About Me

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Nebraska, United States
A would-be stay at home mom working full-time as a teacher. I teach at my old Highschool, working side-by-side with my own teachers. I blog to keep the Texan grandparents updated and chronicle our life for future reference. (In other words, I don't have a real baby-book or diary.) Comments make my day. Thanks for stopping by! kimlepper at gmail.com

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Typical Tuesday

Without going into an intense medical history, I'm going to just go right out and say it-- I'm on antidepressants and have been since I was 16. I hate it. Not only does it make my insurance rates higher, but it's a pride thing. I hate being dependent on a medication to be able to function. Plus maintenance is justannoying. I have to physically see a doctor to continue my medication every 6 months (even if there is no change in dosage). I know the reasons, I'm just saying it's a pain.


I decided to see if I could go off the meds a few weeks ago (with a doc's help, of course). He put me on a looooong and slow tapper. After the first tapper I was feeling good. I was so excited- I might possibly be med free for the first time in 10 years!! Then, last week, right before the mastitis hit, I took the next step down. This past weekend I had no gumption to do anything. I just wanted to lay in bed all day. I figured I was still getting over being sick. I was still able to function, but felt like I was in a fog.

Then came today. It took me 'til 2pm to get myself bathed and fed. I didn't want to do anything. I found myself wanting to cry for no reason, then burst out laughing when I saw this, then immediately wanted to cry. Again. UG.

The fog, the tiredness, the inability to make myself do the smallest things (the thought of praying made me exhausted) only meant one thing- there was no more tapering for me.

So I'm sucking up my pride and continuing on the meds.

My QUESTION for you:
...Back when I started on the meds there seemed to be a stigma on those who took medication for mental issues. "Pull yourself out of it!" Was the response from many (no one from my family- thank goodness!).

Today it seems everyone is on something. It's no big deal.

Now, are people over medicated these days?
In my opinion, yes.

But that's not what I want to talk about.

Is it just my perception that has changed or are people much more open and accepting about being diagnosed with depression nowadays?


Granddad said...

Yes, we are over-medicated as a society...with a pill for almost anything and everything. Thank the drug companies in their relentless drive for profits for that social development.

Social awareness of depression is much higher and folks are more comfortable with it nowadays. In the "old" days, most folks who were diagnosed as "mentally ill" were those who needed hospitalization and visions of straight jackets and men in white coats made everyone uneasy. If a person was able to compensate well enough not to be hospitalized, then they might be described as "hyper", morose, dull-witted, precocious, over-emotional...or worse..."an hysterical woman and member of the weaker sex"....

Adjusting medication and tapering off is a challenging process for most folks. Some are able to simply go "cold turkey", but most are not. We're talking LONG term chemical changes and some cycling will occur. The hard part...as you have found is figuring out what is normal withdrawal and what is depression reinstating itself.

If you're still wondering how acceptable and public the subject of depression is....count the number of anti-depressant medication advertisements you see on TV in a single evening or day...more than any other single type of medication to my observation.

Shell said...

It's very common now. And completely acceptable. It's almost like more people are on it than not.

Granddad said...

Let's try this again...

Yes, our society is over medicated: a pill for every condition real or imagined. Thank the drug companies in search of renewable revenues and profits for our current dedication to "better living through chemistry".

As for depression, yes, society is less sensitive to discussion of the topic and "stigma" is a bit strong in today's world.

30-40 years ago, the term "mental illness" referred largely to folks who were hospitalized due to their inability to compensate for their condition...in other words, psychotic instead of neurotic. Folks were referred to as "hyper", "morose", "moody", and an old favorite of the 1930s through 1950s, "female hysteria".

As long as they didn't see little green men or run wild through the streets shooting at people, then folks were simply "left alone" and self medicated with liquor and other legal and illegal drugs. Otherwise, the men in white coats came and put them in strait jackets in an "asylum".

And....count the number of ads for anti-depressants during any day on TV....more than any other category from what I've been seeing...hence less public sensitivity to the condition, IMHO.

As for tapering off of medication, I believe that most folks taper too quickly without giving their bodies enough time to compensate for the loss of the drug's stimulus/action. Our bodies need time to respond...and, frankly, just as in diabetes, not all people can control their condition without the need for some external medication.

Unknown Mami said...

I'm on medication for anxiety and panic disorder. I did not start taking the medication until I got pregnant and the hormones made me feel like I was losing my mind. I had always been able to deal with my anxiety through exercise, meditation, etc. I felt stigmatized for having to take medication and many people said ignorant unkind things. It is true that as a society we are probably over-medicated, but this is an issue that must be seen on an individual level. I never saw the need for medication until I needed the medication and now I am just grateful that I was able to get help. Someday I will attempt to go off it, but not until I'm ready.

I'm sorry the tapering did not work for you. Maybe someday in the future. Don't feel like you are sucking up your pride, instead take pride in taking care of your mental health.

Granddad said...

Kim...if I preview my comment, then submit it, it goes into some sort of queue for you to review according to the message I get. It does not prompt me for a word to read and enter....

Kati said...

I don't know if depression is necessarily more common now than it used to be (without looking into statistics), but I'd guess people are more comfortable with seeking treatment than they used to be. I'd also guess that more people recognize what they are going through as depression as opposed to thinking that it is just part of who they are - not something they can fix. Anyway, again, these are just theories.
I wasn't going to comment because I don't know much about it, but I saw today that no one had commented and I didn't want you to feel like you put yourself out there and got shunned for it. :) Hope you are feeling better!

Ram Sam Sam

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