Doc Magnets is at TMS today. Apparently my settings have to be checked over, etc. Doc Magnets puts on Zeppelin.
Doc Magnets has good taste.
For the first time, I notice other patients in the waiting room. Normally there is no one because I’m the first of the day. These two are polar opposites of each other. One looked very nervous (first timer?)
And one is falling asleep (old veteran?)
It makes me think about my own journey, how I started out panicked, but never really made it to the falling-asleep stage, instead settling into a mild anxiety every time I got in the chair. Not because the treatment scared me, but because I felt like so much rode on it succeeding. It makes me wonder about other people’s journeys- how they felt starting out, how they were at the end. Some people must have gotten better, or insurance would never have approved a non-pharmaceutical treatment. Where are those people now? Did they stay better? What changed in their lives? And what about those that did not? Where are they? Did they try again? Try something new? What happened to them?
There isn’t much more to say about today’s TMS appointment, besides those lingering questions. So I’ll steer off on another topic (as I’ve been wont to do). I’m very interested in the effects of psychedelics on depression. I mention this in my last post to where I was talking to Spice about it. I’ve since done more research; more articles here, here and here. There are even nonprofits, including MAPS and HRI devoted to medical use of psychedelics in mental health, going for whatever angle they think is most likely to get through the regulatory process (MAPS primarily focuses on MDMA for PTSD, HRI on psilocybin for depression in cancer patients).
I’m even more convinced that the illegality of psychedelics is utter bullshit and in fact, a detriment to society, preventing us from what we could be. Terence McKenna put it like so: “Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behavior and information processing.”
Another big reason the progress is slow on the legality of psychedelics is that they can’t be patented anymore, so drug companies aren’t interested because they can’t make money off of them. Not to mention that they are not daily maintenance drugs, but more on an as needed basis- sometimes they’re even just a one shot deal.
People are struggling and sometimes dying. But the drug companies, well, they can’t make money off of what could be one-shot deals.
Readers, this makes me very, very angry.
And the more I learn…the angrier I am at Spice for not hearing me out. For dismissing my interest as “trying to be edgy”.
It hurts. A lot. Now, I understand concerns about legality. That’s valid. But if you know me, you know that I consider major depressive disorder to be very, very serious, with a huge negative impact on our society as a whole. And if someone wants something to help them with their condition and the law hasn’t caught up yet, because the law is controlled by big companies that are controlled by rich people- who NO DOUBT are using those very substances to help their own mental health if they need it (while making it difficult to obtain for us plebes), I support that.
It feels like a punch to the gut if anyone who truly cares about me and my wellbeing won’t at least hear these arguments of mine out, and claim my reasoning to be superficial, as opposed to a genuine attempt to fix my brain when therapy and medication haven’t worked, the jury is still out on TMS, and ECT has too many disturbing side effects. Even old-school old-timers I’ve talked to, while they don’t agree with me 100%, understand the logic of my arguments.
Spice and I haven’t been in touch since that argument, that triggered that awful episode I had. I felt abandoned by him, who I considered one of my closest allies.
I’m not sure what to do.
This is probably not uncommon in people with depression, desperately seeking out remedies for their broken and hurting brains that are unconventional. Bear in mind that for the unconventional outlier of the mainstream, conventionality can be hard to achieve, because conventionality seems to hinge on- in this country- exhausting efforts by people like me to minimize fear (we stigmatize that which we don’t understand and thus, experience fear, as a defense mechanism), and what makes money (watch the drug companies ask the chem labs for something that’s like psilocybin, but is not psilocybin, so they can make money off of it). It’s terrible when you feel like it isn’t enough to be trying to help yourself get better; it also has to be within very strict parameters…parameters set by the powers-that-be that, quite honestly, don’t even care about me.
And what if your therapists were garbage and meds didn’t do shit? Well, conventionally thinking people don’t have answers for you. They just say go to the hospital and don’t kill yourself, profoundly lacking the understanding of how bad of a scenario that really is.
If you are depressed, as you fight this disorder, there are some people- good, well meaning people- who aren’t going to understand your journey, and they’re going to lash out or maybe just leave you. They cannot deal (they should not have to if there is abuse involved; but may not be able to deal with you even if you are not abusive, just depressed). Know that this may not necessarily be forever- you might reintegrate those people if you so choose later on, once you are more on track. There are people who simply cannot cope with the symptoms of depression; even your spouse may not be able to, after pledging forever to you in front of your whole community. That huge step may not even be enough to stand together to battle this illness. You have to let these people go.
Know that these aren’t necessarily bad people. They’re a product of our misunderstanding as a society of mental illness, which manifests in an insistence that we must have smiles on our faces, all the time- even if they are manufactured. This perpetuates ignorance, intolerance and dismissal of those with mood disorders.
And this is what motivates me to keep writing. A huge part of why my blog exists is to try help destigmatize this medical condition by 1) clearing up misunderstandings 2) explaining the biological basis as best I can 3) highlighting the contributions to society one prone to depression can actually make 4) helping the depressed, or those involved with the depressed, feel less alone 5) challenging the aforementioned norms 6) applauding and encouraging further efforts by those trying to get well and 7) being interesting to make it all more palatable.
In this little corner of the blogoverse, to whoever is reading.
So then, to the depressed: regarding those people who HAVE stuck by you, who have listened (not necessarily agree) without attacking you, who have dealt with your bullshit for months or sometimes years…I know how depression sucks you into yourself, but I hope this little bit sticks in your subconscious…value those people. Hold to those people. Sometimes they are going to get exhausted and they will let you down. But if they don’t leave you…know that you owe them big because sometimes you are tough to be around. In your well moments, show them gratitude. Know their efforts matter. Remember that they matter so much, they very well may have saved your life.
To the non-depressed: I know it’s hard. But try not to abandon your depressed friend, lover, or family member. Distance yourself when you must for self-preservation, but don’t stay away for good. Hear them out. Listen to what they have to say, especially if it’s in the context of getting better. Always, always support efforts to get well, even if you question the methods. Do your own homework before criticizing the avenues your depressed loved one is exploring, unless you already have and know for damn sure it’s harmful. Even then, if you must steer them away from something you know for a fact is harmful (like, I don’t know, spending 1K they don’t have on a BS psychic or something),
do so gently while emphasizing how proud you are of them for trying. Help them get help with their depression, because it’s hard for a depressed person to overcome the shame of what they have, and the overwhelmingness of getting help. It feels monumental to pull it together and find a way out of the hole as it is, the last thing they need is to feel shot down by someone they thought they could trust.
I don’t know what’s going to come of Spice and I. I’m not sure when or if we ever will be in touch again. Given our history, that stings. And it stings that it doesn’t seem to bother him at all. Do I even want to be friends with someone like that, who seems ambivalent about being in my life? Right now I don’t want to speak to him and he clearly does not want to speak to me. Maybe we’ll eventually make amends, maybe not. For now, I will focus my efforts on those I feel I can still trust…
Area 6, We Are Not Uncomplicated.
If anyone has further thoughts on how one can best cope with and support a complicated, depressed loved one, feel free to post in the comments.