Drugged-up Spirituality?

Via Jennifer Cusano
on Jun 16, 2011
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“Let me apologize to begin with, let me apologize for what I’m about to say. But trying to be genuine was harder than it seemed, and somehow I got caught up in between.” ~ Linkin Park

If I had known, in the beginning , that by turning my back on the fuzzy world of overpaid, pill happy,”doctors”, I would propel myself into the darkest, saddest place I have ever been, I can’t truthfully say I wouldn’t have done it. That being said, I really did give it my best shot on my own, which was kind of worse because there is a terrible feeling of defeat and failure lining the inside of me now. You see I never resurfaced from my Rabbit Hole, and I had to turn back to the prescription pad. Unfortunately I am not in a position to go on retreats, or even pay for a yoga class. We have three kids, one income, and one completely broken mother. To be honest, near the end of my surrender, I stopped reading, meditating, practicing asanas, and basically just sat staring down an invisible void, anyway. Being at war with myself is tiring, and more than a little confusing. Depression is more serious, and real than I realized. (I think?)

My almost immediate response, once I started taking  pills I HATE was so dramatic I loathe it. When I am not thinking about it, I go on, spend time with my kids, find myself stopping during the day thinking man I feel happy, cleaning, doing laundry and folding it. But when it starts tugging at my messed up brain until it has my full, undivided attention, I remember that it isn’t real happiness, but manufactured stability, I hate myself.  I have heard a thousand cushiony stories about chemical instability, and whatever other reasoning. I understand what is being said. I just don’t believe in it, buy it, agree with it, or like it. Because if control is the central path to self-realization, and I am giving up control, being controlled, by something other than me, well it must mean I have absolutely no chance. Which then reminds me about all of the shit I have to wade through if I truly want to be healed, and how it is impossible to do it without medication that chemically alters your brain. I can’t help but wonder if its worth stripping myself down to bare bone, and digging through the trenches. Especially if in the end, with no control, I am shit out of luck.

“When a person gives up all desires

that emerge from the mind, and rests

contented with the Self  by the Self,

he is called a man of firm wisdom”

(B.G. 2.55) Stephen Mitchell translation

I find that may impossible for me to do. The main reason being that the strongest desire I have is a mind that works. When I focus inward and cant climb over this initial barrier, it’s easy to give up and too hard to look at what else I don’t like about myself. Because truth be told, even if I rectify everything else there is a strong possibility that I may never be independent of drugs that are designed to make me “happy”. Those are heavy words, that will never taste right. I am willing to admit that I need help, this just isn’t the type of help I wanted, and I can’t accept that it isn’t my fault. I need to find a better route.

Returning to, being able to return to doing the things I want to do has been incredible. I am able to think clearly now, when I read, and meditate, and practice what limited amount of Yoga I can at home. Realizing that without a clear mind I can not even begin to truly work on myself makes swallowing that pill a little bit easier. Yet, at the same time everyday, I am reminded and ashamed when I swallow that pill. I went into war unarmed, and untrained. Now I know it isn’t a war at all. I should not ever be fighting myself, and I hope someday, after I have done things the right way, I can attempt a sober life again. It will be a while, but even though I took a detour, I have found the right road again. I can clearly see my path, it’s just not as narrow as it first appeared to be.

What I really need to know, is if it is possible to obtain self-realization, can I really be healed, with something foreign in my body? Doesn’t that make every move I make not really my move?




About Jennifer Cusano

Jennifer Cusano, social media aficionado, research connoisseur, and writer du jour, is a Yogi on a path of personal exploration and long overdue healing. Managing Editor for YOGANONYMOUS, Producer for Where Is My Guru, Director of Social Media for YOGASCAPES and TumericALIVE, wife and mother of three, Jenn is really a superhero in disguise—or so she likes to think. In her spare time Jenn likes to read about and search for vampires, so if you happen to know or come across one, please do send them her way. Hit her up on Facebook or Twitter to discuss the various methods of tracking down said vampires. Also she is more than a little uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person, it may just be the hardest thing she's had to do, and that's saying something...


55 Responses to “Drugged-up Spirituality?”

  1. drbinder says:

    Love it. Keep on the path Lotus Flower. Anything can heal anything.

  2. Karen Eliot says:

    There are so many chemicals influencing our bodies and behavior. If this really works for you, I say go with it. And I am NOT a fan of these particular drugs, but different things work for different people.

    I’d be curious to know if it was one of the old drugs or new ones… but that’s not my biz 😉 Take care.

