Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Medical Industry and the Pharmaceutical Industry: Gruesome Twosome

This is a response to a post on the Art and Psychiatry blog about the negative effects of SSRI's.

Prozac made me so emotionally numb that one day I sat there staring at my arm, considering cutting it to see if I could still feel.

Zoloft made me psychotic. It felt like my brain had grown tiny hands and was trying to pick its way out of my head.

Effexor made me manic and psychotic. I jumped up on a counter and started preaching. I scared the hell out of my then thirteen-year-old son.

I have type 2 bipolar disorder. Type 2 does not present with full manias or psychotic features. I have only experienced these issues while on SSRI’s or certain prescription pain killers.

I get that psych medications help some people. For some of us, however, the cure is worse than the problem. It has always seemed to me that the psychiatric industry and, indeed, the medical industry as a whole, are in bed with the pharmaceutical companies and are more than happy to prescribe dangerous drugs to desperate people.

Not psych meds, but I got into it with my primary care doctor the other day. I have a dumpster fire of an endocrine system, including type 2 diabetes. My A1C is very good. My cholesterol is okay, but my triglycerides were a bit high, which is fairly common with diabetes. She wanted to put me on this medication that had the potential for some nasty gastrointestinal effects. I said “no thanks.” I got off Metformin because it was making me feel lousy and because, to be honest, there were times when I didn’t know if I just had to cut one, or if I was straight up going to poop my pants. I’ve been doing fine on Levemir (a long-acting insulin) twice a day.

So my doctor goes on to ask if I’d been “indulging in treats,” and I lost it. I told her that I am trying to survive on $12,000 a year, that I do not get food benefits (I’ve never gotten a straight explanation as to why) and that I “indulge” in whatever food I can get my grubby paws on. I don’t have the luxury of being picky. So she tried to make me go to this diabetes education class. Before I became disabled, I was a nurse, and I’ve been diabetic for five years. I bloody well know how to count carbs and test my fucking blood sugar.

Then, to add insult to injury, she suggests weight loss surgery. She knows that I have struggled with eating disorders in the past. From the start, I told her that I will not discuss dieting, let alone weight loss surgery. When you have an endocrine system like mine, unless you become extremely ill, you’re going to be fat. I told her that I have struggled to not hate myself for years, and that I wasn’t going to let her undo my efforts. I was way past done at that point. I am not going to have a perfectly good stomach amputated and run the risk of lovely complications such as dumping syndrome, explosive diarrhea, and increase risk of death so she can crow about having turned Miss Piggy into a svelte swan.

Addicts, people with other mental illness, and big people get treated like trash by the medical system. We’re treated like we’re weak and stupid. If we refuse to take medications that have had harmful side effects for us, we’re labeled uncooperative.

People with unusual diseases (and even some not so unusual diseases) get accused of lying or told that their symptoms are all in their head.

I swear that medical school makes people lose brain cells. After my father had a major hemorrhagic stroke, the cardiologist tried to put him on warfarin for A-fib. My mother, a retired nurse, put her foot down and said “no.” After the stroke, my father had a couple bad falls, and the bruising spread well beyond the normal range and healed slowly. Warfarin would probably have killed him.

For my own part, I’m disgusted because I’m going to have to look for another doctor. I can’t trust this one anymore. I might just go back to my old doctor. He kind of pissed me off, and he’d do the old “if you’d just lose five pounds, miracles will happen and unicorns will come fart rainbows through your window” bit, but he never once suggested weight loss surgery.

As for mental health professionals, they’re the last people I’ll turn to if I’m having a psychiatric crisis. Honestly, I think some of those fuckers are more screwed up in the head than I am.

I appreciate your blog. I didn’t mean to go off on a huge tangent, but once I started relating my own experiences, I couldn’t stop, because sadly there are so many of them.

~The Cheese Hath Grated It~

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