The Perfect Storm
As the days start to blend into weeks – and then into months – I have to say, I may actually be starting to adjust to a life free of antidepressants. Friday will mark three months since I took my last dose of Paxil. While I still have good days and bad days, I have to think (hope) that the worst is behind me.
Would I say that my story has a happy ending? No way. I may feel okay most days – but I know it’s not over. The effects of the withdrawal - and years of taking Paxil - will more than likely remain with me for years to come. I still have sensations of electrical short-circuits in my brain - and my ears still ring like a thousand television sets screaming at me.
I do have to say that I feel lucky to have lived through it (so far!) and to have the ability to tell the story. There are so many people out there – just like me – who need help, who need to talk – and to deal with real issues in their lives. It’s just so unfortunate, and quite frankly, tragic, that the very treatment that we looked to for help, could cause so much pain, suffering and confusion. It’s the ultimate irony – you feel down or anxious so you take a pill to feel better – and in the end, that pill only makes you feel worse - and even intensifies the very issues that caused you to seek help in the first place.
I’m starting to think that antidepressants are like the “perfect storm” – everything came together to create the ultimate moneymaker. You’ve got the perfect consumers – people who desperately want and need help. You’ve got the perfect illness – one that cannot be scientifically proven and is subjectively diagnosed. You’ve got the perfect marketing scheme – huge advertising campaigns in magazines and on television that play directly on the consumer’s fears and desires to get better. And, you’ve got the perfect pushers – government regulators and a professional community that have bought into the whole thing hook, line and sinker. The result of this “perfect storm” is a tremendous amount of power and influence that allows the industry to keep the wave rolling.
It’s intimidating – and a little overwhelming to actually fight the storm and try to get someone to listen - or make a change, or for that matter, tell the truth – but at this point, what other choice do we have?