Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Crying Game

I am a 36 year old disabled woman who has been variously labeled "fat", "crazy", and "a hippie weirdo." I now try to embrace labels that others use in an attempt to "shame" me into being someone more "acceptable". I am passionate about issues of race/racism, criminal (in)justice, fat acceptance, and mental health advocacy. I blog at My Name Is JuJuBe and I am on the team at The Intersection of Madness and Reality
 

I am a crier. I cry at TV shows, movies, new articles, even TV commercials. I LOVE a good cry. But, for a period in my life, I was totally UNABLE to cry. I could not figure out why. I would feel like crying. I would WANT to cry. But, nothing would happen. All those emotions stayed bottled up inside with the tears I could not shed.

I was in a psychiatric day program at the time, and I complained to my shrink that I had forgotten how to cry. He had a simple solution for the problem. He took me OFF of my anti-depressant, and lo and behold, within a few weeks, I had regained the ability to cry. And, boy did I cry!

I cried all the time again. Not out of depression. Not even out of sadness. I cried when I was touched. I cried when something or someone pulled at my heartstrings. I cried at music, literature, Youtube videos. You name it, I cried at it. And I LOVED IT. I still cry now, though not with the same intensity as when I first got my tears back. I tear up at movies and TV shows. Sometimes I even tear up when I am reading.. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

I am an emotional person. I do not like to bottle things up, and crying helps me to relieve my pain and anxiety. So, I have made the decision that I WILL NOT take anti-depressants again. Nor will I take mood stabilizers. I HAD sworn of ALL psychotropic medication, but when my anxiety started getting really bad, I had to give in and take an anti-anxiety medication. Not one of those real powerful, addictive ones. Just a real mild little something to take the edge off.

A few years ago, I lived in a house that was owned by an agency that provided housing for mentally ill individuals. I was REQUIRED to take medication. Someone even came over twice a week to monitor and count my pills. I thought I was going to have to take meds for the rest of my life.

When I moved to my own apartment, I continued the medication for a while, CONVINCED that I would fall into a deep depression or get extremely manic if I did not take pills every day. About 2 years ago, I just decided one day to not fill my prescriptions (NOT recommended, it CAN be potentially deadly if you don't taper off) I go through bouts of depression. I go through manic periods. BUT, it is nothing I cannot get through with the help of a few good friends.

In this society, they want to medicate us for everything. I mean, did Restless Legs Syndrome even EXIST before they came out with a medication to "cure" it? I hear of children as young as five years old being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (which rarely starts earlier than the late teens to early 20s) and given medication. They give us pills because they do not want us to be too "difficult". But, it deadens us.

It makes us fat. It decreases our sex drive. It causes us to be unable to reach orgasm. It deadens our emotions. It makes us PLIABLE. It make us VULNERABLE.

Now, I am not saying that NO ONE should take psychiatric medications. I mean if someone is hallucinating, or having delusions and medication can make them stop, then by all means prescribe something. BUT, psychiatrists often like to prescribe as many medications as they possibly can, in hopes that ONE will work. And DAMN those pesky side effects. Just a small price to pay.

At one point I was taking 9 psychiatric medications a day. Now, I take ONE. And, I feel SO much better. I am more productive. I can think and write better. My fantasy life (I have a vivid imagination) was GONE when I was on medication. Now, it is back. I can cry. I can dream. I feel like a million bucks.

Taking medication might have been necessary for me AT SOME POINT (though it is debatable) but now I do not need it. I feel like I am free now. I feel like I can be me. I feel like I can fly!