Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It IS an Illness

Originally posted 3/27/13:

I still struggle at times with the notion that depression, anxiety, and chemical addiction are physical diseases, and not just character defects. Recently, I had been doubting the disease model yet again, and was beating myself up about it. I suppose, though, this is part of denial -  a normal step in the course of change {more on that in another blog}. 

Then, it hit me: I know that what I have is a physical illness and that medication does in fact work for me because of the difference in my cognition / thinking when I am taking medication. 

Here's the supporting evidence:
  1. The incessant cycling of negative thoughts has stopped. It is not that I have no negative thoughts, sadness, or anger - that would not be normal - it's just that I don't dwell on these indefinitely.
  2. like things again. No really, I'm serious. For at least two decades, not much appealed to me. I would do the things I know I should like, but everything at the banquet of life tasted like cardboard - the world was flat. I knew, for example, that horses, tennis, and time with family and friends should generate feelings of joy in me, but it was all....meh...take it or leave it...bland...grey - and at times even irritating.
  3. Color, color, C O L O R has returned to my life. Once again, I enjoy colors in objects, nature, and furnishings. My clothes, for example, have gone from neutrals to vibrant blues, purples, greens, and...P I N K. {I still adore black too!}
  4. I look forward to things. Yes, believe it or not, if nothing is scheduled on the horizon, I have actually created dates and outings in the past two months! I have reached out to female friends. This is the first time in a long time...no...this is the first time that I have ever done this! 
The fact that taking a physical pill does affect change in my thoughts and subsequent behaviors, speaks of a physical, underlying disease capable of responding to medication. And lest anyone confuse psychoactive prescription medication for opiates, let me underscore: the medication does not make me feel fantastic all the time. These are not "happy pills". The meds just simply permit me to feel the normal range of feelings that the average person is capable of feeling. They free me to be Me; and for that, I am truly grateful!

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