Anti-vaxxers – I get it. I’ve done the same thing before and I just recently did it again.

Once every year or two, I test the waters and see if I really, actually, 100% need my anti-depressants.

I read a few social media posts about “big pharma” sinister conspiracies, that tap into the tiny part of me that believes in UFOs and the government cover-ups.

Sometimes, it’s triggered by skimming the side effects listed on the pamphlet accompanying my pill containers. This, coupled with reading  a few testimonials of holistic, trauma surviving, self-actualized people who overcome their mental or physical illness through exercise. Deep breathing and meditation cure just about anything.

Let it all out – deal with our past hurts “just accept, cope and move forward;” use positive mantras and eat more kale – it’s a superfood that fixes everything. It’s a breeze. If they can do it, why can’t I? Nevermind who “they” are- who cares – I have to let it go and stop stressing to prevent the release of cortisol.  I’m so inspired about my new life without toxins!

Leg kick – cheerleader style.

If there’s anyone equipped to handle depression and anxiety symptoms without medication – it’s me. As a mental health professional who helps others, I’m very “glass half-full.” I read books, I go to therapy, I have a healthy support system – shouldn’t that be enough?  

I’m tough, my body, mind and spirit are naturally equipped to handle and rebuild any traumatized part of my reprogrammable brain through the flexibility of neuroplasticity

Healing takes place naturally when I get a scrape or cut on the outside of my body, so why wouldn’t the same be possible on the inside? I become more and more inspired by anecdotal triumphs of those no longer needing medications just to feel “normal.”  

What do these damn pills really do for me anyway? All of the chemicals in here – so unholistic – so not kale; so not pure and of the earth. I don’t need these tiny spheres of shame – hell – I must be ashamed – I still call them “mommy’s vitamins” when my kids ask why I take medicine everyday.

This episodic process starts really well in the beginning as I slowly taper off of my meds for like two days and then by day 4-6 I take the turn into NOMEDS LAND. I even made it to one month once, before the glacier-like melt-down phase.

Then it starts: sometimes by this point I don’t remember I’m not taking my meds anymore.

Intense sensitivity kicks in. Everything hurts my feelings – like a deep puncture wound kind of hurt – a look from someone I love; a question from a friend and I begin to unravel. The twisted thinking “aka” cognitive distortions are unstoppable; I question my purpose and the point of EVERYthing and why haven’t I reached all of my goals already? I’m worthless; guilt for NO REASON fills my stomach; I snap at the people who don’t mean anything to me; did that mom in the carline seriously just look at me like that? No way could she have been looking past me at the kid picking his nose.

The snapping, the looking, the questioning, all stem from deep, internal self doubt turned outward where my words and facial expressions become abrasive, like jellyfish tentacles leaving poisonous residue on the ones I love the most.

Then, it hits me – usually after I ruin a relationship or have successfully angered a few dear, loved ones. I call my best friend who also struggles with this rollercoaster. She said it best “when everyone is pissing me off – I know I’m the problem.”  I begin to evaluate. When did I start feeling this way? What’s different about my life in the past few weeks?

RRRIIIIINNNGGGG.

I have my wake up call. Loud and clear. It hits me. I stopped taking my meds. Yeah, the ones with numerous side effects listed on page after page in the accompanying pamphlet don’t seem all that bad compared to this self-induced hell I’m putting myself through just to…..to what? Not use modern medicine that has extensive, evidence based, massive research trials proving the risks outweigh the benefits?

Do you hear that anti-vaxxers? The phone is for you. It’s modern medicine calling – line one.

Do I wish I could be holistic, chemical-free and let my body use it’s natural resources to defend illness? Yippy skippy, you bet I do.

But, that’s not reality and not possible without major consequences. In this time of accessible information and the ability for ANYone to publish ANYthing – the lines blur and the facts get buried underneath memes and quotes.

And then celebrities get book deals. Yes, Jenny McCarthy was a great host on that MTV dating show a few decades back- she’s funny and blonde and has a huge rack and I respect her for those talents. But not, for her views regarding science and modern medicine. She is just one example of someone fueling the unwarranted fears of parents who are just trying to do the safest thing for their children.

The intentions are good. Just not reasonable.

Reality is a problem for us today though, isn’t it?  It’s probably going to require a large death toll from preventable illnesses to demonstrate how lucky we are to have the modern medicine advances that we do.

I’m lucky. I don’t get suicidal from my depressive episodes; but those who have severe, major depression. If they stop taking their unholistic, shame spheres  – they might die.

Same with the children being subjected to their parents well-intentioned, but misguided, judgment in refusing vaccinations. I know – I hate the alarmist thing too – the children won’t all die some will just have scars from the rash and others may develop deafness or brain damage.  

I won’t die either if I don’t take my meds, but my quality of life greatly diminishes and it’s hard on the people around me. Especially my children. They pay, because I can’t be my true self – funny, energetic, full of life and hope. They deserve their best mother and I deserve my best self – which I can articulate and believe when I’m taking my meds.