I've hit the ground. Gone right through it. Never in my life have I felt this. Nothing like this. I've felt shame and cowardice, weakness and strength. I've known terror and indifference, self-hate and general disgust. I've seen things that cannot be unseen. And yet I've known nothing like this terrible, horrible, paralyzing feeling. I feel crippled. Desperate and out of control. And it keeps getting worse. Every day I feel sick. Empty and somehow aching.
~ Tahereh Mafi
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Join me in blogging to erase the stigma of mental illness so our loved ones can seek the help they need.
feel like Jonah in the belly of the whale” three days floating in darkness, damp, and fish bones.
Well, except for the fish bones.
And it was really five days. Plus half of last Friday, when it all started with a little sore throat. That turned into a couple of sleepless nights with an outrageously hacking cough. That is now a mildly annoying hacking cough and a stuffy nose.
All of which is to say – that’s why all the radio silence this week. I was. . . abed.
If I wanted an overflowing inbox and tons of work on my desk, I would have taken yet another day off to rest. But I dragged myself in, politely hacked into a tissue, warned all and sundry to stay clear of the contagion zone, and tried to catch up on three days’ worth of work.
Sick. . .
Drugs are wonderful.
|Image credit: Google|
Call me a coward and hypocrite. . .actually, I accept with grace the first, and scratch my head at the second. I may very well be at other points in my life, but on this one, I’m pretty sure I’ve already stated somewhere in this great white canvas of thoughts and opinions, that while I embrace the natural and alternative path to health and well-being, I also recognize that some drugs are more helpful and indeed necessary for equilibrium and a more “normal” way of life.
So with a “oh what the hell” attitude, I downed Nyquil for three days and sprayed my throat with a nasty No 5 red-based monstrosity that promised “instant relief” (it lied) and sucked on zinc lozenges for hours. Anything to ease the pain.
Well, we’ve already determined I am a coward.
. . .and Ashamed?
So when I read Tania Runyan’s article over at Image Journal today, I understood. PPD is not a type of depression that I have personal experience with, but the shame she encountered ~ both from her inner critic, and those around her ~ that was all too familiar.
I went home, ashamed for even visiting a psychiatrist. I was a strong, spiritual woman. Several people told me not to give in to the pills that “doctors hand out like candy.” Tom Cruise had just lambasted Brooke Shields about taking medicine for PPD, and although I knew he wasn’t the most credible source, his view reflected a common opinion: You’re better than this. . . .I tossed the prescription, vowing to take more vitamins and pray harder.
How my heart ached for her in that moment! The belief that seeing a shrink is somehow, degrading, or means you've hit the mental crap-jackpot, makes me want to pull my hair. Because it's a belief rooted in misinformation, superstitions, and plain bunk. I’ve mentioned this kind of stupid advice from well-meaning friends before, and I’m going to take a page from Bob Newhart and tell y’all to just
Praying harder, sucking it up, putting on your big-girl panties, pushing through the pain, are really just ways of saying:
“I’m uncomfortable with pain in general and your pain in particular. So I’m going to spit out some clichés that I’ve heard other morons say and maybe you’ll be comforted and go away.”
In Ms. Runyan’s case, the pain got so bad, that she wisely went back to the psychiatrist, actually took the medication, and could now function more like herself. Because guess what, strong, spiritual women (and men) have chemical or hormonal imbalances sometimes too.
And there are medications for that. And it's okay to take them.
Do I think that many doctors are happy to be pill pushers as opposed to healers? Yes.
Do I think that all medications are therefore suspect? Hell, no.
Do I think we should be our own patient advocates when it comes to our health. Damn straight.
Now off to find some colloidal silver, pop a zinc lozenge, and maybe down another Nyquil.
Oremus pro invicem,
I’m pretty loud and proud about alternative medicine. But I hope I never hate on anyone who takes meds for things. And you should never feel ashamed for trying to do the right thing. Be healthy my friends – in mind and body.