Dear You,


Thank you.  Thank you for stopping by.  This is going to be  a more personal post, because I need to get some things off my chest I suppose, and onto “paper,” so to speak.  This morning marks the third consecutive class I have not-so-accidentally skipped.  Why?  Because, quite honestly, I have just not felt like going.  Yes, I know that is a terrible excuse, but hanging at Starbucks across the street getting some work done and reading while sipping on a freshly brewed Christmas Blend coffee is oh so enticing – and better than lab and lecture I might add.  There is also a lack of motivation, but all of this does not really add up to missing so many classes.  Another ppor excuse is that there is a group of four kids that really bother me since they are just so immature, and there is just a weird dynamic between them and me for whatever reason.  They belong in high school to be honest, not in my college course.  Okay, enough of that though, I just needed to let that one go.  But there is something else I am inclined to discuss, and that is the ever lurking sense of yet another depression coming on.

This may take some time to explain, but I need to get this out so feel free to skim through or skip to another post entirely.  But I sincerely thank you if you opt to continue on reading word for word.

Let me give you a bit of context.  I have wrote some bits and pieces about my mental health experiences before, but never too in depth.  I might get a bit more so here and now.  I am afraid of another bout of depression for obvious reasons, but also because the potential still exists for such an episode to ruin my semester, academically speaking.  And I am set to graduate this December!  This means I have one month to hold off any damning disorder, because I cannot afford to delay my graduation any longer.  I have been attending this same community college ever since I graduated high school in 2009 – so yes, this is going on my fourth year at a two year school.  But that does not really bother me too much anymore, for I am over the fact that it is taking me a bit, or a lot, longer to get through college than some other people.  Now I could care less, even if at times I still do think about that face and its significance.

So then, that is a bit of academic history, but let me get into my mental health situation.  You see, I mention that I am afraid of a potential upcoming depression.  However, I must stress to you that this is not a typical situation.  Let me put it to you like this – I have been numb for the vast majority of the past few years.  What does this mean, you ask?  This means that I do not feel my feelings, I do not think my thoughts, I am essentially a living dead man, a zombie, a mindless drone, whatever you want to call it, this is fact.  Believe it or not, this is very much the case, but I am not going to plead to you to understand completely what I am like.  That would be like attempting to describe the indescribable.  For, how do you describe the absence of thought and feeling?  This is a very serious question because I used to write in journals about my overactive emotions or mental stresses but I have lots of trouble trying to write about…nothing!  And this is not like a meditative nothing, its more than just a vast emptiness or void.  All I know is that this condition, if it can be called that, is horrid.

There are people suffering who wish nothing more than to feel nothing.  But let me tell you from experience, I would much rather be feeling something, however negative, than nothing.  The very humaneness is sucked out of me.  My mind is just like a blank piece of paper, only nothing can be impressed or written upon it.  If any of this makes sense, then I am somewhat impressed.

You may be wondering why?  What causes this sort of thing?  Let me preface this by saying this is my own very personal experience and that I am by no means trying to explain everybody’s experience with mental health, depression, psychiatric drugs, and so forth.  So I guess you can take this with a grain of salt.  That being said, I know I am not alone in feeling this type of way, or nonfeeling might be more accurate.  I just want to say this because I have strong views on the subject of psychiatry, and I also realize that many people do not share these views.

All I can say is that this is what I have found to be true, and nothing but honesty can be found in the following words.  Take from it what you will.

My emotional, mental and spiritual numbness is directly caused by the very “medications” I am prescribed and take to treat my “illness.”  Yes I am purposefully using quotations here.

There is a gigantic problem in psychiatry and that is psychiatry itself – in short, the very thesis of biological or “modern” psychiatry is simply untrue, false and very destructive.  This is a condensed version, but essentially psychiatry says that all mental illness is in fact a physical disease or illness due to imbalances in certain chemicals in the brain that result in prolong sadness, for instance as in depression – among other criteria – which can be effectively treated by manufactured chemicals which work to balance out the imbalances thus supposedly curing or at least helping the patient feel better.  That is psychiatry in a nutshell.  Contrary to popular belief however, the fact of the matter is that there is no proof for this theory whatsoever.  In other words, depression – and other types of mental illness too, but I am going to be primarily discussing depression – is NOT an illness.  That is a stone cold fact.

