Congress, God and Antidepressants


I write about how to be an effective citizen in the United States.  Where’s God in all of that?  Congress has passed some Godly acts, including Social Security, Medicare and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  These are things that say “I will help you.”  Brahman, Yahweh, God and Allah are all different expressions at different times for different cultures of the same deity, and the One Great Deity calls us, first, to humility.  That would be humility before the Lord, not before human beings.

If I were humble before Man, then I wouldn’t have challenged the medical director of St. Joseph’s Hospital.  I had issues with St. Joe’s.  In 1999, my doctor went on vacation, leaving me in the care of Dr. Jane Kou.  I had been admitted in a suicidal state.  When Kou walked into my room—claiming I was a complete stranger—her first words were “I don’t have much time.  What do you want?”

I wanted, and got, a pass to go home the next day.  I was in no condition to leave the hospital but I didn’t know it and Kou didn’t assess it.  At home, I broke down completely and swallowed a lethal dose of drugs.  When I didn’t return from pass, Kou made no effort to find me—didn’t even have the police knock on my door.  A day later I was ambulanced to the hospital and put on life support where I lingered for a month.  The doctors had no hope that I would survive.

In the hospital’s consequent investigation of the incident, Kou was found without fault.  I wanted to talk to somebody about that and that somebody was the medical director.  Okay, you need to think about this.  I was the lowest of the low, that is, I was a psychiatric patient and I was, literally, drugged out of my mind.  Dr. Peter Breggin has identified a condition he calls “medication spell-binding.”  In doctor-talk that is intoxication anosognosia, a drug-induced cognitive deficit.

In Annie-speak, psych meds mess up your mind in such a way that you can’t tell that they’re messing up your mind.  If you’re getting side effects from the drug to treat your high blood pressure then your brain is still clear enough to figure it out.  However, if you’re getting side effects from the drug to treat your depression, your brain can’t figure out that it’s been compromised.  I’d been taking doctor-ordered antidepressants every day for twenty-six years; my brain was clueless as to how much damage had been done to it.

Here’s another interesting thing:  psychiatric medications can alter your ability to know God. I saw it in myself and others.  You take one drug and you think God is good; the psychiatrist switches you to another drug and you think God is gone.  This area of study is called neurotheology, that is, your brain on religion.  (See also http://www.npr.org/2010/12/15/132078267/neurotheology-where-religion-and-science-collide ).  Your ability to know God can be changed by antidepressants; mine was and not for the better.

So here we have a situation where God was sort of not there in my mind because of brain-altering psychiatric medications.  Not only was God missing but also most of my critical-thinking ability.  I was in a drug-induced state that left me unable to act as a citizen.  For all you conspiracy theorists, picture a nation in which psychiatric hospitals, run by the state, and psychiatrists, licensed by the state, prescribe drugs, paid for by the state, that prevent people from criticizing the state.  Political dissent stops when the prescription starts.

I was the victim of a political shakedown around the same time that I started taking antidepressants.  I still had a working brain and I used it to take action against the political appointee who committed a crime against me.  I also was a member of a spiritual congregation, however, the congregation did not have a bible study group, nor did it pay much attention to the bible.  Instead, it was a congregation wholly committed to social action.  Well, that’s all fine and dandy.

We are called to be humble before the Lord and to care for each other, which brings us back to Congress passing laws regarding Medicare, Social Security and Americans with Disabilities. 

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:34-40

Jesus fairly shouted, ‘The second most important thing in your life is to take care of each other!’  And so Congress did.  (My foreign policy is very simple:  All children in the world should receive the same level of clean air and water, healthy food, protective housing and education.)

So what it all comes down to is this:  once my brain was freed of antidepressants, I began to read the Holy Bible and understand how God intended for things to work.  Then I began to think critically and address problems.  The problem of a bad doctor nearly killing me was addressed by meeting with the medical director of the hospital.  The psychiatric patient takes on the medical director!

But first, my pastor and I met in the hospital lobby.  (My church had gotten a new pastor, Rev. Craig Schaub, who actually believed in prayer and led a bible study group.)  We talked of what I hoped to accomplish and how it might play out, then we prayed.  In the hospital lobby, f’crissake!  This was totally off the scale on the weird-o-meter.  I had never prayed like that before and would not have then except that Craig led me into it.  Can you imagine?  Praying over a doctor!

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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2 Responses to Congress, God and Antidepressants

  1. annecwoodlen says:

    Anne,

    I read your post and am very sorry that you were one of the thousands who were sucked into the giant exchange of “Health Care” for “Wealth Care.” They tried it with me back when they were pushing “nerve pills” but I quickly learned what the pills were doing to me and quit “cold turkey.” Ever since then I’ve been fighting the meds and keeping as many people off them as possible, particularly children.

    There is no such disorder as Bipolar. These are the people who score highest on both the “Dominant” scale and the “Cautious” scale and are the most creative. Dr. William Marston, in his 1928 book “The Emotions of Normal People,” wrote that these were the most creative and due to the innate traits needed for their creativity, would suffer more mood swings and internal stress than with any other personality. He explained how to identify this personality pattern as early as age 3 and how to teach the child how to deal with it. Well, we let Big Pharma create a concoction to kill the person’s creativity and now research has proven that it works plus it destroys approximately 10% of the person’s brain cells per year and causes a host of other physical and mental disorders. It God allows the earth to last long enough, we will have no artists or musicians. I’m sure God will send a bunch of these evil people to the firey furnace for their deeds..

    I keep writing “It appears to me that man’s primary goal in life is to destroy mankind and convince himself that he has done something good.”

    Roberta

  2. annecwoodlen says:

    Hi Anne,

    I’m Mike Racine, I met you last April in Syracuse.

    I just wanted to thank you in particular for this blog – I could not agree more about what you’ve said about what our priorities should be as human beings.

    We are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, strength and soul, and to love each other as much as we love ourselves. Simple to state, harder to live – but that is our duty.

    Jesus came to reveal the Father’s character to angels and to mankind – He said, “if you have seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” John 14

    How kind, loving, gentle, humble and forgiving the Father turns out to be!

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for writing about faith and prayer, and about God’s power to heal.

    Mike

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