General Question

OpryLeigh's avatar

Have you ever experienced the following fear (please read details)?

Asked by OpryLeigh (25290points) July 24th, 2009

Long story short (and as many of you may know now) I have a number of mental health problems. Seperation anxiety, generalised anxiety, paranoia and depression (caused by everything I have just mentioned). I used to be medication for these problems but took myself off of it because I didn’t think I needed it. Recently I have come to realise the REAL reason I decided not to take the medication. I am afraid of false happiness/peace of mind.

It’s like when you drink a fair amount of alcohol and you feel blissful (before you get so drunk that you upchuck before falling asleep in the bath!!!). You’re happy but you know it’s the drink that is making you happy and not real, genuine happiness.

All I want from life is some peace of mind but I want it to be real and not just because I have taken a little pill too make me feel that way.

Please, someone say they understand this because I KNOW I need help (either through going back on medication or therapy or something) but I can’t bear the idea that the happiness I may feel during that help won’t be real.

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29 Answers

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Most medications are supposed to even out the dope surges in your brain, what you experience in life is real, positives will still be so as well as negatives but maybe you won’t worry to act out in extremes to them. I wish people weren’t afraid to take their meds’, they save a lot of lives.

marinelife's avatar

When you have chemical imbalances in your brain, which it appears that you do, all you are getting from the medication is back to an even playing field. You are gaining the ability to feel happy.

That does not make the happiness you felt false. It takes the unhappiness you felt from the chemical imbalance away.

Tell yourself you deserve happiness.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Its not false, it’s adjusting your brain chemistry to normal. I think you may be afraid because you are so used to feeling as you’ve felt all these years that anything else, no matter how positive, feels unreal. Be assured that the medicine is not making you into someone unrecognizable, but just helping you in the same way insulin would help a diabetic.

Please talk to your therapist about what you’re going through, and I’m sure that (s)he can help you better than we can.

dalepetrie's avatar

I understand. Not from my personal experience, but through my wife. You see, my wife had a very bad childhood, and she suffers from being very uneven, when we first met, and we were intimate, I’d be ready to sleep, and all of a sudden she’d start testing me. Asking me all these insecure questions, and I’d answer them all right. But once she was done grilling me, she’d then storm out, try to run away, she was so sure I was going to abandon her that she tried to abandon me. But I wouldn’t let her get away with it, even though it meant I got about 2 hours a night of sleep for the first 2 years we were together.

I encouraged her to look into anti-depressants and such, and she said the same thing to me…that she didn’t want drugs to make her feel happy artificially. She was afraid she was losing something of herself, something that she’d EARNED through her experiences. One of her favorite bands of the time was Everclear, and they wrote a song called “Normal Like You” that was about that very topic….basically that I’m not going to go on pills because I don’t want to be normal like you.

But she wanted to become a more even person, she wanted to have a baby, she wanted to stop feeling constantly pained, paranoid, insecure, angry and all the things that went with it. She finally found a medication she liked, and she’s on it still many years later. It works for her, and if she forgets a dose, she HATES who she becomes.

And bottom line is, she doesn’t feel that this is artificial. She feels like this is how people are SUPPOSED to see life. She realizes that the way she USED to see things was twisted and out of touch with reality. This type of anxiety/depression is a chemical imbalance…it makes you perceive the world in a way that it truly is NOT. What IS artificial is living a miserable life because you feel like it’s unnatural for you to think clearly. And that’s hard, you have to admit there’s something “wrong” with you, something “not normal”, and if you like yourself and feel empowered enough to believe that no one should be able to tell you that there’s something “wrong” with you, then it’s a natural defense mechanism to say to yourself, I don’t want these drugs that are just going to make me another sheep like everyone else. It’s easy to see your way of looking at the world as your “unique perspective”, but trust me, you will still have your “unique perspective” on the world, even if you get rid of the chemical imbalance. It’s not cheating, the only cheating you’re doing is cheating yourself by writing off something that could help you lead a much more fulfilling life as “artificial”.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@dalepetrie Thank you for telling me about your wife.

dynamicduo's avatar

Who is to say that the “real” you is the one with the imbalance? Maybe that person was never the real you at all.