Sadly, this is not pronounced as truth.  Quite the opposite.  I actually wrote a sixteen page paper (even though it only had to be around 5 pages) for my current moral and social issues class (contemporary ethics, in other words).  I may post that, because even though I consider it a part of a larger work in progress, it outlines a lot of what goes on.  I basically argue that the direct to consumer advertising of antidepressants among other psychiatric drugs is unethical.  There are plenty of reasons, although I am not going to get into all of that right now – I can post the paper if there is interest.  My main point here and now in this regard is simply that the general public are led to believe, as well as the professionals, that depression is an illness requiring a prescription or perhaps more than one to treat.  And that, besides maybe ECT in more severe cases, is the sole effective treatment.

This psychopharmaceutical complex as its called is terribly destructive, that even kills people (think drug-induced suicide cases).  The psychological effects alone are tremendous.  People are led to believe if they feel kind of down for more than a couple of weeks then they are depressed and need to see the doctor.  This inevitably means obtaining a prescription that may be refilled for an indefinite period of time.

Before I go off on a complete tangent, let me get back to, well, me.  What I am getting at here is that, again this is very condensed, these medications that I have been taking for the past five or six years, despite changes is doses and names, have “worked” in a sense but not in a very positive way.  These medications have effectively numbed me out.  There is no doubt in my mind this is the case.  And from a doctors perspective that means they are “working.”  You see, my symptoms of feeling sad, or feeling anything, are pretty much gone.  But that is because I don’t feel a damn thing!!  And that is treatment?

What I am trying to convey here is that there is a conflict of perspective here.  My doctor, and parents, think things are going fairly well.  I am functional.  I can wake up in the morning, get out of bed, shower, go to school, eat three meals a day, I am pretty much “normal.”  However, my views are a tad bit different, or completely.

I recognize that I am doing what I need to do – such as the things I just mentioned above.  But, and this is a huge but, I do not feel like a human being.  Now, I for one would consider that to be a major problem.  However, as much as I have tried to voice this, nobody seems to take it seriously.  Of course, nobody can really understand this state, if you will, and worse still, I am rather accustomed to “living” this way.  That is scary although this is so only because I have been this way for so long, think years.  The novelty has worn away, almost completely off.

But not totally, and that is why I am determined to withdraw from these drugs.  I know that is an integral part of the solution towards “getting better” or establishing a good state of well being.  The idea is pretty simple – I discontinue using the drugs, my feelings and thoughts come back into consciousness, and I can work on things from there, make some lasting changes, and get on with my life.  That being said, I know all to well that one cannot simply stop taking these types of drugs, and I am planning on working with another doctor in NYC that could help me tremendously.  I also realize that ridding of the drugs will not solve all my problems miraculously.  I do know that this is necessary, however, and thus will happen sometime in the relatively near future.

Back to the present though – the closest thing I get to feeling any emotions is this sort of peripheral sensation.  The pseudo-feeling is quite odd, and very subtle, barely recognizable and almost not there at all.  It is just like a sense.  And I sense sorrow.  This is not a good thing.  I cannot afford to get depressed right now, at the end of what is my final semester of community college.  This simply cannot happen, not that there is ever a good time to get depressed, but not certainly is not one of them.

Wow, I wrote a lot here!  Maybe someone read this, hopefully it made some type of sense and please let me thank you for taking the time!!

(you made it)

THE END (for now)!!

