Mental health—on whose terms?

It was the third night since I’d received my prescription for tranquilizers and sleeping pills, which were to be taken both daily and nightly. I was not a student of Christian Science at the time. I was 17 years old, at boarding school, and increasingly unable to function normally.

“I’ve been diagnosed with depression,” I thought to myself. “Can I seriously think of anything more depressing than taking pills for depression?”

I searched for a while. The answer was a very firm “No.” If the problem was depression, I reasoned, it was a state of mind. What could drugs and more sleep do? The disturbing thoughts and troubling existential and moral questions would still be there. I would simply be numbing myself to them by taking drugs. Ultimately, I believed I would be giving up any notion that I could actually think out anything at all for myself by taking the pills. Would freedom of thought still mean anything? I decided not to take the medication again.

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Hard prayer?
December 30, 2013

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