Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Cheese Grates It: Psychiatry and the Push for Normal

This is a response to a post by Russell Duffy about a journey which included dealing with depression and therapy.

Many a person, both licensed and unlicensed, has told me that my mental health issues require me to be medicated and that I am a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad crazy person for refusing to be so.
I'm not saying that medications never help anybody. However, for many people, the cure is worse than the problem.
I can't, for instance, take SSRIs, which are the darlings of modern psychiatry. They fuck with my perception, big time. I normally am not psychotic. I have rapid cycling type 2 bipolar disorder, and my biggest issues are depression alternating with an elevated mood although not full mania, where before being properly diagnosed I would often do things such as take on a second job and/or party a lot. There can also be mixed states, which feature irritability and paranoia, but not psychosis.
If I take SSRIs, I become psychotic. Not like axe-murdering psychotic, which is what most people think of when they hear the word. I'm far more likely to hurt myself than anyone else, however, my thoughts are not grounded in Earthly reality. For instance, Zoloft gave me the perception that my brain had grown tiny hands and was trying to pick its way out of my skull. With Effexor, I jumped up on a counter and was preaching. Prozac made me flat and had me staring at my arm, contemplating cutting it, not for the usual self-harm reasons but because I wondered if I could still feel.
The only thing I take is a form of Lithium which is available without prescription. I take a much lower dose than I would have to if I were to take Lithium Carbonate, because Lithium Orotate is far more bioavailable. 
The therapeutic dose of Lithium, as it happens, is just slightly below toxic levels. Since much lower doses of Lithium Orotate have the desired effect of minimizing the irritability, paranoia and impulsiveness of my disorder, why the hell would I want to ingest nearly toxic amounts of Lithium?
Although psychiatry has come a long way since the early days when those deemed "insane" were locked away in torture chambers, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. I think there is still a tendency to try to make everybody fit the definition of textbook "normal," and that is not realistic or compassionate.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

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