A friend of mine is married to a vet with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. To help deal with his illness, he’s under the influence of a covey of medications. To help her deal with her husband’s outbursts my friend decided to take a few meds herself. Whatever else might be said about the medications involved in this story, my friend’s ability to write has all but vanished like the promises of a government to the soldiers who went to war.
We begin in the early years of a child’s life, dealing with any sort of behavior problems with medications prescribed by men and women who receive kickbacks from the companies who sell the drugs. Television commercials bombard us with promises of cure and relief from all of life’s many problems, and implicit in all these messages is the idea that no matter what sort of side effects there are, be it heart attack, anal seepage, or driving while fast asleep, all of this is an acceptable risk to be under the influence of whatever drug is being suggested, and sold.
We, as Americans, stand at the cusp of the Chemical Holocaust. Like prisoners being herded into camps, we are now separated into the brain numbing showers by disease and disorder. You, with the heart condition, you have to take this medication and you there with arthritis, you must take this medication until your heart demands this medication, and you there, yes you! You don’t fit in so well, so we’ll give you this medication, and maybe your parents can find some peace from who you are!
Profit is the new Hitler. It is to the almighty dollar the makers of these chemicals do their straight arm Seig Heil! It is not the Brown Shirts that we have to fear but the White Coats. It is not a timid and obedient populace we have to fear is complicit but rather a population too damn stoned to understand what is going on around them. A multibillion dollar Death Camp is being built in our homes, in our schools, and in our minds. Nothing that is natural, willful or feral will be left in our thoughts. We are going to be anaesthetized, euthanized, and while our mental facilities and emotional property whither under the dull pearl light of the pharmaceutical’s nightlight those who have poisoned our souls, and the souls of our children, will sleep comfortably with record profits from the last quarter.
Madness is the new sanity.
Rational thought tells us if we are ill then it is good to want to get well. The lie begins when we are taught there is a cure for anything, and everything, in the shape of a pill. The insanity of taking poison to become well is lost on the rational these days. We were supposed to be who we are, not who Novartis Pharmaceuticals, or Roche Products or GlaxoSmithKline can turn us into. Why would we trust billionaires to cure us of disorders that made them rich as they pour their pills down our throats?
Is this the sanity we so desperately seek?
With each child hooked up to the running meter of the never arriving Taxi of Conformity, we lose who that child might have become. That child loses the confidence, the ability, and the desire to harness the inner wildness to some good affect. The paint artist in the inner child? Gone. The writer that turned inward while staring off into space? Gone. The playwright with a dozen imaginary friends, each with their own life? Gone too, murdered by the need to fit everyone, every man, woman, and child, into a nice quiet bundle of soothed nerves and calmed fears, and chemical comas.
Do I rail against each and every form of medication for each and every person? I do not. But chemicals should be the refuge of very last resorts. Pills should be given when each and every single other natural option has been explored and exhausted, not by the big drug makers, not by their lackeys in their white coats, and most certainly not by the government.
I self medicate myself with running, with yoga, Pilates, with free weights, and the never ending saga of three large dogs. I write. I write when I am angry, I write when I am sad, and I write to keep at bay the madness of creativity, even as I stoke those very fires when I write. Oh yes, I tempt those demons within, but they are much a part of my life. They are both what drives me and how I drive the words from the keyboard. I reject the wisdom that peace can come from a bottle of pills or a bottle of beer. A crutch is a crutch, and no difference, I lay this claim openly to you, no difference at all, between a brown bag and a white coat.
Are there medical professionals who can be trusted? Certainly. Are there good men and women to be found there, who without we would most surely be lessened as a race? Without any doubt. But as a profession, as a growing industry, as an economic force from which there is little or no escape, these people endanger us as much as some try to succor us.
What lies within you, no matter how terrifying it may be, is not nearly as frightening as the future offered by those who seek to destroy all that is still feral in us. Look at your hands; they are your way out. Create. Not as a source of absorption, but as a source of divinity. Just as no ship passes through the sea without some sort of foamy wake, you will not create anything in total peace. Breathe in the wildness of your mind, and put it to print, or paint, or carved stone, or music, or prose, or whatever you have created as your own.
Embrace your madness. Pull from it your own life, and live it.