I understand your thoughts completely, from personal experience. I am currently on medication to treat my own disorder, and I have realized that the real me is a person who is happy and able to enjoy life, and that at this time in my life the real me is unattainable without some chemical help. The way I feel and am on my medication is not fake, I understand that it is influence by the medicine for sure, but I am able to enjoy my life and focus on other things that have a better impact compared to the person I was without medication.

Ultimately, what matters most to me is that calm mind. I am more than willing to accept help and to admit that I need to accept help at this time in my life. But it did take me time to get to that point.

I highly recommend talking with your therapist about your fear, as they are very much trained to help you explore why you may be afraid of being happy, or your relation with your medicine, et cetera. I am glad that you say you know you need help, and hope you choose to start taking your medications again.

augustlan's avatar

Please, please listen to all of this fine advice you’re getting here. Anxiety/depression medication is not like pot or beer… it doesn’t induce happiness. All it does is restore your brain chemistry. I resisted medication for many years, and God what a waste of time that was! There is no reason to live like that! Go back to therapy, get back on the drugs. Allow yourself to be normal. Once you adjust, you’ll be so relieved. I promise!

Ria777's avatar

sounds like a positive step to me. no one can tell you what to do to make you happy and no one can make you happy but you.

Jack79's avatar

I understand this. What you’re saying is perfect sense. I just don’t think that going on or off medication should ever be a personal choice without discussing it with your doctor first. I have never heard of medication that actually makes you happy (though I don’t know much about this), so I think the medication you’re taking is purely taking some of depression away. This means that the happiness you’re left with is genuine.

In any case, talk to your doctor about using medication (or perhaps changing it).

Ria777's avatar

see this article: “SSRI Antidepressants Clinically Insignificant For Most People”:

http://www.spring.org.uk/2008/02/new-study-ssri-antidepressants-dont.php

this comes from a meta-analysis of many studies, versus just one study.

1000oceans's avatar

i am a believer in both some drugs can be a good thing and also as a believer in organic mental health without the medicines…

i used to be on medication. on and off for the same reasons as you…

the last thing i tried was xanax, its not that it helped calm my nerves but, it was more i felt like i was normal….
sometimes it made me sad to think that…

but, i’m on this new kick where i am just trying to accept myself in every way i can. it’s helping in getting rid of the anxiety. and plus i’ve been taking multivitamins everyday and have feeling better everyday..

medication is not a bad thing though, chemical imbalances are very common, its all about just finding the medication or method that is right for you. Organic might be my way to go for a while and i decided if this vitamin acceptance doesn’t work then yes…medicine isn’t such a bad thing for me.

rooeytoo's avatar

I was in a similar position, there was little quality to my life and I was making unwise choices. I hit the bottom and realized I had to do something. I found a pastoral counselor (who never mentioned god) and I worked with him for quite a few years.

There were times when I was so low, he offered to refer me to a psychiatrist so that I could have drugs prescribed. I personally hate taking pills and I didn’t want to be reliant on one for the rest of my life. So I continued to delve deep into my mind and eventually came to conclusions about why I was the way I was and that I had choices. I could continue to be a victim, I could learn to cope, I could accept and get on with it. There are many ways to “be.”

I now live a pretty ordinary life, I have anxious times and I have peaceful times, happy days and gray days. They are all part of who I have become. And the only time I take a drug is when I get on a plane, I don’t think I will ever conquer that one.

I don’t know if there is a chemical imbalance in my brain caused by a physical problem or if the buried emotions caused my craziness. And it doesn’t matter to me, it simply is the way it was.

I am not saying this is the only way to go, I am simply saying it is what worked for me. For me counseling was the way out.

Good luck.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Taking prescribed medication for what you described is like a diabetic taking insulin—your chemistry is not normal, and normal needs to be restored through actively balancing the equation.

Drinking and self-medicating is not the same thing as taking prescribed medication.

atlantis's avatar

I just wanted to put my two pence in and say that depression and anxiety are real. Whatever stops you from functioning like a normal human being is serious.

If you still want something real you can try changing your zipcode to somwhere with a laid back lifestyle and more sun as dynamic urban life with grey skies and cold weather is detrimental to good mental health.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

Isn’t the mental illness causing you to have false emotions? That is why it is known as an illness rather than part of who you are. The medication is simply to help you be yourself and ignore the symptoms of the illness while you can. Drugs only lead to false emotions when people take them without having the condition the drugs are intended to counteract.

