Sunday, March 05, 2006

My Life, Medicated

Today I've started taking a new medication- Adderall. I'm hoping it will help me focus in class and get my statistical methods (which I am in danger of failing) grade up.

I've been medicated practically my whole life. I've been on Zoloft for God knows how long, and have taken various other psych drugs for various amounts of time.

It does raise some frightening philosophical questions when I think about it. Like, do I really know who I am? Can I ever really know who I am? Do behavioral and psychological modification drugs make me a different, better person?

It's scary when you think about it. What you think is the world is always filtered by personal experience; is there anything concrete and objective, or is life just a continuous and subjective experience? Your whole life, values, beliefs, etc. are founded upon your definition of self; if something shakes your world view (like my previous blog regarding de Beauvoir's characters), you suffer an identity crisis- you don't know who you are because your definition of yourself has turned out to be false and shattered.

I know for a fact that I'm a different person when I'm not on medication. Around seven years ago I tapered off from all my meds, under my therapist's supervision. I couldn't get out of bed- the anxiety, depression, and fear closed in around me. I couldn't even function.

Perhaps I could have adjusted. Maybe I just needed more time. But it's freakin' scary. There are times when I can barely function on medication, when the despair and sense of failure are just overwhelming (something I've been experiencing rather frequently this academic quarter).

So I am a different person with medication. I don't how, or to what extent. If I was living in a different period of time or in different social and economic circumstances and never had the options of pills, would I have killed myself? Would I have been reduced to a whimpering, huddled, fearful animal? Would I have snapped? Or would I have found some inner strength that helped me cope and live life relatively normally?

Obviously, I hope the latter. I have found and developed some will that has helped me overcome a great deal of my anxiety.

But these are frightening questions that I try to avoid. Though sometimes they pop up and I fall into a funk of despair aand uncertainty. The most frightening thing that I ever wonder- something that I've never asked aloud or written- is whether people would still like and love me if I wasn't on drugs.

Would I even like myself?

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