I love fucked up people.
At least, I love what society calls fucked up people. I don't have any mental disorders. I hope. I tend towards winter depression, but so do many people. However, many of my loved ones are a little mentally unconventional.
I've got a close friend who has anger issues. She has a tendency for depression and drama. I love her with all my heart and she's the most loyal friend I could ever ask for. About a year ago she started taking anti-depressants. The change, of course, was dramatic. She doesn't break stuff in fits of pique anymore, or scream and threaten people. (I've never known her to actually attack anyone.)
She's hardly ever angry anymore at all. Instead, she's mopey. Depressed. Gloomy. She doesn't care about much anymore, except dark rooms and bong tokes. She's apathetic to pretty much everything, and desperately lonely. A date gone wrong or a fight with her boyfriend will almost guarantee suicidal thoughts. She's as insecure as insecure gets, terrified of people's opinions and caked with makeup. A far cry from the wild, emotional girl she once was. I love her all the same but I miss her fire. Of course, it's her decision to make – I'll never know how it feels to go through that, and I cannot judge her.
I have another close friend who is manic depressive. A couple, actually, but one in particular I'm going to talk about. She's excitable. Emotional. Dramatic. As loving as a person gets, but if you get on her wrong side all she has for you is fire and brimstone. She loves to love and loves to hate. Like most manic depressives, she's all extremes and emotions.
She doesn't take anti-depressants. She can't, because of the liver damage they cause. Instead, she bounces through a world of emotions. She deals with her depression as sensibly as a person can, and never takes it out on those around her. Her manic moods are whirlwinds of excitement and affection – to be honest, I love them. She's one of the greatest friends I've ever had.
“Anti-depressants?” she says. “Remember, honey, anti-depressants are for society's sake. They don't benefit the individual.”
I have one friend who I think legitimately needs her prescribed anti-depressants. At least, they don't seem to be doing her any harm. She's a rape victim, a cutter, has made past suicide attempts. Like many depressed people, she's got several issues stacked up. I don't know what they all are, I'm not going to ask. Maybe there are things that she could do as an alternative, but I don't know enough to make those judgments.
For the rest of my friends, though, I think they're a shortcut doctors like to use. They do get paid to put people on these medicines, you know. Is it really necessary to prescribe anti-depressants and schizophrenia medications to someone who gets really angry? She doesn't hear voices, and she never said a word about suicide until after she started taking her pills. If I had the power, I'd enroll her in boxing and get her a psychiatrist. I respect her decision to take the prescribed medicine, of course – she's told me many times how difficult it is for her to deal with her anger. I can only imagine. I do, however, think there are way better ways to help her!
Pills are everywhere. Sleeping issues? Have some drugs. Upset because your life isn't going well? Have some drugs. Got a cold? Have some drugs.
Okay, it's great that we have medicine. But when has it gone too far?
My best friend in the entire world is schizophrenic. I never learned this until recently. She took medications for a while, but stopped. Now she have a well paying job and a home of her own. No drugs, occasional drinking. Of course, she works way more than is probably healthy, but everyone needs a coping method. I think, if someone in that position can deal with their issues and overcome them without medication, it can't be as necessary as some people believe.
I have nothing but respect for my friends who deal with their demons on their own. I think that we as a culture tend to consider mental issues a lot worse than they really are. No one is perfect – we all have our issues. Those with diagnosed ones shouldn't be hushed down and drugged up. What's the crime in being extra emotional? If anything, people with bipolar disorder or anger issues just act the way we all wish we could!
Society would like us all to be muted, well behaved and normal. There isn't a lot of room for extremists or people who are overly different. This is not because we are a bad society, but because that is how societies function – the individual must sacrifice for the good of the whole.
It is the responsibility of the individual to take care of themselves. Don't fall into that neat little trap your well-meaning peers have made – its about what makes YOU happy, not the neighbours. Wreck your furniture, not yourself – better to break a chair than swallow those poisonous little white pills.