Ria777's avatar

or alternatively, you label the emotions false (or incorrect) because you label them the product of “mental illness”.

the Soviet Union locked up, and China and Cuba still locked up people for having false beliefs about their governments, meaning false according to the governments.

Ria777's avatar

I notice no one has addressed the URL I posted.

Ria777's avatar

I just wanted to put my two pence in and say that depression and anxiety are real. Whatever stops you from functioning like a normal human being is serious.

replace depression with despair and you ask yourself, “what can I do get over my despair” replace anxiety with fear and you can ask, “what do I fear?” or, “how can I conquer my fear?”

dalepetrie's avatar

@Leanne1986 – you’re more than welcome, I hope it helps you see a) that you’re not alone and b) that there’s no reason you have to live like you are.

Ria777's avatar

actually I want to modify an earlier post. you can have what I would call “false” emotions. for “false”, though read immature, self-destructive or what they call in Transactional Analysis theory “scripty”, as in relating to scripts, rather than spontaneous. (Transactional Analysis goes into more detail about this.)

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I swore for years I could handle my own happiness and didn’t need drugs to fix me. I found out I was wrong when I suddnely found myself thinking about throwing myself under the wheels of a semi. The thought came unbidden, out of nowhere, and I came this > < close to doing it. The truck was right in front of me, no more than arm’s length away. It scared the fuck out of me, because no matter how bad things have gotten in my life, suicide was NEVER an option. That horrific thought of killing myself made me realize that I really didn’t have a control on my own happiness. I went to therapy, got some meds that help regulate my moods, and I no longer get those disturbing images of hurting myself.

Drugs don’t give you false happiness, like everyone else says here, you need help sometimes to keep the brain chemicals in the right balance.

JLeslie's avatar

One question I would have is do you feel you have had sufficient therapy to work things through, or are you primarily getting drugs from psyciatrists or other MD’s, without the support of counseling? I am a true believer that we can rewire our brains, gain some control over our emotions, AND I am a true believer in taking medication when needed. I don’t think it is one or the other. If your anxiety and other problems are destructive to your life and people around you, I think you need the medication, at least until the destructive behavior changes. I don’t think medication means your are not “real” in your emotions. Maybe it is worth it to try different medication if you are feeling not yourself on the meds you were taking? A lot of people talk about feeling “normal” again when they get the right meds.

Your example of alcohol is interesting to me, because you talk about getting so drunk you are not thinking about life. This is a red flag to me. That type of self medicating is much more dangerous in my opinion than taking a daily pill to help with a mood disorder. I have no idea if you drink currently, or if that was just an example for the collective?

I think anxiety many times stems from a lack of control, and I also read that anxiety can be caused by avoidance. Do you think that applies to you? Avoiding a person or emotions about a situation that was very difficult? I think if you have been through repeated situations of abuse, this does not have to be someone hitting or yelling at you, for me I felt abused by doctors who were unable to help me, who were condescending and did not take me seriously. I felt like I was suffering from PTSD. It got to a point that the anticipation of going to the doctor was extremely stressful, and after an appointment or procedure I many times had recurrent nightmares for weeks of being chased, shot, physically hurt, eventually I started avoiding going to the doctor. I don’t think the doctors were out to get me or malicious in anyway, but I was not able to handle the situation well. Being able to talk it through helped a lot. If you are seeing a therapist who does not seem to be helping you try another one.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JLeslie I probably didn’t use the alcohol example very well. I don’t drink much alcohol at all because of this fear I have of not feeling real emtions. That is probably one good thing about my problems!

JLeslie's avatar

@Leanne1986 Good :) I hope you feel better and find a solution.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you for your advice and help.

Since reading everybodies replies I have felt much less alone. Thank you all :)

augustlan's avatar

@Leanne1986 You’re never alone on Fluther. :)

SeventhSense's avatar

@Ria777
Interesting article

SeventhSense's avatar

@augustlan
I think we can all appreciate that sentiment but I think it’s a pale comparison to real flesh and blood human contact especially for someone who it seems really needs it.

Aster's avatar

I hate to throw cold water on this upbeat discussion but am I not correct that medication’s benefits wear off? And/or they have a Lot of side effects? There’s no permanent magic bullet.

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