Early on in the road to Peter’s diagnosis, I took him to a psychiatrist. Peter was only three. At the end of the three week session and nearly $1,000 later, the doctor diagnosed him with ADHD. Desperate for relief, I filled the prescription for Ritalin. After a three day trial with no improvement, the doctor prescribed another stimulant. Nothing helped. I never took Peter back to that doctor and he never inquired again about Peter’s well-being.
Peter’s not alone. Statistics show “that more than half of children and teens with autism have been prescribed psychoactive medicine, and over a third have been prescribed two or more at a time.” (http://www.autismspeaks.org/science/science-news/study-finds-most-children-autism-have-taken-psychoactive-medicine) Just like many other children, Peter was simply a guinea pig for a doctor who didn’t have a clue as to how to treat autism. And the rise of autism became just another opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to cash in.
We can all agree that life runs us ragged. Yet does that require prescription drugs to cope? Please don’t confuse me with Tom Cruise because I was team Brooke during that postpartum depression debate. I won’t argue against hormones. Generally, though, it seems that people turn to medication to either escape from life’s troubles or exist in a numb state for survival. The same is true for people using recreational drugs. Just look at the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman and other Hollywood stars who seem to have it all and turn to drugs to try and satiate an insatiable emptiness. (BTW, I’ve never seen his movies. You might’ve remembered that since my movie tastes are a few decades behind.)
I came across an article by Dr. Mike Litrel entitled, “Cocaine or Prayer? How Best to Feel Better.” (http://woodstock.patch.com/groups/cherokee-womens-health-blog/p/cocaine-or-prayer-how-best-to-feel-better_609a3666) I could fool you and say that I pray. I don’t. What I do ascribe to is the ability of each person to connect deep within to find that mental strength to persevere. Prayer is an avenue of hope. We can all generate hope. It’s just how we get there that varies.
The next time you’re feeling down and think you need a prescription to cope with life, think about this from Dr. Litrel:
“We all experience sadness in our lives, a sense of confusion about what we are doing, and, at times, an overwhelming feeling of despair. These are normal human emotions that all too often have a spiritual purpose. Drugs supply relief; but, are they the solution? Health is not just about vital signs, laboratory findings, and medical diagnoses. Part of health is understanding our purpose in life and following that path in our daily actions. When we stray, we are designed to experience unhappiness...[D]epression is not a true diagnosis of the body like cancer or pregnancy. It’s a spiritual discomfort to remind us to look deeper at our lives—and to make a change.”
If I did pray, I’d follow up with—Amen.