Pills should be the last resort

Posted on: March 14, 2017


There’s a pharmaceutical solution for every problem. But not every problem needs a pharmaceutical solution.

What’s wrong with being a little crazy? Pills are a quick fix. Our fast-paced society doesn’t value or support the kind of deep work that’s necessary to help people navigate through turbulent waters. It’s more convenient to give a prescription. There are huge multi-national drug companies behind these solutions.

I can see where it’s difficult for a doctor to know what the best course of action should be, and isn’t it better to be safe than sorry? Mental illness exists and such drugs can be life-saving. Antidepressants are helpful and good for some people.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the waiting list for support that people can’t access or afford that’s shameful. It’s the stigma around it that’s shameful. The prevalence of antidepressants in our society is concerning and the side effects have alarming statistics. I think pills should be the last option and not the only option.

We need new mental health models that can deliver services to people today who are really struggling. Give doctors more options and more ideas to tackle the problem of mental health. The mental health community has a history of talking and not acting. We need more youth-friendly, stigma-free walk-in centres. It would be really helpful to have public or private groups that people can go to and talk about what’s been going on in a structured, non-judgemental environment.

Taking pills is not a failure and people need to understand that. If you need the pill to clear your head, by all means, take the pill. What makes me really sad is the number of kids convinced there’s something wrong with them. I think it’s a slippery slope. I’ve seen in my own family where a learned helplessness becomes a way of life.

We need to be told that we can do hard things. Heartbreak, loss, fear, anxiety and pressure are painful and difficult feelings but aren’t necessarily mental illness. We need to be told that feelings are messy and messy is okay.

Let’s stop comparing our daily life on social media with other people’s highlight reels. I think the world would be a happier place if there were less pills, less stigma around pills, and more people to step up and become heroes in their own stories. We should ask ourselves are we the people we want to be right now and be okay with whatever comes up.

Mental illness isn’t a choice, but recovery is. Let’s not let a billion dollar industry tell us any different.

Carrie Wynne

This was first published in the March issue of Hometown News

3 thoughts on “Pills should be the last resort

  1. Clive Grainger

    I find your opinion very offensive,confusing and uninformed about the struggles of managing mental illness. So much so I believe it would be a waste of my breath to explain why.

    1. iver israel

      Hi Carrie, First off I am a little confused by the comment that C. Grainger left. I can empathize with his reaction to this story or opinion would be a better word. My story is one of many that involve life changing moments, changes that left me unable to control any emotion that charged into my mind set tearing it to bits then leaving just as quick as it came. These moments left me absolutely terrified of what my mind would make me think or worse what it would have me do. Sadness was so intense that it would leave me breathless on my knees where ever I happen to be. Then the anger I felt as my mind refused to give me an ‘out’ of these feelings. If it wasn’t for the secretary from my office coming to me and holding me there in the middle of the parking lot, I don’t know to this day what would have happened. That was 15 years ago now. My employer at the time had an excellent health plan and they allowed a 16 recovery period with the HR dept. adjusting my work load. My Family Doc. had placed me on anti depressants right from the get go which in addition to the help from co workers and work load changes my recovery for the lack of a better work seemed to let me get to my normal life rather quickly. But over the years my sleeping habits became worse until I had another breakdown which was not as bad as the first one.. I knew what was coming. I had started breathing differently at these times which seemed to help also along with the increases in my meds. But my inability to sleep and the onset of major nightmares began to worry me. I choose not to and get my Doc. involved at this time because I just felt that the meds were becoming a major part of all these new issues. After doing research on how to come off antidepressants I started by taking early retirement and slowly over 4 months I had gotten to where I felt I could stop the meds. completely. It was risky not doing under the watchful eye of a doc. but I had developed a trust issue. Paranoia was now a factor but I handled that by just keeping busy and not dwelling too long on negative thoughts. I am proud to say that I have been off my antidepressants for 2 months now with no more sleepless night and no more paralyzing (literally I may add) ( scary stuff right there I can tell you) episodes while asleep and not being able to move upon waking. Healthy eating habits and exercising make daily struggles become less and less. The chances of drug dependency is a big issue because it’s a easy fix. I also suffer from inflamed joints etc. because I also have Hep C. Low viral count over the last 35+ years has kept me from taking treatments.. (Trust issues again) Taking pain meds. give relief but don’t solve the problem but again there are ways around these problems. There are still up days and down days but they can be dealt with, without the need of drugs. It’s knowing when there is a beginning of a mood change, learning to embrace it and calmly walk yourself through them. I have but one major dependency, my dog. He may be a small one but there are times his strength is greater than mine… I can live with that. So yes, there are times when pills are needed to help gain control and calm the moods swings down a notch, but with time one can train the brain to control the bodies own ability to heal itself. it’s taken me over a year to get to where I am now and I know it will be a day to day … bump in the road lets say, which is a hell-of-a-lot better then calling it a struggle like it was at first. And by the way Carrie, I’m turning 65 next month and I’m proud to see myself as a survivor. Thank you for letting me share this with you. Writing this to someone I don’t know is also a big part of this type of journey. I was hesitant at first but as I went along the thought of my experiences possibly helping one other person to understand what the human mind and body are capable of doing just made doing this feel right. Positive thinking!!! Cheers!!

  2. Rosemary Boyd

    Food for thought…I don’t find it offensive, confusing or uninformed.
    I look forward to your next article.

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