Why Not Skip Medication and Go Naturallllllll?!

The little Train

The train was tarnished from soot.  The engineer, Jack, grimaced over the craft, while he hauled wood into the fiery oven hidden in her belly.  She was a steam engine and her whistle sounded through the air like a shiver breaking ice.

Indians watched from a bouldered distant peak.  They saw the smoke and marked its passage with each puff.

Just then, a mischievous current sucked up that chimney-spew like a genie to her lamp and the loud wind masked the sound of her turning wheels.  To the unfamiliar natives looking on, the tiny far off train appeared to have stopped, silent to them now and no smoke to ribbon the air.

Not so, though.  Jack did not know they were watched, he and his steely lady.  He did not know he was described in the mind’s of others.

Moving.  Not moving.  Progressing.  Stopped.

But the sensory descriptors were misleading.

Music please.  (Perhaps tom-tom pow wow drums.)

As in this tidy little parable, we think that when we get relief from symptoms, it means that the disease process is better.

Anxious?  Have a beer and vuala!  Better.  Can’t sleep?  Smoke some weed and, “Aaaah.”

No?  “Of course not!” we say.  “We don’t do those plebeian substances.  We use our medications as prescribed.  We don’t abuuuuse them.  If we need more, we ask for more.”

This dialogue is usually regarding benzodiazepines.  “Doctor, I can’t take antidepressants or those other meds!  Why is everyone always pushing drugs on me?  I’m just taking klonopin.”  Or, “Doctors over-prescribe!  I just need xanax!”

Brain disease runs something like the steam engine train.

The steam coming out of the chimney is what we see in symptoms, such as, anxiety, inner tension, fear, insomnia, irritability and so forth.  Get rid of the smoke and we think the disease is dealt with.  However, the train is still going.  The disease is still progressing, although not as notably disruptive as before.  To stop the train, we must stop the engine, or the disease process.  I’m not saying we must cure the disease, rather, just slow or stop the disease progress to treat it effectively.

Our goal is more than symptom management.  Our goal is to treat the underlying illness to preserve brain health and prevent against further injury.

Self-Care Tip:  When medically indicated, consider medical therapy.

Question:  When your symptoms improve, how do you continue toward treatment goals?  How do you go past getting “better” to full treatment?  Please tell us your story.

Check Your Read. Even When You Feel Shame, Bullied and Herded, You Are Free.

Eve covers herself and lowers her head in sham...

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #219 – Check your read.  Be a friend to yourself.

I’ve been reading the comments on suicide, thinking and reading and starting who knows how many posts for today, but just couldn’t pull it together.  I spent my time rather drawn to the same words that I hear so many others say as well in clinic, in church, on the street, in the home.  Instead of seeing them find their place in me like I normally do with this kind of crowd, the words kept their space; word-snobs – crutch, selfish, dependent, moral and other words, dusting and reapplying in their reflection.

I had to think, “Why?  Why am I staring like this?”  And so the rest of the day, I perused those thoughts, licked my finger, flick, next, paper-cut and so on.  After all, this is SELF-care I’m talking about, implying I am starting with me.

At last, after rereading yesterdays and past comments, I found the shame I was avoiding.  Why I feel shame about these things isn’t important in this post.  (Maybe another post.  So if you have nothing else to keep you reading, you’ll have that dish to bait you.)

Shame comes when implied or direct judgment creeps into our space.  It herds us.  We are bullied and lose our personal boundaries.  It touches and violates.  That is what shame does.  Any time our perception of freedom feels threatened, it is normal to want to defend ourselves.  Separating from stigma is a normal response.

Claiming the shame, however, isn’t forced on us.  It is our choice.  Once we own the shame, then wanting to get away from reminders of it, of course, is natural for anyone.  But jog back and see.  The perception of shame was never forced on us.  We are free.  We are free to feel, to perceive, to believe, to choose or to stop rubbernecking at the sparkling drama.

He made me so mad…!

She really hurt me.

You ruined my life!

I don’t want to take medications because my husband makes fun of me.

I take Prozac but I don’t have mental illness.  I’d be ashamed to…

It is a normal response to not want to be in the space where we feel these things.  That is natural and what many have thought worth fighting for.  But what if our perception, our Sixth Sense, wasn’t getting a good read?  A war might have been avoided.  Our lives might be lived differently.

We really are free, already, to choose.

Question:  How do you see shame affecting your ability to be friendly with yourself?  Or others?  How have different perceptions put you in a place that felt more free and safe?  Please tell me your story.

Blog-Jacking by Mr. Rick C. – #2 (Do I or anyone really deserve this?!)

Hello Folks.  Today Mr. Rick C. is taking this post over….

