This I Believe

Wesley - Longmont, Colorado
Entered on May 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

“Happy” Pills

This I believe, that you do not need psych drugs to make your life better. Everyday, millions of Americans rely on antidepressants to get them through the day, and more and more take them every year. The companies that manufacture these things are making a killing off of people who think a pill solves everything. Another problem is that doctors are all too happy to supply you with as many pills as you can possibly take. No doubt, a small amount of the population requires this type of medication for a legitimate severe chemical imbalance, but most of the time they’re just a bad idea.

How do I know? Because I was on Lexapro for two weeks. I went in to see my doctor because I was experiencing chest pains, fatigue, and passing out. After doing a few tests, he said there was nothing wrong with me and I needed to try an antidepressant. It just so happened that I didn’t need Lexapro, I needed heart surgery.

But for those two weeks I gained an insight into what it’s like to be on these things. I was tired all the time, eating was a chore, my memory was shot, and I became emotionally distant and uncaring; all in the span of 14 days! And this is how millions drive to work each day? Scary.

After that, I was actually glad I had a heart condition and not mental issues, which brings me to my second point, you can be happy despite problems, without pharmaceutical aids. My freshman year in high school, I became very sick. Suffering from a heart condition, along with seizures and chronic double vision, it looked as if I was going to fail miserably. In fact, I did miss nearly three months of school. Yet, I was happy despite these problems. How, you may ask?

My maladies led me to discover just how many good things I had in my life. I had my friends, who constantly offered a helping hand. One of them even volunteered to read all my assignments to me and to do all my writing for me. I had my religious community, from which I received numerous letters, phone calls, and positive reassurances. I had my parents, who battled it out with doctors and nurses, who cared for my physical needs. I had music, I had poetry. And for the first time ever, I could see I had the world.

So, when you’re feeling depressed, don’t reach for the pill bottle, and don’t call your doctor. Go on a nice long walk; take a few days off, call a close friend, do something spiritual. And when bad things happen, remember that life goes on. Before long, everything will start to get better.

Also, if you see someone having a hard time, help them out. Who knows, you just might be the one to make a difference.