To be continued…

Sincerely,

-Paul

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11 thoughts on “Dear You,”

  1. Okay, I read ever single word. You caught my attention fully because I have been going through similar things on and off since High School and I’m 26 now. I am going to be 27 in January, I overwork myself, I am a theorist. I am a dreamer. I have many reasons to be depressed, we don’t need to go down the rabbit hole or anything. The point is that I have a long reply for you, and I hope it means something to you, because your post meant something to me:
    Now, I was placed on anti-depressants, three different kinds over the course of the past year and a half, I walked around feeling like I was numb also, I lost between 20-35 lbs. and I was unable to eat, I hated food, and I love food. I kept asking my psychiatrist for answers, I question everything, and then my anti-depressant was declared useless and I was switched to something else. That is not treatment forget the military industrial complex, we live in a pharmaceutical industrial complex here in America. Do you know how many millions of people are getting pills pressed on them by the medical industry? It’s a terrible solution, that doesn’t accomplish much in my experience. I would never encourage anyone to go off of their medication because I am NOT A DOCTOR OF MEDICINE. I’m just a fellow human. I got through undergraduate school with good friends, and a lot of Starbucks, and sometimes I stopped going to class for weeks and ended up in the dean’s office trying to explain that I went into a sort of isolation can’t get out of bed depressive episode thingy. I worked three jobs and slept four hours a night, I slept through some boring classes right in the Prof’s face. Then I got my Master’s and that involved less sleep and teaching high school, the pressure was unbelievable. But, here I am on the other side, and trying to figure out what to do next. Keep pushing. Don’t let anyone steal your inner fire! I still think you should go onto a four year school because you are a thinker, society is full of clock punchers and they will bore you and make you miserable. Live on or near campus and explore ideas with all kinds of people who are scholars thinking and theorizing like you do, or who are completely different, either way it will challenge, heal and invigorate you. I went off my Paxil, I thought the withdraw would KILL me, but it only lasted about 16 days. Now, I still need anxiety meds, but I’m eating and FEELING, ups and downs… but I can feel. And it’s always a struggle with good days and really awful days, but even people who don’t get declared “majorly depressed” face these battles. This is a part of the human experience. If you look at Psyche it means soul in Greek and depression is a sort of spiritual agony, I don’t know what medication can do for that. For me, what brings me around usually is writing, talking to close friends, and engaging in a little bit of social life, not too much, I like solitude, my life growing up was very noisy. I like good music, and good literature, and art. Most artists and scholars suffer from depressed states, periods, episodes, and it ends up fueling their best work. So, use the pain, even though it feels like you are wrapped in cotton wool and flat-lining right? Use whatever is stirring below the surface to motivate you, to fight to get to December. Sometimes, a short-term goal can snap me right out of a downward spiral, I just pour 100% of myself into that goal. After its achieved, I have to find a new stimulus, but graduation should be your motivator. Post some statements on your wall, the bathroom mirror, I tell myself shyt like “go hard or go home” “be the ball” “just do it”
    and I don’t play sports. It’s just to light a fire in me, when I feel so frozen. Now, buck up, have as many lattes as you like, email your professor and make an occasional appearance in class before finals. I see you with your cap and tassel waving 😀 Keep writing even if its about that “nothingness” it is better to be able to look back at those thoughts objectively, once they have been committed to paper.

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    1. Thank you many times over for A). taking the time to read all of this, and B). write such a thoughtful response! I am sort of at a loss for words after viewing these 3 comments on something that is so personal and trying in my life.

      Thank you!

      -Paul

      P.S. – I will post a picture of my degree or something once I earn it!!

