Actually just about everything has the capacity to make me angry and usually manages it at some point or another but this is one thing in particular. It’s this article from the BBC that goes down the whole anti-depressants are a bad idea story line. It’s not the content itself I want to rant about, I’ll leave that to others, instead it’s the basic assumption that medication isn’t the only option readily available and accessible through the NHS. Ok, the article isn’t as balatant as others I’ve read in pushing the idea of a fluffy, useful mental health service. My particular favourite was in one of these ‘Write to our Dr.’ type columns in some trashy womens magazines.
Question: I’ve been feeling a bit miserable on and off for the past year. What should I do?
Answer: It sounds like you could be suffering from depression. Go and see your GP and they’ll set you up with a course of counselling and maybe some therapy called CBT.
You’ve got to be joking. You’ll go see your GP, either they’ll tell you that you need to get out and do some more exercise, lose weight, stop smoking or any of the other behaviour based changes that can boost mood or more likely (at least in my experience) they’ll stick you on some crappy dose of dirt cheap anti-depressant – 10mg fluoxetine or similar – in the hope it will improve things via the placebo effect if nothing else. And people will take the pills because they won’t be offered that alternative, the therapy or the counselling that might really begin to address the underlying health concerns. This isn’t the GPs fault, it’s just the way the system is set up to function. Most of those people won’t come back, the “depression” will be a temporary blip and they will get through it but for those that it’s something more then years later, they’ll still be waiting, still unable to access any form of real support.
In all honesty, I hate the fact I’m dependant on my happy pills. I hate what happens when I forget to take them and the thought of being on them for ever more terrifies me. But don’t try and take them away from me, right or wrong, I need them to get me through the day. So go ahead and insult the meds, say they’re a bad idea but make damn sure you’ve got an accessible, functional alternative in place before you take them away.