Sunday, February 03, 2008

Battered Beyond Blue

(Therese pointed out to me in an email that the word "crutch" used the way I did has another meaning which is negative. Taken that way, what I wrote is insulting which is not what I intended. I have edited the article accordingly. Douglas, 2/4/08 7:56:21 AM)

I'm taking a moment out of my hectic evening to reply to an article I read while I was taking a break. My blogging friend, Therese Borchard, a fellow Psych Central Best of the Web Mental Health Blogger, writes Beyond Blue over at Beliefnet. Recently, she wrote about the death of Heath Ledger as I had done. Although her commenters are legion compared to my silent bunch, she, too, was chided and reprimanded for her belief system. Apparently, it upset her a great deal.

Therese and I don't see eye to eye on one issue and that is the issue of medication. While Therese advocates the use of pharmaceuticals to abate her Depression, I advocate the use of determination and positive thinking. We both respect each others opinion, but we are apparently alone in this. I have been railed upon time and time again by insecure, hostile, snarky, grumpy, veritable in-patients because of my stance (as I recently wrote about). They accuse me of belittling their own problems, they accuse me of not truly being Depressed, they accuse me of irresponsibility, they accuse me of insensitivity, they accuse me of cruelty and ignorance and foolishness and the cause of all that is wrong in the world. I represent to them the "Just shake it off" clods who caused them pain from the time they first remembered pouting for no reason at all. I am the Grand High Priest of Indifference to them and they come armed with their self-righteous indignation and attempt to foist me upon a cross.

On the other side of the issue, Therese is chided for relying on medication. They label her mentally and spiritually weak. Since her articles seem to engender responses more than mine, she is buried in comments — many supportive, many not. For Therese, the Law of Attraction people are her bane. So pummeled has she been that she shudders when somebody mentions "positive thinking," as if happy thoughts alone scare away Depression like a light into the heart of darkness. Everybody with an axe to grind against the pharmaceuticals starts swinging in her comments section it seems and it is sometimes too harsh for her to bear. When I am attacked, I get facetious and give it back to them. Some would say it is not Christ-like, but then I'd read them things Christ said to the Sadducees (A den of vipers, indeed!). But I'm cheeky. I'm not a kind, gentle person like Therese. I'm more likely to get a gleam in my eye as I roll up my sleeves and dive into the fray. Everybody can't be like me. I'm Irish and Italian. Besides, I bet she'll live longer.

What I find fascinating about this is that both Therese and I received reprimands for our beliefs over the same topic, Heath Ledger, even though we stood on different sides of the issue. Personally, I think the guy was an idiot. He was drop dead handsome, had the world at his feet, and threw it away into his veins. He chose drugs over his wife and child, just like Andy Gibb. Let's see, sex, snuggles, and happiness with a gorgeous woman, or getting high. Hmmm, so hard to choose. I think they were both bozos. Yes, they were addicts, and addicts make alarmingly stupid decisions, but I am of the school of thought that we will not be tempted beyond our ability to bear AND that we have the power to change our lives with our very thoughts — to lift ourselves up from our proverbial bootstraps. Ledger chose not to change. I will not apologize for that position. Not everybody is helpless. Not everybody needs meds. Some toss meds away like crutches and walk when they have healed. Others never need meds at all. I want to be one of those people.

Here's the rub, however. The enemies of my school of thought are quick to pounce on their assumptions. Am I attacking Therese? They would like to think so, but what do I know about Therese's struggles? Who am I to say what she can bear and what she cannot? The fact is, I don't have any idea so I do not pronounce judgement upon her. I may disagree with her emphasis, but it's her emphasis to make. Medicine is not an option for me. Pharmaceuticals DAMAGED me. They fried my neuronet and left me disabled and worse off. I hate psychotropic and anti-depressant meds. I loathe them. I was better off just moody and distracted. Now I tick and twitch like a fish flopping about on dry land, helpless to save itself. Or I s l o w d o w n and can do nothing more than sit in place until the episode passes. Suffice to say, ticking is not a disability I enjoy. Thanks, modern pharmacology.

Back to Therese. Putting aside the hypocrisy of Law of Attraction advocates who criticize others in a not-so-positive way, or judge and condemn because they trust EVERYTHING in Jesus and look down upon those who do not, I think people should leave Therese alone. Let her live her own life. I'd like to see her embrace meds less. I could show her studies upon studies that show meds have little efficacy over time and are often nothing more than placebos. I could preach the Cognitive Behavior Therapy doctrine and talk about how to truly think positively for change. Instead, I hold my tongue. It isn't my place to troll on her blog, and it's not the place of others to troll there or here, too. Some people need meds, some people do not. People who need meds to function can find comfort and tips over at Beyond Blue and people who want to deal with Depression, Anxiety, AD/HD, etc. without meds can find comfort here at The Splintered Mind. In the end, we all want the same things: happiness and stability. How we find those qualities are personal choices only we can make for ourselves, but we shouldn't attack those who choose differently than we do.

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