Thursday, October 22, 2009

In which I climb upon my soap box...

My mom had 9 children. All of them without any kind of pain killer. One of them in the “comfort” of her own bed.

You know, 30 or 40 years ago, there may not have been a lot of safe options for pain free childbirth. And somehow, because women have been doing it for years, a Badge of Courage has been attached to a “natural” child birth. (little caveat here: couldn’t ALL child birth be deemed natural since the natural result is getting the baby OUT?) Anyhoo, I entered my child-bearing-years ready to earn this invisible Badge of Courage.

And I did pretty good too. Until I hit .5 centimeters… Then I was BEGGING for something. Anything. PLEASE take the pain away and to heck with the Badge of Courage.

I had the option, and I opted.

And guess what?

Once the medicine kicked in, I relaxed. Enjoyed the process. Even took a nap. For every baby, I have had medicine to numb the pain. And every baby, I have been able to enjoy the process.

Interesting, huh? Once you take away the thing that is hurting you, you can actually enjoy the process

People use the argument to “justify” epidurals (as if they need justification), “You wouldn’t get a root canal without being numbed first, would you?” Well, actually my dad used to do that. Cavities, root canals – no Novocain. So that never really helped me any. I just had to come to terms that I was the kind of girl that didn’t enjoy pain and could have a much more healthy delivery WITH medication.

Now, despite what you may believe thus far, this is not a post about epidurals. Or Novocain.

It’s about medicine. Specifically psychotropic medicines (anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, ADHD, etc)

I will be the first to admit that doctors can over-diagnose and people can over-medicate. I will agree that medicine is not a replacement for sincere effort to overcome an issue, physical or emotional. Exercise, healthy eating, and spiritual steadiness – all these will help the entire body and mind.

But the truth of the matter is, there are some things – some very significant things – for which a person should be medicated.

My husband, in his similar post, mentions this very thing.

Someone with the debilitating chains of anxiety, the darkness of depression or the cloud of ADHD can actually receive help. Rid themselves of the pain. Enjoy the experience of life.

People mistakenly think that Psychotropic medication “numbs” you. That it turns you into a different person. It doesn’t. When you have the right one, it does the opposite. So many people I know tell me it helps them be the person they really are.

But, just like a person who takes medicine for Diabetes must follow a strict diet to maintain good health, there are things for a person being medicated for emotional issues must do to maintain good health. Exercise, therapy, good diet, etc.

Why do we at a society look at psychotropic medicine with judging glance? Because one person is able to pull themselves from the depths of depression through exercise, are we to expect everyone should respond the same way?

If there is a way, legally and with minimal side effects, to relieve both physical and emotional pain, who are we to say someone shouldn’t receive the help they need? Of course I am not talking about doping up every time a problem arises. But I am also not going to tell my friend, who has been crying for days and curled in a ball on the floor, that she doesn’t need an antidepressant. I am not going to tell the little boy who can’t focus that he doesn’t need ADHD medicine. And I am not going to tell the person who lives in constant anxiety to “suck it up and just get over it”.

There is help out there. It isn’t bad. It isn’t against God’s plan. And it can help a person enjoy the experience of life.

(personal side note: I was formulating this post while, without my knowledge, my hubby was writitng virtually the same thing...I guess we have both been thinking about the same thing. :))


Beth said...

awesome post! I am a special ed teacher in a public school and we fight this issue all year long! thanks

Emmy said...

I completely agree. While medicine alone will not make everything better, it can be the stepping stone that makes it so people can even start thinking about making the change they need. Without that extra help it literally is impossible for some people. Thank you for sharing this.

The Walker Family said...

Thank you for your post, I have struggled with depression for over a year and recently have started seeing a doctor and taking medication, I havent found the right one and was feeling like giving up on finding the right meds because they just make me sicker but I just need to keep going until I find the right one, your post reminded me that I am not just a sad person trying to cover my pain that medication has a purpose. Thank you.

Huston Family said...

Amen! Too often we are so afraid of what others might think that we ignore the issue at the expense of our family.

That Girl said...

*clap clap clap clap clap clap clap*

Amen and amen.

That is all.

sweetvictorya said...

So what prompted this post?

Vanessa said...

yes yes yes THANK YOU this is how I feel and it so hard for certain family members and friends to understand this I am just going to send them this post ;)

vanessa from

Jill said...

Thanks. I'm bi-polar and I am as honest as I can be about my struggles, and my need to take medication to 'be myself.' Only through honesty and being open about my disease can I help break the stigma that comes with mental illness, at least for those people in my social circle. I appreciate your post and I hope more and more people can be honest about it so it isn't such a taboo or embarrassing subject to talk about.

sweetvictorya said...

I asked because my son has ADHD. We chose not to medicate him and try to see if we can try other methods. Honestly, I don't think the doctor did enough testing to really diagnose him. Sometimes I want to medicate him, however I question whether it's my frustration talking.

Kathy @ Real Mom, Real Life said...

Crystal, don't give up. Hang in there and soon you will feel better. Victoria, we have seen a lot of trial and error first hand -- between loved ones and those my husband works with. People tend to fight what they don't know enough about. Jill, you are awesome... we need more people willing to be open about these issues so people will stop being afraid.

Feel free to email me if you have further questions! kathysblog(at)gmail(dot)com

Pensive said...

I fight this struggle continually, knowing that I experience periodic but dangerously scary clinical depression. As a man in general, I can't begin to explain the stigma that goes with taking mood stablizers and anti-depressants. But as a husband and father I can tell you that I have almost lost my wife and children by deciding to try to overcome this disease without medication, at time when I was even trying to follow ecclesiatiscal counseling. Sure, there are strategies that elevate overall mood, like diet and exercize. And of course exercising faith and performing service helps as well. But when your disease brings up continual, irrepressable thoughts of self-harm, the medication I take is, in my opinion, my way of benefitting from the inspiration the Lord has granted to the world through the development of medicine. My "noble" intentions of making it without the meds directly endangers my life and my family's welfare. At some point the stigma just fades into background noise.

EmPenrod said...

I've often struggled with the question, "Am I reacting to my own frustrations out of selfishness or what?" Often I'm questioning whether I'm making the right choice, what's the right way to handle each situation. I found myself going crazy because each situation is different, of course the best option is always to love, but if to love is to express and offer strength, compassion, service, companionship and so forth..what is the best course of action when someone you love is hurting, or being hurt over and over and over and over? A friend recently asked me a question. If someone I loved were in a very bad car accident and they had months or years of rehab to go through. The doctor explained to you what they were going through each day. They never felt a minute of relief from pain! And if they moved the pain intensified, but they would not ever get better if they didn't move. So, if I loved them I would encourage them to get their own drink of water, right? I used to think of it in terms of what if they were paralized from the neck down I guess@! I figured then of course I'd have to adjust and keep adjusting! But, sometimes, adjusting and not encouraging someone you love, or helping someone you love to come to a point that they can have the fullness of love, joy, peace and hope in their lives too, isn't loving at all. In my house, medicine assists us, and allows the miracles to come to pass. Though our earthly bodies may be plagued with disability's of every kind, I know the Lord always finds a way to help his people. Thanks for bringing this subject up! Love ya'

Fiauna said...

I get on my soap box about this frequently. I too use the diabetic analogy; it's a fitting comparison. Well said. Well said.

Heidi said...

Very well spoken. Bravo!