Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Monday, September 6, 2010


I should know better. I should know better than to open their discussions and follow their threads. Their rantings are always the same, and they are based on nothing more than their own perceived experience. Yet they present themselves as authorities on the subject. I should know better than to get involved, but today I apparently didn't.

I found a psychology discussion board on Craig's List today. Didn't know they has such a thing, so I opened it up and took a look. Against my better judgement, I opened a thread about psych meds. Bad idea. Rant, rant, rant, rant, rant... If I were to believe any of the crap I read, I should be a.) dead, b.) in tremendous pain, c.)just as crazy as ever, perhaps even more so, or d.) all of the above! Hmmm... I wonder how I've survived these many years?

The rantings were led by a writer who claimed to still be "recovering" from taking psych meds 18 years ago! She complained over and over again about how much pain she's been in ever since taking these meds. Fine. That's her experience, and for her own reasons, she connects her pain to psych meds. Unfortunately, she didn't stop there. She went on with wild claims, presented as fact, about how psych meds effect the body and brain, and why they cause pain and suffering to "anyone" who dares to take them. If it wasn't so irritating, it would have been comical.

Unfortunately, it's not comical because people with these extreme, unsupported views perpetuate the stigma and myths surrounding mental illness. Rantings such as these may keep people from seeking the treatment they need and deserve. They spread fear. It's too bad.

I've said it here before, and now I'll say it again. I would NOT be alive today if I were not taking my meds. My psych meds are no different than my asthma drugs. I probably wouldn't be alive if I weren't taking the asthma drugs either! Pain? Suffering? Craziness? Yup. I've got all of those in spades when I don't take my medication! I'm not going to tell you to take meds. There are a lot of ways to treat mental illness. But for some of us, these meds--instruments of torture if I were to believe the ranters--are an essential piece of healing.


Lisa said...

I agree 100% with you. I would not be where I am in recovery without meds. The reality of the ignorance of this world still astounds me sometimes.

Take care, hope you're doing well

Anonymous said...

What a horrible thing to say about meds (not you, the person on the forum)! And it's especially sad because people believe anecdotal evidence. Of course she has a right to say what she wants, but it's just upsetting that people will listen and may not get the help they need.

Oy vey.

Wishing you well,

A. Paige Turner said...

I've told you before - and I don't say it flippantly - I thank God, for people much smarter than I, who are able to figure out if, you combine (a), (b), and (c) - a person can have a much more positive life experience.

I liken speaking to those who do not understand mental/emotional illness, to describing an elephant to a blind man. I don't care WHO you are -- every human being is one tragic or terrifying, etc. experience from the edge. (i.e., just like cancer - mental/emotional illness does not play favorites).

The thing that DRIVES ME NUTS!! (Pun intended ~ SMILE!) Is when someone begins to take an anti-depressant, then a few weeks in, feels better AND STOPS TAKING THE MEDS!! That FLIPS ME OUT!!!!

HEY!Dumb ass!! You feel better BECAUSE of the meds! SO KEEP TAKING THEM UNTIL A PERSON WITH A DR'S DEGREE SAYS TO STOP!!! It is called 'self-medicating' and I don't understand people who do it!

** MOVIE stars and public figures are the worst about this - I hate it! Yes! they got better JIFFY-QUICK ~ They have the $$$ to be surrounded by the best of the best 24/7, and they have the help others can't afford. Just because Jim Carrey came off his anti-depressants' doesn't mean YOU need too!!!!

I will be on anti-depressants the rest of my life ~ and I say, "THANK YOU GOD that I live in a time and place where I have this option!!!"

(((*** ETTA!!! As far as the woman on the board? ~ I am certain this woman has EXTREMELEY deep issues that Craig's List can not fix!!! And I hate it -- I truly do -- but it is up to EACH PERSON, to help in their own healing ~ gritching on Craig's List is in no way healing...sounds like she enjoys being unhappy!!!)))



etta said...

