Being Mad about Psychiatry and Psychiatric Medication
I used to be a person who was very mad about psychiatry and psychiatric medication (psych meds). I had that vehement anger we often hear from antipsychiatrists although I was not antipsychatiry, per se. My biggest fantasy, at the time, was to take the horrible medications I was prescribed and shove them down the throat of the prescribing doctor. If only they had to take the medications, they would be more empathetic, more compassionate, more human. But I learned that being mad about psychiatric medication and psychiatry is a losing game and it really got me nowhere.
Being Mad about Psychiatry and Psych Meds
I do think it’s normal to be mad about bipolar disorder and I do think it’s mad to go through a stage of anger about everything that bipolar disorder forces you to go through. And I do think it’s normal to want to take that anger out on the people you deal with in that realm: psychiatrists. And, considering the side effect profile of many psychiatric medications, I do think it’s normal to be mad about that, too. Anger is a natural reaction when we’re put in such an unfortunate situation. And why not be mad at psychiatry? It feels like psychiatry is doing something horrible to us.
What’s the Point of Being Mad at Psychiatry?
But while I think this is a normal phase in acceptance of bipolar disorder and of a life with bipolar disorder, I really feel, that in the end, being mad at psychiatry is pointless. It’s like being mad at cardiology because you have a heart condition. Cardiology didn’t do anything to your heart, it was just the unfortunate specialty that got to diagnose your heart problem. It was just the unfortunate specialty you will have to deal with regarding that problem. It was just the unfortunate specialty that then is responsible for keeping you alive and well. (And I hear that heart medications are no carnival ride, either.)
So what do you really get from being mad at psychiatry? What are you really gaining from that raging anger? I would argue, you’re gaining nothing. You’re just holding onto a fireball and you’re the one getting burned.
Getting Past Psychiatry and Psychiatric Medication Anger
Like I said, I went through this phase myself and, if I remember correctly, this phase lasted a long time – years. This wasn’t something that I easily moved through. But, now, I find myself not angry like that at all. I’m angry at the bipolar – it’s unfair and cruel – but I’m not angry at psychiatry at people there are actually the ones trying to help and I’m no longer mad about psychiatric medications as they are the tools with which they try to help.
I think I’ve come to understand how limited psychiatry is – through no fault of its own. I’ve come to understand how complicated the brain is and how little we understand it. I’ve come of realize that while many of the medications we take for bipolar disorder and other mental illness are horrible, they are the best we have. Yes, I know it feel like we’re trying to kill a fly by smashing at it with a two-by-four and really often just smashing our head in the process, but what else is there to do? Our best is sucky, I get it, but it’s our best. Psychiatry and psychiatric medication is what we have to work with. Period. And being angry at this very real reality just hurts us and hinders our ability to deal with the mental illness.
Because if you’re walking around pissed off all the time, if you’re walking around wanting to shove your medications down other peoples’ throats, if you’re walking around with that fireball just waiting for someone to throw it at, you’re not focused on making things better – you are not focused on the loving people around you, or using your coping skills, or trying to do what you can to improve your situation.
So while I do believe this anger at psychiatry is normal, it’s also destructive. It hurts us, it hurts our critical relationship with our healthcare provider(s) and it hurts those around us. So the next time you find yourself wanting to defenestrate your psychiatrist, ask yourself what you’re gaining by holding onto that anger; and ask yourself who you’re hurting by doing it. If you’re honest, you’ll see that you’re hurting yourself.