--Disclaimer: I am not a licensed professional, everything mentioned comes from experience and personal opinions.--
I recently embarked on a transformation of sorts. It was time for a new chapter in my life, and I was sick of depression, anxiety, autism and PTSD stealing years of my life away. It took a life altering moment to bring me to clarity, but I needed a healthy dose of it. Some tragic things happened to me in the past, but I had to make a choice about my lifestyle moving forward. I could either choose to continue my thirty-nine month wallowing session, or I could focus on my total body, mind, and spirit to let the healing finally begin. I decided I deserved to heal and be happy for once in my life.
In the very beginning of my journey, there were prescription medication changes to control severe anxiety and depression. I was taken off the antidepressant, Trazodone, and placed on Seroquel; which left me on the floor unconscious, tachycardic, and covered in sweat, not once, but twice within ten minutes.
I was also advised to wean off of the antidepressant Cymbalta which I’d been on for seven years. The side effects of Cymbalta withdrawal are widely dubbed as “Cymbalta Hell” , and at times they’re unbearable. There also exists a drug interaction between a third prescribed antidepressant, Wellbutrin, and Cymbalta. I was not told by the original prescriber of Cymbalta that if I stopped taking the medication, I could experience opiate-like withdrawals for weeks or months or that some people have lost their jobs during the withdrawal phase. I was also not told by the original prescriber of Wellbutrin that it could have some very serious interactions with Cymbalta.
Recently, I remembered that last summer I was experiencing symptoms of autoimmune disorders and was tested for everything under the sun but all my tests were clear. My joints and muscles hurt, I was always tired, my depression was at its worst, and I was fearful for my health. I saw an allergy doctor in June of 2017 who told me to stop taking my cholesterol medicine, Lipitor. The statin-drug controlled my predisposed high cholesterol, but it made me physically and emotionally sick. My primary physician ran countless blood tests to pinpoint the root cause and never looked at my medications as a possibility. My doctors are amazing, and they’re great to me, but time and again unnatural chemicals are handed out carelessly to patients without a simple drug interaction check against medication the patient already takes. I have one physician who checks interactions on every visit, and it isn’t my primary provider.
Many health practitioners can and will prescribe patients a pharmaceutical medication to control a disease or disorder without any recommendation of natural remedies as a care plan. Society, technology, and government have created a health care system where drugs are approved for human consumption with more negative effects on health than positive. Most find it easy to take a pill in order to fix their health problems in a fast-paced world, but the prescriptions may induce mild to severe problems in the future. Luckily, doctors can prescribe other medications to reduce a drug’s side effect, but consider the list of side effects and possible drug interactions of additional medications. Are our bodies biologically designed to ingest all these man made chemicals? It’s a concerning issue for all patients.
Pharmaceutical companies use herbs to make medications, but they isolate chemical parts from the plant. Then they patent the drug. Herbalists use the whole herb and value all the ingredients of the plant. They believe there are fewer side effects because it is naturally occuring. Big Pharma can’t patent a whole plant, and there’s little profit to be made without the patent.
Each plant used as medication contains natural chemicals and an active ingredient. Pharmaceuticals often isolate the active, thus leaving out the hundreds or even thousands of other natural ingredients in the plant. Sometimes, drug companies create a synthetic copy of the active ingredient found in an herb. Failing to include all the ingredients can often result in negative side effects.
In my search for a total detox, if you will, of the mind, body and soul, I’ve looked closely at the history of my biological response to pharmaceutical medications. I acknowledge the lifesaving measures many medications have and that many cannot enjoy life or longevity without them. However, it’s time for me to take this part of my health care into my own hands. My goal is simple- to live as naturally as possible in all areas life. A year from now, I want to control my autism, anxiety, PTSD, and depression with lifestyle changes instead of medications. I now believe I have far more of a say in my healthcare and over my mental health than I previously allowed myself to consider, and it’s empowered me to make important changes to my self-care daily routine.