As a person with a vast amount of psychiatric experience, I have learned the importance of watching for danger signs in others and myself.  Recently, you may have noticed, our very own DQ displaying a few atypical qualities.  Let’s take a look at her last blog.  Apparently, she has now given herself the new name of Dr. Q (any body remember that show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman…Hamm) and began referring to herself in the third person.  Another great blogger, xcandyxcane, does this effectively but differs from our own “little bundle of identities” by acknowledging that she is speaking in such a manner.  Dr. Q aka DQ aka Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman may or may not be aware of this.

Her blog entry seemed well written, as always.  However, she did seem a bit flustered by the fact that she got a few negative little thumb things.  Let’s put this into perspective, depressed people can be negative.  It is a key symptom of being depressed.  We are here to learn how to make little thumbs up things more often.  The fact that I picked this up and she did not, while not unusual, could be an indicator that she is not functioning at her highest level.

Finally, a sure indicator that she is teetering on the brink of collapse… the use of that oh so pointed word, “shucks.”  I can only imagine the stress and pain required to push her to such an outburst.  For these reasons, and my true desire not to watch “The Doctor Formerly Known as Quijada” spiral down to a point at which she goes on and on about flooded basements, frogs and Lebanese births, (certainly was a fun week you may remember,) I have taken it upon myself to give her the day off.  If nothing else, I’ll make her sound really professional when she returns.  Let us all keep her in our thoughts as she sits comfortably in the castle (aka future sink hole) she calls a home, self-medicating while being a friend to herself.

Since I am not a real doctor, I cannot share a heart warming narrative about the one-legged blind puppy being held by the child with such a distant look in his eyes as his mother crocheted for reasons unbeknownst to the rest of the world that came into my clinic.  However, I would like to speak up about an aspect of this blog that I am truly pleased with.  (And I’m not going to try to understand what the word “paradigm” means that she keeps using.)  As I took in the fine nuggets of wisdom that are typical of this blog, I was especially pleased with the mental image when reading the description of  “Gorgeous Candy.”  Of course, any functional male reading this immediately recognizes this fine moniker.  (There is no medical term for that, I looked.)  Trust me, Q had no idea, none what so ever.

So…. as I absorb the plethora of psychiatric knowledge, I realize, I could very well be the man who could save Gorgeous Candy.  The image is clear in my mind and I know I can help.

All right, at this point, I would like to share a story about my drinking and a self-help program.  One night, after ingesting a large amount of alcohol, I decided to sit down on the couch and enjoy some television.  Interestingly, at three in the morning, there are many programs on involving various forms of “self-help” for a fee after calling and speaking with gorgeous women.  You can teach yourself to speak Icelandic in three days.  Several programs guaranteed to make you stop smoking and drinking while you do nothing.  Then – my personal favorite, the Flowbee.

The Flowbee allows you to cut your own hair with a vacuüm cleaner attachment as demonstrated by some great looking individuals.  As a result of my intoxication and the brilliant manner in which it was presented, the Flowbee sounded like an excellent idea with very few negatives.  I called just in time to be one of the lucky callers that got a discount knife set, as well.  Not so surprisingly, I was intoxicated when the Flowbee arrived.  No problem… easy enough to operate and certainly no need to watch the instructional video.  Hook it up to the Shop Vac and away I go….

Folks, you have not experienced incomprehensible demoralization until you have had a Flowbee lock onto your head with the full force of a ShopVac behind it.  At this point, as I lay on the floor trying to kick the plug out of the wall, I realized that my life was completely unmanageable and I would possibly need to go beyond the resources I had within myself.

Upon having the Flowbee removed from my head, I was fairly certain that all of my problems had been solved.  Hence, I went back to drinking.  Several years later, I would discover the twelve steps.  When I did, I was in Texas and had the fortune of becoming part of an AA group where people had no problem being honest or saying it like it is.  One of the first things that I was told, was that this is a “we” program and that if this program were to rely on “self”…. Well, based on my track record of helping myself first, I was in trouble.  Every single step talks about “we.”

Through the years, I would learn more about how important the group is to a twelve-step program.  Furthermore, the basis for AA (the first of many twelve step programs) is a movement called the Oxford Group.  This was a group that became popular around the turn of the century.  They had some basic principals that have become the basis of twelve step programs.  Key to the Oxford Group and twelve-step programs is the benefit of sharing among a group that is working this same program.  There are many tests online and other places designed to help individuals determine if they are or could be an alcoholic.  I think, for many, this test could be simplified into…. have there been times in your life that a Flowbee sounded like a great idea?

Please, share with me your thoughts.  Why are paradigms important?  When doctors self-medicate… is there a copay?

This would make even less sense if I was drinking…. Can you imagine?