Here is an excerpt from a new series in The New York Times Opinionator section titled “Going Off:”
Two years ago, meds delivered me from depression. Now I’d like to find a cleaner escape, one as effective as meds, as compelling to me as self-deprivation. Or I’d like to learn to live without trying to escape. Or maybe I’d like to refocus my lens, to stop seeing my brain, my body, as a prison.
I hesitate to link to these articles, written by Diana Spechler, because they’re so egregious in suggesting that going off psychotropic medications is a journey we should all consider if we want to be “free” or “clean.”
We’re all on our own journeys—of that I am certain. I don’t judge Spechler’s decision to stop taking medication. What I do judge is the conceit of the column: that to go off of medication is a form of strength. For many of us, going off medication means jeopardizing our lives.
That The New York Times has published these essays in 2015 boggles the mind.
Please, if you are taking medication, do not let the stigma attached to psychotropic medications as illustrated by this column make you consider stopping treatment, especially if you have bipolar disorder.
To stay on medication, to continue with treatment, to accept that you can’t necessarily will yourself out of a depression or calm yourself down from mania: that is strength. That is freedom. That is, I promise you, no less clean or authentic a life as anyone else’s.