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Antidepressants and the American Zombification

Antidepressants and the American Zombification

I get bored quickly. I have ADD – and when it comes to numbers I have a serious case of OCD. Occasionally, I wish people away by completely ignoring them, not in spite, mind you. I just don’t want to be bothered. I have things on my mind – scratching to get out – and stuff to accomplish, however trivial, thank you very much. Yes, my anti-social tendencies can be annoying to some and I am aware that I have the patience of a claustrophobic man trapped in a dumbwaiter. Whatever. If I’m comfortable with it then you will have to be too. I see no need to change.

E. laughs at me because I can’t let anything stop on an even number, especially the radio volume in my car. But it isn’t just the radio volume. Even the microwave has to be timed to 61 seconds, or 47 or 23, whatever, just not an even number. I prefer prime numbers, but if I have to then an odd number will work.

I hate even numbers. They’re like sheep, they just want to get along with everyone. Look at 20 – divisible by 2, 4, 5, 10, etc. Just the perfect little conformist. Nothing individual about it, is there. It’s not at all like 13, the perfect number, bold, demanding, full of mystery and intrigue, with a dark side. And singular, too, alone against the world with only its fellow primes to identify with, unwilling to be divided or made lesser than what it is. That’s sexy and strong.

“Your car is ridiculous, always so neat and clean.” E. says, as if there is something wrong with that. “I just pile stuff in the back of mine. It’s where all of my workout clothes are.”

“Uh-h-h-h. Not just the car, really.”

No. The house, my workspace, my closets. I hate clutter. In fact, if there is anything piled on my desk or papers laying around I can’t work until I order them neatly and get everything in line or filed away. It’s the same on my computer desktop, nothing out of place.

It’s all related, these quirks that to some degree define me. But I’d never want to change them. And I can never understand why so many choose to alter who they are, especially if it takes you from a unique 13 to a common 20. Uniqueness has never been easy. It isn’t about getting along, becoming one of the bunch. It’s about having a voice, being you and standing up to the world and experiencing it on your own terms.

Were I younger, school-age, the AMA (the American Medical Association) and its doctors would argue that I need to be medicated in order to navigate the murky waters of life. But their perspective, along with their Big Pharma brothers, is that life’s waters should be a quiet surface of reflection and tranquility. Their’s is a groovy, smooth sailing, let’s-all-get-along-and-not-make-waves kind of world. Life as a Prozac or Paxil glide – a flatline from now to the never never. Thank you, no. These drugs aren’t just robbing us of our unique reactions to the world . They are making us dead to the changes we see. And they are helping to steal the American Dream.

Seventy percent of americans take some form of prescription medication daily. And nearly half take two or more! (Link) One of the most popular forms of medication is, of course, antidepressants.

I realize there are some who suffer from serious depression, but I refuse to believe that most people who claim to be or are told they are “depressed” qualify for any suicide watch lists. Depression today, and its treatment, isn’t about health. It’s a way of not coping and it has quite simply become big business.

I’ve glimpsed that world of pacified perspectives and flat-lined emotions. It is the definition of unending purgatory, the living-dead marching in never-ending circles, an infinite loop of grey. It’s fucking Zombieland made real. And, unfortunately, we are engulfed by it.

35 million people in the U.S. take antidepressants. One in four women over 40 are on them. That, by the way, is a 400 percent increase since the 1980s, according to the people at Harvard Health (Link). And those numbers are only climbing.

Ladies, if I told you I had the perfect little pill and for only $30 a month it would make you gain weight, lose sexual desire, make you tired, and up your irritability quotient to the nth degree, how many of you would sign up? Come on, a show of hands, please. Right, none. And men, half the reason Viagra exists is because you don’t have the balls to just deal with it – whatever it is.

Your doctor is not God. He holds hands with Big Pharma and together they sing Kumbaya while the annuity that is your fake depression funds their retirements. Think about it. Close to 70 percent of those prescribed with antidepressants shouldn’t be, according to practically every study published in the last decade.

Looking at the statistics, it isn’t a far leap to say that antidepressants in the U.S. are the AMA’s get rich quick scheme for its members. In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline was fined $3 billion for bribing doctors, and others have done the same thing without being prosecuted. (Link and Link) Before you jump to defend your favorite doc, consider that it has been known for years that the drugs are mostly ineffective and that most people on them don’t meet the clinical definition of depressed. Your doctor knows this and still prescribes the medication.

Why do so many choose to become sheep and hand over control of their lives to people whose only real motive is profit? This question is especially relevant when you consider that you have a 50 / 50 chance of actually getting ANY benefit at all from the drugs if you are depressed. (Link) And those who do get some benefit from being on antidepressants tend to slip back into depression after a while in treatment anyway. (Probably because they can’t have sex, they get fat and they find themselves irritating.) And several studies have shown that placebos are almost as effective as antidepressants. (Link)

There is a word for all of this and those living in a Prozac fog can certainly understand it: scam. You have (we have), for the most part, been duped. The first line of treatment for anyone who might be depressed should be to see a therapist. Talking doesn’t alter your physiology or your neurochemical balance. Everyone should be able to agree with this. But of the pharmaceutically pacified less than 33 percent have ever seen a therapist for their problems. One could easily make the argument that this is a gross case of negligence and medical malpractice by Big Pharma, the AMA and its members, similar to what the cigarette companies did.

It isn’t difficult to understand why so few see a therapist. It costs more for therapy because health insurance only covers a small part of it, or none of it at all. It’s much easier to go to the pharmacy and fill a prescription and let your insurance pay for it than it is to spend time talking to someone.

