Don’t worry, be happy because we told you to to go out and buy it

What timing, what grist for the mill…
My observations on antidepressants: while appearing uncaring (I am) and flip (I’m that too) on the notion that the medical profession doles out medication far too easily (it does), I have deep compassion and committment for those who suffer from serious and debillitating mental illness. I have seen it, cared for patients in medical emergencies due to depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and suicidal ideation. So no hate mail for my lack of heart to the mentally ill. I do care.

I also care about medicating and maintaining those on drugs who may not need or benefit from what medical science professes to cure. I believe we are a pill nation. I believe there is huge financial incentive to create, to continue to create new medications and market them so skillfully that the general population desperately believes they need them.
I am not sure if it was a patient safety measure or if it was an attempt to help patients make informed decisions, or if it was just to test the waters to get a feel for how many bad things the pharmaceutical corporations can tell the consumer about the latest happy pill and still see if they’ll take it. Evidently they can give them a boat load of unsavory side effects like: dry mouth, weight gain, decreased libido, lack of interest in things you were interested in, excessive sleepiness, rapid heart rate, deadly hypertensive crisis, thoughts of suicide (hey, that’s NOT a happy thought), excessive sweating and racing thoughts.
The litany of unsavory, unappealing, unattractive and flat-out deadly side effects actually take longer than the sappy, dreamy, slightly nauseating commercial of the dysthymic woman who brightens up just enough at the end of the ad (while they’re spewing out the down side of what they want you to take) to smile sadly at her family. God help us all.
Evidently that’s not a long enough list of what consumers don’t want because they line up by the dozen for the latest pill out there.
It speaks of two disturbing things: Our society can not bear to be anything less than insanely happy and we want to be happy starting right now. Second: we will buy anything, anything pitched to us to make us instantly…happy, beautiful, young, thin, successful, in a relationship, in a better relationship and sexy. So far, even listing unsavory downsides–stating them right in an ad to get you to buy what they want to sell you, even telling a rational man that he should go to the emergency room if he suffers a painful erection that lasts longer than four hours does not deter that eager fellow from putting a little blue pill in his mouth. I wonder if he was told the only remedy for a greater than four-hour painful erection is chopping it off? My instincts sadly say No.
What are we doing? What message are we sending and reinforcing to those who will be leading this nation? That anything less than an ideal standard set by companies who are out to get our money is unacceptable? Why are we rational human beings being so easily lead to a state of existence that only comes from medication and not from personal accomplishment which can and will include at various times in everyone’s life: sadness, boredom, confusion and the dreaded unhappiness. These hardships overcome make us stronger. Working though difficult times actually makes the bright horizon much more meaningful. Alas, we are losing that ability because we are being told to take a pill and let that make us feel better. We will lose the ability to actually act in order to improve or learn to cope with life.

About EF Sweetman

bees, baseball, beverly, ma, culture, manners, society, writing
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