Friday, November 6, 2009

You Heard Me: Thank God for Drugs

The use of prescribed drugs is a soapbox issue for me because of my experiences growing up (my mother's schizophrenia), studying at an intensely competitive college (with its attendant issues of pressure and depression), counseling women dealing with various depressive issues and trying to get members to look differently at perfection and repentance. There are things we can do to lessen the stress that contributes to depression, but criticizing Mormonism is not one of them.

Teaching uplifting messages about divine potential (for men and women), teaching people to strive to be better than they naturally are, teaching people to follow the teachings of Jesus, ad infinitum - that is NOT a bad thing, especially if it leads people to accept medical help, to be better people and closer to what they want to be, to accept other people despite things that "the world" classifies as marginalizing disabilities, to allow those with expertise to serve others through that expertise, ad infinitum.

Yes, this is a soapbox issue for me, since I have spent decades trying to heal the wounds that misguided criticism and condemnation and unrealistic expectations have caused and continue to cause. Categorizing anti-depressant use as a bad thing stigmatizes those who use them - not just the organization to which those who use them belong. The broad brush touches all within its strokes, and it is a destructive and debilitating brush that should be discarded and burned.


Firebyrd said...

This is so true. Having grown up in a family heavily involved in working with people with disabilities, it was a huge shock to me when I got to college. One of my neighbors in the dorms at BYU had a schizophrenic younger brother and her family refused to let him get medicated. The stories she told about him were heartbreaking, but when I said he should get treated, she dismissed the drugs as evil and harmful to the body. Even more astonishing, her father was a dentist, so you'd think he'd realize there is a place and time for prescribed drugs!

Drugs certainly aren't the answer to everything, and with the side effects, obviously it's better to try to avoid them when it's reasonable to do so. But modern day medicine, for all its flaws, is absolutely a gift from God and that includes the medications that come with it.

Firebyrd said...

As an addendum, I know not all forms of schizophrenia are treatable with medication, but as far as my friend knew, they had never even bothered to try with her brother.

JDD said...

"One of my neighbors in the dorms at BYU had a schizophrenic younger brother and her family refused to let him get medicated."

Not only is that counter to what the gospel teaches, in my opinion it is a form of child abuse. People with serious medical conditions need treatment if it's available. Period.

A.J. said...


Tiffany Wacaser said...

Thank you for this post. It really hit home today. My older sister is currently trying to convince her husband to accept medical treatment for his mental illness. His refusal to do so because of his feelings that drugs are wrong is literally destroying his family. I am grateful for medication which has helped my family members and friends. There should be no shame to accept treatment to help a person.

E said...

Thank you thank you thank you! This is also a great frustration to me. I see many people suffer because of a misplaced belief that taking advantage of "drugs" and other medical treatment are signs of failure or weakness or sin. All medicines have potential risks and side effects, but they also save lives and can vastly improve a person's quality of life.