What all of this means, in today’s tilted vernacular, is that therapists, counselors and psychologists suck as lobbyists compared to Big Pharma, and, most likely, they don’t have the money to compete. No shocker there. Money buys anything and anyone today, including, apparently, the AMA. Why else would the AMA not be asking questions regarding the ethics of general doctors prescribing antidepressants without first sending patients to therapy? (Link) And it has to make anyone ask the question, is your family doctor really the one qualified to prescribe these drugs? Given the ridiculous number of people misdiagnosed – and the fact that the overwhelming majority of those on antidepressants shouldn’t be – the answer would seem clear. They aren’t even close to being qualified.

So what? you might ask. Business as usual. But there may be other ramifications that we haven’t considered, some straight out of science fiction. Our general pacification may have led to a lot of our current social and political circumstances.

We live in a country that claims to be christian and yet justifies torture. (In fact, the religious are among the biggest supporters of torture by the U.S. government – Link) We live in a country where the banks can commit outright fraud and steal homes from people due to a crisis they created and no one – NOT ONE PERSON – is in jail for this. In fact, we bailed them out of their illegalities and financial problems and allowed them to simply continue on. Unchanged, unfazed. We live in a country where the NSA can invade anyone’s privacy at any time – and has – and yet we allow our government and mainstream media to vilify Edward Snowden, the man responsible for exposing the NSA’s wrong-doings, without ever holding the NSA and its leaders culpable.

I’m willing to concede that much of this acquiescence to torture and fraud is just fortunate timing. I don’t believe there is a sinister plot by some secret cabal to chemically pacify the population and become the Orwellian nightmare with which we are all too familiar. But a lot of this has been made possible because many of the outraged voices we need to combat these evils are being silenced with antidepressants. They are being tongue-tied by a pharmacological tourniquet. They simply shrug and move through the grey that is their day, as if detaining innocent people for years in Guantanamo Bay is no big deal. If it doesn’t touch their lives then, hey, no worries. (Link)

But it is a big deal. Accountability starts with the middle class. Every day the middle class in this country is being systematically dismantled, disenfranchised and neutered. And we willingly go along with it. We no longer fight for what is right, just, or what should be ours. In fact, many of us fight against our best interests partly because we don’t have the energy or passion to look beyond the surface at what is happening. For a large number of us that energy and passion has been stolen by drugs.

Consider the national debt, something those in D.C. have convinced us is the fault of the middle class and the poor. And the middle class is beginning to buy their lies and rhetoric. No one discusses the fact that one trillion dollars of our national debt came from Bush’s trumped up wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one discusses the fact that another trillion dollars came from the bailout of Wall Street. Neither of which is the responsibility of the middle class. Massive tax breaks to our wealthiest corporations and individuals is not a middle class drain on the system. Yet, combined, they have contributed over a trillion dollars towards the national debt because of their unpatriotic greed. Then there is the military which accounts for 43 percent of our national budget, and which is a major contributor to our national debt – and, again, not the responsibility of the middle class. Yet, some in the middle class defend these wrongs while most are simply mute.

What they also want to argue is that Social Security is broken and has to be “fixed” and that we must cut programs to the poor and truly needy in order to reduce the debt. With regards to Social Security, it has never contributed one dime towards the national debt and is fully solvent for at least twenty years. And if we really want to claim to be a “christian” nation then stomping on the poor at a time when they are most in need is not a real alternative, is it? Still, they are being met with little resistance by the masses.

Alan Moore in his graphic novel “V For Vendetta” got it right when he wrote: “People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” In a true democracy those running things don’t get to rape the treasury, start wars on trumped up evidence, or detain the innocent in horrid conditions for years without reprisals. Accountability in a democracy starts with the middle class. The middle class are the masses, but If its anger over these wrongs doesn’t find a voice, then the middle class can’t expect to own the future. And if your voice has a drug-induced gag that makes it impossible to get too emotional or involved then you are handicapped from the start.

We like to think of the hippies and pot-heads of the ‘60s and ‘70s as the ultimate pacifists with their love-ins, flower-power and laid-back attitudes. “Everything’s groovy, man.” But they were also incredibly active socially and politically as a group. Their voice was heard and it made a difference. They brought to everyone’s attention the inequities in our society and problems with the war in Vietnam. While the hippie’s drug-induced smooth sailing attitude is similar to today’s antidepressant fog there is one clear difference. Hippies got high for a while. They didn’t stay that way for 24 hours a day or for months or years. Their moments of inaction and checking-out were tempered by a great deal of organized rebellion. They were wary and untrusting of "the man". That isn’t so for those riding the antidepressant wave.

The middle class has been fractured over many things in recent years, including the economic collapse, fringe ideologies that dominate the corporate mainstream media, a growing lack of cohesive power with unions being neutered while manufacturing disappears, and the zombification of so many of us walking around in a medicated haze. A cohesive middle class built this country and its empire. It needs a strong and more focussed voice to fight back against those forces that are trying daily to beat it back into submission. And with one needless pill at a time antidepressants are helping to dismantle the American Dream and send us back to the days of Hoover.

All of this may seem like so much science fiction, this transformation of our society and the numbing of so many of us toward the changes we are witnessing. But we should all remember that even here, in the U.S. of A., we are only one disaster, one emergency or one election away from our own dystopian future. It can happen here as easily as anywhere. And history books are filled with horrors we should have seen coming.

in category Life

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