The ads pushing pills are everywhere. It’s difficult to avoid images of what we’re supposed to believe happiness looks like. A pill a day keeps depression away.
I wish it were so simple.
For many of us, a pill a day keeps other things away. Enjoyable things, necessary things, even normal body processes. For some of us, the side effects from these pills are too much to handle, their ill effects negating any good the pills may do.
I just left my new doctor’s office with a feeling I’ve rarely had: Pills are not the only way to beat the blues. Not that Big Pharma would have you believe that. They’re called alternative therapies. This feeling I have is a mixture of gratitude, relief, and hope. I think I finally found a healer. I finally found a great physician.
I don’t fear doctors. I fear their prescription pads. I fear the pills they prescribe. I fear the pressure to agree and to comply. No matter how much sugar my old doctor spooned in, those pills just never felt right.
But Dr. P is different. He’s like me. He sees the need to dig deeper and find the root causes. Rather than feeling like your thoughts are in mental quicksand, as they did when I was taking pills, alternative measures to depression and anxiety can be a lifeline to pull you out. Rather than feeling like failure grips your throat, the many talk therapies out there can ease that grip, putting you back into the driver’s seat of your life.
The spectrum of alternative therapies is wide and far-reaching. But Dr. P and I agree we need to add another one to that list: employment.
Many years ago, I thought the depression had won. I was out of work and broke. Bills were piling up. I needed income but felt too depressed to work. My then-doctor tried to convince me that work was good for me. But knowing this truth in a world where jobs are few is a cruel, cruel joke.
Let’s face it, we have too many employees and not enough jobs. It is now an employer’s market where employers can pick and choose. If we can agree that employment is an antidepressant, then you can see the dangers in this fact.
Employment as therapy hits many chords in me. The routine, the purpose, the paycheck at the end of the week, these are all beneficial in some way. Being surrounded by people to connect with may be even more beneficial than we suspect. I mean, even in my darkest hours, a smile or kind gesture can be like a sunrise on a dark morn. We are pack animals. We work better in a team.
Every single one of us is unique and one pill will never fit all. We have to keep searching, learning, inquiring of the pack to find the therapy that makes each one of us tick.
Surrendering to the darkness is not an option.