no happy pill for me

I’m an anomaly, I know. I believe in letting the fever do its work and rarely lower it with medications. It is a rare moment when I take (or give) anything for a headache, or a cold, or even a cough, preferring to use old fashioned rest and liquids, tea and cool compresses. Call me crazy.

Don’t get me wrong. If the ones I love are sick I’m the first one to embrace the medications proposed by a doctor I trust, but the latter part of the sentence is key. Too often medications are layered onto a patient as a quick fix, perhaps what most actually seek from our doctors, but in the end I often wonder whether they do more harm than good.

Like the lone person who hasn’t had a drink in a crowd of drunken people, I observe those around me. Highly unscientific, highly speculative, for little do I know the ins and outs of their lives or their bodies, but I see far too many unhappy people, medicating themselves regularly, running off to therapists, yet with what appears to me to be no improvement. If anything, they seem more miserable. The parents are depressed and their children adopt the same patterns and I’ve heard children as young as six say matter-of-factly that they are “sooo depressed” and “need a mental health day.” Excuse my cynicism and my french, but wtf?

I certainly do not minimize the seriousness of true clinical depression, it is debilitating and leaves one unable to escape from that endless cycle without help. What I am seeing, though, is not that.  I would venture to say that most of these “Oh, I’m just feeling so down today,” people just need the tools to turn it around, need to modify their behavior to avoid the things that make them sad and engage in those that draw them from their own heads to a place where they might forget for a bit their own issues and appreciate life and the lives around them. I also suspect that technology does not help, pulling us as it does away from others and even if we engage with others online it is with people of like ilk.

Like most, I too have lived through some difficult times, but I think what saved me was traveling, seeing how in other parts of the world people live through tremendous difficulties, poverty and death (Just look at the people in Japan as an example), yet they continue. They find a way to move on. This changed me, humbled me, made it so that I don’t allow myself to sink into those holes. That’s not saying I won’t someday, I know that we can never predict what is ahead. In the meantime, though, I have my ways of getting through those blues. Oh, my methods change, some are more effective than others, but I always seem to be able to remind myself of how fortunate I am.

Today I heard a story about a mother and her daughter who were at the mall shopping. The mother, stressed out and annoyed with her daughter’s demands and attitude, texted her therapist. Or so she thought, but instead the text went to her daughter, who was, understandably, very hurt. What a mess.



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