It was all extreme, and I would finally ask for help and take a break in a pretty decent sanitarium in the woods. I had “atypical psychotic depression” and had suffered a “major depressive episode”, sprinkled with some neurosis. The label had been placed ever since I was thirteen, but now it had expanded. So did the medication, which left me with my head in my cereal bowl and lying on the floor as my blood pressure dropped dangerously low, turning me into a zombie who couldn’t even read. I don’t remember much from then, many months completely erased from my memory. I feel it’s better that way. The treatment would be changed over the years many times, making me experience a variety of side effects which also translated in my behaviour.
The good ol’ outdated psychiatric manual is filled with assorted symptoms, a mix and match which composes all sorts of diseases, every behavior overanalyzed through an unknowing lens, pathologized and deemed inherently bad. Most doctors don’t seem bothered by all of this. They don’t seem to care their whole treatment scheme is based on an unproven theory, that chemical imbalance they keep throwing in your face while ignoring all other factors, a myriad of them, external and personal, unquantifiable.
They don’t tell you the pills are highly addictive and the withdrawal is comparable to that of heroin, that when you quit them it isn’t the disease which returns, but the harsh reaction of your body deprived of brain altering substances.
They ignore the part where these treatments, “mechanism still poorly understood”, disturb the delicate chemistry of your body to the point where the only reason you’re sick is because of them. They don’t ask about your dreams and passions, about how you truly feel.
When they told me what I have is chronic and I’ll probably have to take pills for the rest of my life, I believed them. I was a child in front of a figure of authority whose job is to protect me, who was inducing this mindset in which I’m eternally doomed to a life of torment over which I have no control. This would keep me stuck in a loop of disordered thinking, forbidding myself from seeking power within myself, fueling the part of me which desired only self-destruction.
Ana Moca-Grama is a writer, photographer and nature lover. She writes short fiction and introspective poems, draws when lost for words and actively supports the movement for acceptance and eradication of taboos around mental disorders.