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  2. Hi Paul,
    I see your points and grasp them. I have to warn you in advance I may ramble on here, so bear with me.
    I am against drugs to ‘cure’ clinical depression. I am uncertain if this is your diagnosis? I feel they are a sticking plaster, deemed too convenient and seen as a ‘quick fix solution’ to deeper seated issues that need to be identified, admitted and addressed. Counselling being the best option. I don’t want to type cast anyone though, this is just my feelings on the topic.
    I have some experience with the illness; my Mother has been diagnosed and is on meds (which she swears by, yet still she is as irate, stressed, sad and down) in many ways she is the same as she was before the meds. I also have been diagnosed, but won’t stick by that as I won’t be defined in that sense.
    I see myself as having issues, but throughout the years I am seeing my trigger points more clearly (albeit not always). I have learnt to head them off now and divert myself from them. I think I accept it now, and deal with things better, plus I talk and vent emotions!! My Doctor was keen to put me on meds though. No Counselling, just meds. However, the irony is I am a trained Counsellor! So, I knew what I needed. All things being said I decided I couldn’t take the pills (I did try and felt no difference accept some minor alterations, which were enough for me to think this is wrong).
    I didn’t want to be numb as you said, I had to feel to know. I couldn’t live in a haze and just not deal with stuff. I felt it would store up the emotional issues or create turmoil for a time in the future when I wouldn’t be on meds.
    Can you speak to anyone Paul? Do you trust anyone enough to explain things face to face? Do you know, have an idea what has caused the depression? Do you write about it all enough to clear your mind?
    I hope this new Doctor works out, and he understands your desire to lose the meds. If he can work with you to help fortify yourself then that will be great news. Talking is the key, the more you keep to yourself the worse it all becomes; if the drugs make you out of touch with your emotions and issues then they will never be manageable by you, understood by you or even ‘solved’.
    Oh, please attend class, don’t let a bunch of fools prevent you from completing your education. No one is worth not getting on and living for. I am assuming though that you are happy on your course College? Maybe this is a stress factor in itself??

    Anyway, please let me know how you are, as I hope writing this helped?
    I appreciated you sharing your feelings and thoughts; I enjoyed reading the post immensely.

    Big hugs, take care,
    Bex 🙂

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    1. You’re awesome Bex! Thank you for reading and then responding – it means a lot! I am thinking of maybe making a series of posts or starting a series at least sort of chronicling and describing my personal experience with what most people call mental health issues? At the least, I could update my “About Me” page with some biographical/historical info? Hmm, I will answer your questions though!

      What do you think?

      Thanks again/hugs back,

      -Paul

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      1. Hey, Thanks for your praise Paul, that is sweet and I appreciate your sentiments! I enjoyed reading the post, and do agree I think what you advocate in your response to me would be a good idea. Expand the personal experience of how you feel; I don’t think many people say about the drugs and side affects, how they can ‘manipulate’ your life, and alter you as a person. I just read your new post too, and think you had to be very young when you were prescribed these?? Heavy duty drugs and being young – has that had a more profound effect on you with your feelings? Another question, sorry!

        OK, big hugs
        Bex 🙂

        P.S: I will send you my Facebook link next week. I am currently not 100% happy with the finished product, so when I have stopped messing about with it, it’ll be up and running!!!!!

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  3. Being an experimenter, I once had the opportunity to (legally) go the shrink route with the drugs… I figured hey why not, a chance to see that side. So I got my meds… after about 3 weeks, I started to feel pretty much as you describe… I didn’t like it at all… worst I ever tried (& I tried). Anyway, I knd of took the short route (not recommended) and stopped. Man was the doc mad!
    So hang in there… I agree – the first thing is get off the meds, then take it one step at a time.
    Good luck 🙂
    M

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this, and reading my post. I am glad to hear you got off of them successfully, and it seems like we are pretty much on the same page with the medication. If there is more to your story, or just any advice you would give on the process of weening off, etc. I would be interested in hearing – but don’t feel obligated!

      Thanks again,

      -Paul

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      1. Guess all I can say is that I’m somehow extremely fortunate to be able to just stop… and the doc explained why he was so mad – he’s responsible for my health which I evidently risked without telling him… so might be a good idea to tell the doc, mean it – you’re off, and then keep going – but slow I guess.
        Oh yeah, even after only the three weeks or so, if I remember right, it took me about 5 weeks before I started feeling normal… and that’s a long time for me (with other stuff, max was about a week). So the path may be longer than you expect.
        M

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      2. Yes I know this whole process will take months for my case, but exactly how many I am not sure. I plan on adjusting my plan as I go to best suit my experience.

        Thanks,

        -Paul

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