I, well my doctor, recently made a change to some of the prescriptions that I take and it got me thinking about psychiatric medications again. It’s usually something that I think about for a few days, it kind of bothers me a little, but then it eventually fades away until next time. So, I thought this would be a good forum to voice some of my thoughts and maybe get some of your opinions too.
I’ve come up against this topic many times in recent months. Sometimes it’s just a fleeting thought when I take my pills in the morning. Other times it lingers and I do some heavy thinking on the subject. But it always feels like the cycle is the same. If you’ve ever taken medications for anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness, you might be familiar with the feeling. You reach for the bottle of pills to take your daily dose and a pang of uncertainty crosses your mind. Should I really be taking these? What does it mean that I take medicine that messes with my brain? I guess the core of it is that something about taking psychiatric drugs feels wrong. I have asthma. Every morning I take two puffs of my inhaler before brushing my teeth, and then I move on to a day of easy breathing. I have no problems taking the medicine, and I simply see it as a way to fix a basic problem. No big deal. But when I reach for the anti-depressants (some anti-depressants are standard prescriptions for OCD) I get this lingering, questioning uncertainty.
Now, logically, I feel like there shouldn’t be any difference. OCD is a physical, biological disorder just like asthma. If I can take a prescription for one, I should be able to for the other as well. But somehow, the knowledge that the medicine will affect the way I think changes the picture. I find that my line of thinking follows a lot of what our society has to say about mental illness. Somehow, it just seems different. Again, I know it shouldn’t be, and I wish my gut instincts would reflect that. But for some reason, they don’t.
If I take medication that changes how I think or what I think about or how I feel, am I somehow messing with who I am? If I automatically think in a way that is somehow deficient, should I change that at the risk of changing something more central about myself? I feel like this is the point at which my therapist would step in and ask me to identify the distortions in my thinking, but I don’t want to be objective today. I want to wonder about why my instincts tell me to back away from something that ultimately makes me better and healthier. Why is that I am ok with medicine messing with all the parts of my body except for my brain? I think it’s because it’s so hard to see a dividing line between my brain and my mind. Are they one in the same? Western ideology certainly says so. “I think, therefore I am.” But is it true? Maybe I should explore some eastern psychology on the topic.
Thank you for listening to my rant. I’d love to hear what you think about the topic, whether you speak from experience or just personal opinion!