Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Medications, Me, and OCD

At the risk of potentially offending some people, and I sincerely hope I do not, I felt it time to address the issue of medication as it relates to me and my ocd and my beliefs. I emphasize my because I do not want people to think I am forming opinions of what they do, casting judgment on what works for them, doubting their success, or suggesting that anyone stop or avoid the use of medications for the treatment of ocd or any other psychiatric disorder. However, due to the frequency at which people are recommending I go get myself on some medications (every time I post), it's something I need to discuss.

First, I know the people who suggest this to be are doing so out of kindness and compassion, so I hesitate to even post on the topic because I do not want anyone to feel that I am being dismissive of their genuine, caring attempts to help me. I take these acts for what they are, as an attempt to offer me a beacon of light and some hope on this very dark journey through ocd. We know this road, we walk it together, and I believe we all only want the best for each other.

Second, I realize there are people for whom life would be unbearable without certain medications. Medications have their place, and undoubtedly there are situations in which they greatly improve lives and are a necessary tool in a person's quest for health and wellness. I would never try to convince anyone otherwise.

And finally, your life is not mine to live. I have no right to say what you should or should not do. These choices are your own, and I respect them - particularly when they are part of a desire to improve your life.

Now, with all of that said...

My stance on medications is that I will not use or try them unless I have completely exhausted every other option.

I do not like SSRI medication. I think they are profoundly over-prescribed. I think we, as a society, are far too over-medicated. I've had everyone from doctors to friends to strangers trying to shove SSRI medication down my throat for everything from anorexia to restless legs during my pregnancy to PMS and cramps ever since they gained major popularity back in the 1990s. But I have studied these drugs, I know what they do, and I realize that they are truly a last resort.

I have seen far too many people overuse and abuse medications. I also realize that the bottom line remains the same; at the end of the day, I will still have to do my exposures, feel the fear, and press on. Also, I have managed to get through, sans medications, everything that people have tried to cram SSRIs down my throat for. This does nothing to bolster their case.

All feelings aside, there is also the matter of my spiritual beliefs. I am a Buddhist. The fifth precept advises that we should abstain from intoxicants. Now, I do have an occasional drink. Clouding my mind for a mere few hours versus weeks or years on a medication is a huge deal-breaking difference for me. Alcohol also does not chemically restructure my brain. SSRIs do. I believe that my faith and the use of psychotropic medication are mutually exclusive in all but the most unavoidable cases. I'm not saying that good people who follow the Buddhist way of life cannot take necessary medications, I just find it far too difficult to take SSRIs seriously considering their copious overuse, the kickbacks received by the medical profession, the endless indiscretions of Big Pharma, and the fact that (as I stated before) I've been offered SSRI medication for so many things that I find it more than a little disconcerting. The lawsuits spawned by the prolific "popularity" of SSRI medications is enough to scare anyone to their bones. I encourage you to Google this, only for informative purposes. I believe many people are far too uninformed about what they ingest daily, be it medications or even genetically-modified food.

I hope that clears things up about where I stand on medications for me personally. As I said before, I do thank you for the concern and kindness. I realize these things come from a positive place. I hope you, too, will understand that we all think and do differently. This is the path I've chosen to go.


  1. I totally respect your view, med's are a very personal decision and agree many medications are over-prescribed. In particular I worry about children who don't really have a say - a friend of mine who is a pediatrician says she has so many parents come in and "demand" meds for their kids, when it is not ADD but simply parents who don't want to parent.
    I have actually worried about long term medication use and what it does to my kidneys.
    Have you ever watched Food INC.? It is really scary.

  2. Yes. Even the medications which have been proven safe for adults may not necessarily be safe, or at least 'as' safe, for kids. Even ones that are can have unintended effects. My mother was the type who demanded antibiotics for every sneeze, 'just in case'. She would doctor shop until she found one willing to over-prescribe medication the way she wanted. As a result of being on sooo many antibiotics as a child, I am either allergic or sensitive to all but a very select few.

    And yes, I've watched Food, INC. The Future of Food is a must-see if you liked that one. Forks Over Knives is another awesome one, as it explores how food is used as medicine. Also worth a look is Big Bucks, Big Pharma: Marketing Disease and Pushing Drugs available here: http://www.democracynow.org/2007/1/19/big_bucks_big_pharma_marketing_disease

    Yes, I love documentaries :)

  3. Here's what helped me tremendously. Have no doubt in your mind that the fact that you are already married and have had children makes you so much stronger then you can possibly imagine. You have done all that with OCD. I couldn't have gotten to where I am as a wife and mother (could not have dreamed I could even do that) though without the help of this website http://www.ocdonline.com/ Behavioral therapy is underrated, inexpensive, non toxic and can be done alone ;) The single most helpful thing for me has been to always seek the positive in what's happening. When you say I refuse to take meds, all I hear is she's going to love Behavioral therapy then! Look to what you want, not what you don't want. You want to feel safe. I'm tired of this way of being too.. it's so hard. Exhausting, and as a mother.... I don't think there are words for it. I applaud you for writing your thoughts here... I yearn to be so brave.