Our Suicide & Drug Epidemic

Depression and other mental illnesses are widespread in America. I could take time to link studies, but I’m not going to. My toddler will be up soon and Google is free. 🙂

I always felt things more deeply, it seemed, than my brothers. I find it interesting that I’ve always been more spiritual than they are, too. I self-medicated with alcohol, starting in 8th grade. I live in a state where alcohol consumption is prevalent, and until my mom moved out of state, I didn’t realize how out of the norm the drinking culture is in Montana.

So whenever I was uncomfortable, upset, or bored, it was easy to find peers and alcohol. As I got older, I found myself in situations that I felt ill-equipped to handle. (I wrote more about this in my previous post—Nice Girls Finish Last). As a result, I had more layers of things to work through. But drinking was easier. I tried weed, but I really didn’t like the way it made me feel. I was offered other drugs, but I think my guardian angels stepped in and I just never felt the need to try cocaine or any of the ‘hard’ drugs.

I’ve taken opioids for surgical pain, and honestly, they don’t really do anything for me. I’d rather take ibuprofen for pain, and I really hate being constipated. Looking back now, I’m grateful for this quirk my body has–that I don’t find that same high others do.

After I had Dillon, I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and started on an antidepressant. I don’t really know if it helped, because I still self-medicated with wine. I do know it left me with horrible brain zaps–like someone is sticking an ice cold needle right to the center of my brain for a second, whenever I moved my head. Zap, zap. Zap, zap, zap. I looked it up and it was a symptom of withdrawal from my SSRI.

So if an SSRI was supposed to make me feel better, why did I still find it compulsory to self-medicate with alcohol? Maybe because it wasn’t an organic condition like diabetes or hypertension that could be treated with insulin or a blood pressure pill. Maybe because it’s not a physical condition so much as a spiritual condition.

Life isn’t fair, and you’re going to have painful experiences. It’s part of being human, and growing and learning. But instead of listening to my soul crying out for attention, I took the easy way out. Re-reading this, I examine this statement. It might seem like the easy way out at first, but really, isn’t this the hard way out in the end? I’m still left with everything I’m struggling with, yet now I have to deal with the hangover, my family’s frustration, and most of all, my new layer of self-disgust, my feelings of being weak and wondering why I can’t just get it together…

2018 has been eye-opening for me. It is hard to feel that restlessness, that deep discomfort even though all might be well in my life. I’m still trying to figure out what works for me. I found an art therapist whom I love and just seems to get me. I’m finding more and more amazing people in Great Falls who understand this concept of how important holistic medicine is and are so generous with their knowledge. I trust them, because of the way I feel inside as I listen to what they tell me and feel my parched soul soaking up everything they’re telling me, and because when I’m still and I listen to my intuition, I know this is what I need.

The opioid crisis? The suicide crisis? I truly believe it’s a crisis of the spirit, and if our modern medicine would look beyond just the physical body that we can scan with X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs and test with fancy blood work, if we could stop trying to Band-Aid with these slew of psychotropics with proven nasty side effects, we could be so much more effective at healing our walking wounded, and in return, heal our country, and our world.

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