I forgot I had these discussion questions until I saw the book I’m reading now (Odd Girl Out) had them as well! I saved the questions on my computer for times when I had nothing to write. I haven’t looked at Manufacturing Depression since June 19, 2012.
Here are the links for the first two questions:
Now, on to question 3! Please feel free to answer the question as well! I would love to hear from you
Consider that: “If you’re a psychiatrist or a drug company [you will put great emphasis] on dividing up the territory, on separating your chemicals from theirs, on making sure that yours are medicine and theirs are drugs, that you are treating illnesses while they are abusing substances.” (174) Should people be allowed to take drugs simply to feel better, rather than to cure disease? If depression isn’t a disease, than how can we distinguish antidepressants from recreational drugs? What are the implications for the drug war, which is waged primarily to prevent people from taking drugs merely to feel better?
I’m not entirely sure how to answer this question except with saying that I don’t have a problem with recreational drug use. I have a problem with addiction because that can severely hurt someone physically and emotionally but we do not know how addiction may change if illegal drugs because legal.
If there was no stigma attached to taking a drug (prescribed or not) to feel better then maybe it wouldn’t be seen as substance abuse. Just because a person is not experiencing a disease doesn’t mean that they should not be able to feel better. Depression can still make it difficult to function and if someone wants to take a medication to help with that then they should be allowed so long as it is done as safely as possible.
The War on Drugs has recently had more critics because politicians have been seeing that it’s a war they are losing. I have always thought the War on Drugs was a waste of time and resources as well as being ineffective. If we acknowledge that people who take drugs to feel better are not bad people but doing what they feel they need to do in order to get through the day then the war on drugs will become more useless. Drug consumption NEEDS to be monitored by a professional who knows the drug and knows the human body so instead of putting into anti-drug campaigns that are not working we could put the money into organizations that will make drug consumption safe.
On top of that, psych meds aren’t curing disease; they are managing symptoms. Should we take drugs that do not cure our diseases? Yes because management is the next best thing. Same goes for some recreational drug use. Again, I want to emphasize safety! I’m talking in terms of a world where people would get help for their issues and be support appropriately.
venushalley1984 got me thinking. She commented on my post “Excuses and Reasons” and she shared with me a phrase she hears often and hates, “depression is lying to you.” This is to say that your depression (or another symptom of your illness) is creating something (thoughts, behaviours, emotions) that is not real. Without this illness you would cease to be who you currently are (a lie) and be your real self (the truth). This again brings doubt as to the authenticity of you as a person.
This reminded me of a question I found in Manufacturing Depression by Gary Greenberg. At the end of the book there were discussion questions (which I will add to this blog eventually). The first question is the one I want to address:
How does the concept of “On this medication, I am myself at last” (35) make you feel?
To say that your depression is lying and that medication will make you feel like yourself draws a clear line of what is the right person and the wrong person to be.
I don’t know about you but I don’t have an amazing “before ” I went into my depression. I do know that I was very shy, didn’t stand up for myself and was extremely sensitive as a child. To me it almost seems inevitable that when faced with bullying that I would become severely depressed. This in essence IS who I was.
I do not mean this in a “you are your illness” kind of way. I just mean I didn’t go from “normal” to “abnormal”, “perfect” to “imperfect”. I very smoothly went into depression. This is what made medication, therapy and “recovery” so scary. I didn’t have this former awesome “normal” self that other people seem to talk about. I had to create a completely new person! When all you know about yourself is darkness how are you supposed to create someone who can be in the light?
I don’t think depression is lying. I think depression exacerbates feelings, behaviours and thoughts but I don’t think if depression was gone those things would disappear, they may just not be the end of the world. The “myself” that Gary Greenberg is referencing isn’t who you are but who society wants you to be and you should be able to choose if you want to be that person. There is nothing wrong with that person but there is also nothing wrong with being the “ill” person.
We need to ditch the idea of right or wrong in regards to human emotions. The regulation is exhausting! Who are we to say what is the appropriate amount to feel? Who are we to say that someones interpretation of a situation is wrong? For all we know it is the “ill” people who are actually feeling the “right” way and the “normal” people who are feeling the “wrong” way!
I am who I am. That should not be discredited just because I have been labelled with an illness. I do not want medication to “restore” me to a person that I never actually was and is someone who I’m being told I should be. Maybe allowing us to feel and be would make being less harder?