut job when I was growing up. Who am I kidding? She’s still a nut job. Most of my late childhood and early teenage years, I watched as doctors used her as a guinea pig. “Hey, here’s this medication. Try it and see.” Then I’d have a zombie for a mother for a couple of days, which really wasn’t always a bad thing in comparison to the raging mess she could be. Then she’d switch to something else, not take it properly, or sometimes at all. She sporadically spoke with therapists, she read a million self help and empowerment books, and she sought to find the meaning and purpose in life. She was tormented for a very long time and I grew up seeing that, watching her struggle during my developmental years. Although she’s mellowed out some, she still struggles with so many issues from anxiety, depression, self esteem, addiction, and co-dependency. It’s no wonder I’m a little cracked in the head. I have some insight to what my mother was dealing with because now I’ve got some of that instability. I always thought I could live my life without being affected. The very thing I was running from, the very thing I thought I was bigger than and couldn’t be subject to, takes control of my mind, and once it starts, it’s sometimes impossible to stop it. I’m 33 and my mother was around this age when she had some of her record breaking meltdowns. Thanks Mom.
At the time, I had no idea, no real clue about mental illness and how it can be passed down from generation to generation, especially when the pattern is also an environmental example. What a legacy to receive. Every moment of my life has been a struggle to fit in. This society and culture still does not completely understand or embrace an individual who has emotional extremes. It’s not accepted or cute or funny. Hell, it’s taken me this long to understand myself, and I’m still a mystery a lot of the time. If I cry in public, people give me looks that range from horror to sympathy, as if they somehow have to personally deal with my tears, my psychosis. If I have a panic attack in a store and I have to rush out, some people grab their children to move out of my way, and some people act like I’m trying to steal something (yes, I’ve been stopped on my way out of a store a few times, but luckily all it took was giving my “crazy” gaze and they let me keep going). If I’m in a social atmosphere and I get overwhelmed all of a sudden, I know to separate myself from the situation for a few moments and I can return, but I get myself worked up and anxious knowing that everybody will ask questions that I just don’t want to answer. I’ve left parties and meetings because the anxiety of the anxiety is too much to handle and it’s easier to just deal with it on my own sometimes. What’s worse is when the people who suffer from the very same thing I do choose to judge. It’s somehow easier for me to accept ignorance from a person who has never been there. I hope for some level of compassion from those who get the turmoil happening inside of me. Rarely do I get it.
Medical professionals vary in what they believe to be appropriate treatment methods. The number of books and stories I’ve read about the treatment of people who suffer, put in asylums and essentially tortured into a hollow, numb shell of who they used to be, they all give me chills. In another life, I wouldn’t have had a choice in my treatment. Even now, after centuries of research, studies, human trials and testing , the medical world still can’t pin point the “right” thing. The human mind is too complex and too many factors contribute to being mentally “off” for any one thing to work for everybody.
“The right thing, a one and done miracle mind healing, doesn’t exist.”
The problem with something like Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is that it’s not a one faceted illness. It requires a lot of time and attention. It requires working out the issues, working out the kinks, constantly, in the midst of flashbacks, paranoia, anxiety, addiction, manic depression, and rage. If I were medicated, I couldn’t work through the issues I need to work through to handle people, to handle life. I’d just be drugging my mind into a false state of complacency and my addiction to said medication would last the rest of my life. Ever been in a real life situation of terror or imprisonment, and you fall asleep to peaceful dreams, only to wake up to the horror all over again? That’s what it feels like to me, trying to get myself out of a medicated fog. Who wouldn’t want to go back to the peaceful dreams? Reality isn’t peaceful, and it certainly isn’t a dream. I refuse to pretend it is.
You see, I have been in real life situations of terror and imprisonment and that is where it began. I was a prisoner in my home for the first 18 years of my life. I was abused, defiled, degraded, torn down, drugged, molested, and neglected, and that was my home life. Then I continued to let my mother’s instability effect me throughout adult hood as she devalued my accomplishments to my face. In addition, I married a man who thought he could play on my crazy as he cheated on me right under my nose and treated me with contempt and disrespect. I also have a father in prison for the crimes he committed against me and it’s not as if I can just be at peace with that and move on. I have to revisit the trauma all over again every 2-4 years when his parole hearing comes up. The flashbacks of being raped and beaten horribly just take over everything, including my dreams, and manic episodes are the worst around that time, lasting months before and after the hearings. I luckily have 2 more years until the next one. Loss is a trigger for manic depression. I found out I couldn’t carry a child, and I became so depressed, that I, without realizing it, became addicted to Oxycodone and Percocet, an addiction that took me years to fight. Out of nowhere, years later, I’d found out I was pregnant, although I couldn’t carry. I lost two babies not long after conception, my miracle babies, and my stepfather within a year. The emotional toll was one of the worst things I’ve ever experienced in my life. I never thought I’d get out of the darkness.
Yet, here I am. Fully capable of telling my story and sharing my struggles with the hopes that somebody else out there needs to hear that it’s okay to refuse to be medicated, as long as you seek help. I see a therapist a few times a month. I have a network of friends who pick me up and lift me up and know when to leave me alone or surround me with love. Most of all, though, I have a voice with writing and I have the power to handle this on my own. I’m stronger because of the struggles, not weaker as many might believe. Come on, climb around inside my tortured mind for a while and see the things I’ve seen, experience what I’ve experienced, and then tell me I’m weak. I dare you.
Non-Medicated demons let loose sometimes to spread their wings.