Prozac vs Perfectionism

It took me almost two full years of suffering with severe anxiety to finally go on anti-depressant medication at the age of 23.  And that was only after the continuous urgings of a good friend.  But I never really accepted the fact that I really needed this medication…until now.

Up until last year, I would still periodically torture myself by trying to get off my medicine.  I would secretly wean myself down to a very low dose,.. not even telling the doctor who was prescribing it… until it was too late.  Then I would start having the anxiety attacks again, and thinking I was going to die in my sleep, and obsessing about death and dying, and I’d get heart palpitations to the point of forcing me to the emergency room (where they always told me “it’s just anxiety”) – – and then I would have to wait several weeks for the higher dose to kick-in.  And I would always vow that I’d never try to go off it again…until a few months later.  (Now that I think about it, isn’t that the same way I always handled my food problem?)

It has literally taken me DECADES to finally come to terms with the fact that there are just some people, like me, who need anti-depressants – – the same way a diabetic needs insulin.  I am talking about people who use it correctly, here, under close medical supervision.  Over the years, I have been told by many doctors and psychologists that there is nothing to be ashamed of  – – that I have a chemical imbalance that is probably hereditary.

So imagine my shock several months back at hearing someone at a meeting telling the group that being on anti-depressants is the same as being “on drugs,” and that people who take them while in program are “not really clean.”

Are you KIDDING me?!

I had all I could do not to jump up and scream at this person.

First of all, no one should be speaking “at” the group.  In program we are taught to share our OWN experience, and to NOT assume that what is right for us is right for others.  But aside from that, it is COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE for someone in program to make general statements about the taking of ANY type of medications!  Talk about being presumptuous, self-centered, and SELFISH!!  Suppose there was someone in the audience who was suicidal?!  Who is only still alive thanks to this type of medicine?  Maybe they are only able to get to a meeting BECAUSE they are on it!  And maybe their newly-found abstinence or sobriety is the only positive thing in their life right now!  Who has the right to take that away from ANYone?!  EsPECially from someone in such a fragile mental state?!  That important point aside, this doesn’t even begin to address the issue of anyone in the audience (like myself) who may already be battling their own inner demons with respect to this matter.  What good does it do these people to be told that they are failures?!  Clearly this is something people need to resolve FOR THEMSELVES!

Moral of the story?  DO NOT let others in program become a substitute for your doctor, your intuition, or your God!  Listen to God, listen to your body, and listen to the advice of more than one medical professional.

IMPORTANT!!!! 12-Step meetings are NEVER the place to get your medical advice! 



June 22, 2012 This post was written by Categories: I Wish Someone Had Told Me... Tagged with:
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