The Great Medication Debate, Part 1

"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." — Luke 12:48

Gianna at Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal and Recovery has written a post about reconnecting with her spirituality and working with her doctor on more med tapering. Toward the end, she wrote:

I went for a walk the other day with a woman who could’ve been my client from years ago when I worked with the “severe and persistent mentally ill.” She was so sweet and warm—yet there was a deadness in her that I recognized as familiar from the clients I worked with on heavy neuroleptics. I was so glad to walk with her as an equal and not as a social worker—she is my peer and we talked to each other as such. She is getting tardive dykinesia from her neuroleptic. I asked her how long she’s been on it and it’s been 2 decades. I asked how long she has been stable and she said 12 years. I wanted to scream. This poor woman is half dead inside for no good reason. She is on three medications for bipolar disorder and has had no symptoms in 12 years. I see that as criminal, especially since it’s clear a part of her is dead, just as I’ve been dead for many years but am now coming back to life.

I gently talked to her about talking to her doctor. “If you’ve been symptom free for 12 years maybe you don’t have to be on a toxic drug that is giving you tardive dyskinesia,” I suggested. I didn’t add she struck me as part dead too. I want to help all of us who are being over-medicated and poisoned. How can I do that? This blog is simply not enough.

In response, I wrote this comment on her blog:

When I was at the psych hospital in late 2006, I met
a girl just like this. She wasn’t much older than me – maybe 26 at the
time – and married with two or three kids. She was on lithium,
risperdal, depakote, and probably one or two other drug cocktails that
I can’t recall.

She was so pretty, Gianna, but her eyes were so
lifeless. I know what you mean when you say “dead inside.” I constantly
looked at her as she spoke to me, slow and controlled, as if I could
see her thoughts go from her brain to her mouth. I was always sad after
I finished talking with her. She was only 26 and seemed so dead
already. I looked at her and thought to myself, “I don’t want this to
be me.”

I also remember my father who, after being on
medications, had this zoned, space-out look in his eyes. The sparkle
and mischief from his eyes were gone, never to return. This saddened me
so much so the point that once he died, I was sad that I lost him but
also realized that he’d been dead for quite a while.

This is why I’m wrestling with whether I need medication or not. I don’t want to be dead alive.

doing a great job with her blog, chronicling her journey off of
medication and helping to provide people with the information they need
on proper withdrawal from medication. Her writing is a constant
reminder of the negative effects exist with taking psychiatric drugs.

Current Mood Rating: 3.9

3 thoughts on “The Great Medication Debate, Part 1

  1. (( I am hugging your mood)) it will pass. I don’t say this lightly. I’ve had 2 daughters in a psych ward at the same time in 2 states in 2006. Oldest cut her arms, youngest was gravely disabled. As I drove between hospitals (650miles)I always saw the sunset. I don’t write much on my own blog about spirituality, but just know my mom is a ordained minister for starters!
    We all have journeys. You are just beginning yours and I look forward to reading in years to come–(or drop me a letter snail mail)how you are doing.
    It’s not always in the Bible–and I say that knowing my mom would just (send me to church!)–but it truly is a blend of everything we soak in as people, in this world we have so many other people to learn from, and they are not always sitting in a pew.

  2. PS- that would be 650 miles one way. DBT has helped my oldest to remain in University, gain friends, keep a job, pay her bills and garner an internship that is awesome this summer! She had 1. A therapist 2. A psych 3. Lamictal 4.Seroquel to shut down mania 5. A supportive church family who knows “about” her “bipolar”.
    Marissa, I was online to her in 2006 on IM and she had a “plan”. I called campus police and they had already found her.
    She is 25 and successfully living with exactly what you are…I post this so maybe others know, it’s a combo of things that get us through life.
    You are a beautiful and loving person, and I want you to remain here….forever!
    email me for my snailmail btw.

  3. Thanks, Stephany!
    I, too, agree that we can learn about life and people apart from the Bible. There are areas that the Bible does not cover – things in life that we are left to figure out on our own. And you’re right! – they’re not always in the pew.

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