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This week our state passed two measures that change which crimes are considered misdemeanors and which are felonies. Basically it reduced the charge for people who had a small amount of drugs on them or stole things under a certain dollar value. I’m a little shocked that it passed. The other one established a fund for alternative programs so that we could reduce the prison population in the state.
I saw both measures as a good thing.
Some people I know didn’t … especially those who have family members in law enforcement. I had to walk away from a few heated discussions where they joked about “drug addicts” voting for those new laws.
I’m a recovering addict. Our son is a recovering addict. It’s a battle every single day to do what’s right and having people label you sure doesn’t make it any easier.
I see the new law changes as a good thing, because someone can now come out of rehab with a misdemeanor instead of a felony charge, which makes it a lot easier for them to find a job. Finding a job makes it a lot easier for them to support themselves. Supporting themselves makes it a lot easier to stay out of trouble and not end up back in jail or prison.
I thought I had already told him. The look on his face said I hadn’t. I was actually telling someone else, but he was with me so he heard.
“People don’t realize that a pill doesn’t know to only make good changes to a person’s brain. Sometimes it makes bad changes. The only time I’ve ever thought about hurting myself or somebody else was when I was on Paxil. The ONLY time.
For years, every time we went to a mall with more than one level, I thought about what it would be like to push someone over the railing. It wasn’t like I was mad at them. I wouldn’t have even known them. It was just a curiosity. What would happen? What would I feel? What would they feel? Would they die instantly? Would people scream?
Things didn’t seem real to me anyway. There wouldn’t be consequences for me. In my mind, there never were.
It was the same way with traffic. What if I swerved into that lane? What if I ran over that person? Not one ounce of anger. Not one feeling. Just a sick curiosity that isn’t in the makeup of the real me”
They sat with shocked looks on their faces. The man who’s trying to help me and the man who already has.
It’s strange that I feel comfortable talking about it now. Mostly because I want other to be aware that antidepressants (particularly SSRI ones) can completely change a person’s behavior and make them think things the real them never would. It’s also strange, because when I was having the thoughts, I never told anyone. So how many thousands of people … maybe millions … are out there having those same thoughts right now? Not understanding that it’s the drugs and not them going insane. How many will act on them? Not because they are evil or want to harm, but because they don’t feel real or the world doesn’t feel real to them.
It happens every day.
I received a message this morning that has made me sad beyond sad. The niece of a good friend from high school and I have been having conversations for months about mental health, overall health, and stress. She’s a very young single mother, working two jobs, with a drug addicted deadbeat ex who doesn’t pay child support or help her with her boys in any way. She’s beyond stressed.
A discussion about a month ago turned to my struggle with prescription medications and my journey to be free of them and live a more content life. She told me that she could never be off of medication because anxiety and depression run in her family (her mother, her aunt, and her brother have all been on meds for as long as I can remember). Well I was told the same thing my entire life too and you know how that turned out. You also know that I would never ever tell somebody that they shouldn’t take something that they believe is working for them. However, I do tell people to watch for side effects and to tell their love ones to watch for the side effects that they can’t see themselves (mainly personality changes like I had that I could NOT see until I woke up in a jail cell).
The message I received this morning basically said that she can’t be around people right now and most days can’t get out of bed. Obviously something isn’t working. I just sent back a message of love and support along with my cell number telling her that she could call or text me anytime. That’s all I can do for now.
But I can’t pretend that it doesn’t make me mad …. beyond mad in fact … whatever beyond mad would be … I don’t know … maybe wanting to scream and hit things with sticks and scream while hitting things with sticks. It makes me mad that she had been prescribed pill after pill after pill and then has those pills changed again and again and again because her doctore doesn’t realize that there are start up side effects and cold turkey withdrawal side effects. She needs a break right now, not another pill, but I don’t know how to convey that to her or if I should even try. So I will do what I can and offer support without preaching and maybe help her find a good therapist who specializes in CBT not a prescription pad.