Thank you, Maggie Beth! I loved the rant! And I totally agree about the ranter's deeper issues! Her energy would be much better spent healing herself. Of course, that would require taking responsibility for how she feels in the first place! UGH!

TDR said...

That was an interesting rant. But if I'm honest, I feel ambivalent about the whole issue of meds. In my own case, they do seem help. But I still don't really feel comfortable about taking them, even after several years.

Part of this is wondering about the long term side-effects. Like all of us, I've read various internet horror stories about "how [insert drug name here] destroyed my life". And anecdotal or not, reading these things does have an impact.

But on a deeper level, I guess I feel ashamed that it is necessary for me to take drugs in order to function somewhat normally. Of course, I know there is no real difference between mind and body, and if it is fine to take medicine for a flu, asthma, or whatever, it is also fine for things that effect the brain.

But at the same time, I still have this feeling that I should be able to just pull myself up by my bootstraps and get on with things, stop relying on medication as a crutch. I know this is somewhat irrational, but I can't seem to help feeling this way. I think many people do, and this is part of the reason the anti-med stories have such an effect on people.

etta said...

Isn't it interesting, D. Reader, that we don't place the term "crutch" on blood pressure meds or allergy pills?

Evilyna said...

Dear Etta,

I don't know if this is the proper place to talk about my own issues, but here goes nothing. I was recently (in March) diagnosed with a form of depression. The psychiatrist seemed very concerned for me and suggested I take medication for my condition. At first, I was reluctant to take the medication... and I still am reluctant. I've heard many anecdotes about gaining weight (I was anorexic, so this is a HUGE concern), getting more suicidal, etc. after taking the pills, so naturally, I avoided taking them as much as possible. I didn't want to admit I had a problem. I felt stigmatized and as if I was a burden to my own family. Now, the depression is crushing me. I eat very healthily and keep hydrated. I go for runs and workout frequently, but I still feel depressed. Just last Sunday, I wanted to break down and cry in the middle of my run. I've already made an appointment with a psychologist... but I'm afraid to go back on pills.

You seem like you have a lot of experience with this and I hope to be as vocal about my own depression one day. Right now, it's my personal white elephant standing in the room.

Do you have any advice at all for someone like me?


Borderline Lil said...

Stigma and ignorance are ugly things. Good for you Etta for fighting back and being part of the positive movement showing that medication for mental health is no different to other "physical" illness medication.

Anonymous said...

Amen to this post!

People like her are what give meds a bad name. Those of us who are on the aforementioned meds are now stable and have other things to do with our time than type a misinformed rant on Craigslist, right? (Jab at dumb woman on craigslist)

etta said...

Dear Evilyna--
When I break down and cry in the middle of a run, I know I'm in a very bad state. That's not normal. How you're feeling is serious, and you should take it seriously. As I said in my post, I can't tell you, and I won't tell you to take medication. All I can speak from is my own experience. And in my experience, when I'm crying in the middle of a run and/or feeling crushed by my mood, it's usually resolved with a slight med adjustment. I encourage you to talk to someone locally about how you are feeling. Take care.

Evilyna said...

Thank you Etta for your swift response. I know you can't provide me answers about medication (only MDs and psychiatrists can do that..) but I guess I needed to hear someone else's opinion on the matter. I have a tendency to brush off major problems because I feel as if I'm being selfish or a burden. Hopefully on the way to recovery soon...

Thank you again. :)

Anonymous said...

I do workshops with women and topics such as depression come up... often have someone or other saying meds are evil and don't work- should never be taken! One person went on to say that St John's Wort and Valarian root work well for any mental issues.

Well I feel my blood boil whenever someone pulls the old "meds are evil" rant. I am here and happy due to my anti-depressants and in the shape I was in during my major depressive episode taking anything short of SSRI's and benzodiazipines would have done nothing.

Everyone's different but for many of us meds keep depression under control and allow us to lead "normal" lives. Ya great post!
Cheers! Sarah