Friday, January 18, 2008

Western Medicine - My Discomfort with Being an Icon of It

The quality of my life would not be possible without Western medicine and it's funny how uncomfortable that makes me. While I'm grateful, in a way life feels so tenuous because of it, and it's an easy guess that I'm not the only one feeling that way.

The two drugs that make my life so different are Rebif (an MS medication) and the famous/infamous Prozac. Rebif helps keep my MS in remission, it helps keep my feet from dragging, my head from spinning/drifting, my thinking clear. Granted, I bring a lot to the health table by taking excellent care of myself and that makes a huge difference, but the Rebif keeps my immune system considerably better behaved.

But the Rebif doesn't make me nearly as uncomfortable as the Prozac. If I didn't have access to Rebif I probably wouldn't notice it for weeks. Prozac on the other hand I notice that day, though initially it's just a withdrawal effect and not depression, but the depression comes back fairly soon. It's amusing to think what a horrible hostage I would make if I didn't have access to Prozac. Kidnappers depend on the fact that normal hostages fear for their lives and will work to keep it. With many depressed people regard for one's own life disappears. Kidnappers if they had any sense would just shoot me out of hand.

Every so often I test the waters by not taking it and see how I feel. I do this because the circumstances that caused the onset of my depression (a breakup) happened long ago and I'm very happy right now. The reason it continues is likely due to (a) MS or (b) I'm just miswired that way. I'm trying it today and initially I just get this squeezing sensation in my forehead which is a withdrawal effect. But kidnappers beware. :)


Elf said...

Well, like some people need meds to keep MS under control, and some people need meds to keep insulin under control, some people need meds to keep serotonin (and other chems) working right. We've all got such a bias that "depression" is a thing that you can control just by force of will or by having a few good days. Or many good days. For some types of depression, true. For other types, "depression" is probably just the wrong word to use. Maybe we need something like "serotonin challenged".


Ellen said...

I've hear some folks refer to Serotonin Deficiency, or brain chemistry imbalance.