  3. Thanks :))) and I am for sure a willing participant in said discussion.

  4. dan says:

    If one person is going to build a palace (happiness, avoiding future suffering), it’s going to take lifetimes. If we ourselves are not constantly conditioning ourselves against happiness, “the world” steps in to take up the task. So the best I can do is work for lifetimes, and wait for grace. Some people say that reincarnation is false, a crutch, a fantasy. Yet they have no magic wand to de-atrophy other than the imperative to “do it yourself” as if that wasn’t obvious. I’m fine with the possibility of falseness, because while I may not be living in “reality” I can still make progress towards happiness.
    Pills are a crutch, necessary or not depending on what one’s priorities are. Food is a crutch too, taken more for emotional needs than actual function of the body, but take it away without a lot of wisdom and the chaos of all those emotions can quickly overwhelm, making any chance of de-atrophication impossible. So I’m for loving crutches, but recognizing them as the tools they are- as long as one can find that often elusive place of stillness, I think you can still make progress towards peace.
    (And keep away from benzodiazepines if at all possible)

  5. Mara says:

    Thanks for your courage and willingness to share. While you need this medicine right now, I would suggest also doing deep, body-oriented psychotherapy so that any emotional blocks to well-being are being addressed. I suggest body-oriented therapy because the body does not lie, cuts through over-intellectualization, and is a wonderful source of wisdom and guidance for you on this journey. Again, thanks, and go in love!

  6. Jake says:

    I think yoga and meditation might help in the long run, but in my experience, they are slow going, and not quid pro quo. They pay off, but not in the way you always want, and not quickly.

    I have thought about medication, and maybe it would have been a good idea. I respect you for doing this, especially considering you’re a mother.

    Maybe at some point in the future, you can ease off the meds, but who knows? It seems like such a fine balance between being able to function, and living with the chaos that’s just part of regular life.



  7. Ben_Ralston says:

    I want to help you.
    I'll email.

  8. jkvision says:

    Thank you for your honesty! It is refreshing to see. I am all for natural and holistic methods when they work. They do not always work and sometimes we do need medication. Thank Goddess they are available for us if we need them. Blessings to you!!

  9. linneajs says:

    Girl. First things first. I have that exact image (and by exact i mean EXACT) tatoo-ed on my back for the same reasons. So there is a credit for listening to a sister. And believe me I understand your pain. I wont get into it to much here but i've had a similar path. Coming from a certified teacher (me) that it is OK. Depression wants to make everything into a problem, i know. But your medication is not a problem. But could most definitely be your stepping stone to understanding that you can lift beyond the problems. This is an excellent article http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/137?page=3

    Keep doing what you've got to do. Cheers

  10. tanya lee markul says:

    Hi Jennifer. Thank you so much for sharing this. It takes a lot of courage. I have a friend who has been on medication since her mid-teens. She's a wonderful human being but has these moments of the deepest despair I have ever seen. Over the past several years she has discovered a talent for drawing (she is truly amazing at it). She has started to use whatever it was/is that lies within these dark depths in her art, even if she can only portray it in an abstract way. Just recently (in the past year) has she started to come off her medication – there are moments of great fear and also moments of great strength. I just wanted to share this with you for whatever reason. I'm wishing the best to you. I'm glad you are here.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Assoc. Yoga Editor
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  11. hartistic says:

    Wow, you could have been writing about me… exactly how I feel

  12. Lurkitty says:

    Kudos to you, Jennifer!

    I'm a diabetic and have to take insulin. One evening at a yoga/kirtan retreat, my roommate saw me injecting and freaked out. It was understandable because she was scared of needles. Then she said, "I'm afraid of all Western medicine."

    Too often, the knee-jerk response of Westerner seeking enlightenment is to reject anything Western medicine has to offer. Of course, it does have its faults, but rejecting any system out of hand simply because it is Western shows closed-mindedness. Yes, weight loss and exercise could eventually reduce or even eliminate my need for insulin, but, until I have lost the weight, it would be too damaging to go without medication I need.

    There is a raging debate among psychiatrists right now about the overprescribing of psychoactive drugs, especially by family doctors who are not fully trained to prescribe them. Throughout the debate, no one has suggested that such drugs be withdrawn as a whole, but the crucial point is that such drugs were meant as an adjunct to talk therapy, not as a substitute. It has been recognized that taking an antidepressant or other psychoactive can bring a person to state where they can begin the therapy needed to eventually cope with underlying problems at the root of their symptoms.

    I encourage you to investigate low-cost sources of counseling/therapy in your area. Saying that pills are a crutch is only a valid analogy if one remembers that it is not the crutch that heals. The crutch only makes it possible to heal once the leg bone is set.

    I urge you to investigate

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  14. yogijulian says:

    for what it is worth. i think some people just do better with medication. i don't think this in any way negates or limits the transformational efficacy of yoga. i also don't think ancient religious texts knew what we know now about about mental illness (they called this being possessed or seeing god! lol) or about the real challenges of depression or anxiety.

    i say take your meds and do yoga – and drop the romanticizing of some mythic perfect state of self-realization…..

  15. Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

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  16. ManicHendrix says:

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you putting yourself out there like this. I can’t wait to read more about how you are doing! Do you know when you will post next? I printed this out and hung it on my mirror, just to remind me I am not alone. Thankyou a million times!
    The Wanderer

  17. katie says:

    Dear girl, take the medication for now. It is helping you be the person you desire to be. There will come a time, possibly when your children are grown, that you can get off your meds.

  18. randolphr says:

    What a truly good thread …. Makes me wanna give Ele. Journal a warm pat on the trunk & a handful of straw.

    Thanks for your article, Jennifer !!

  19. […] was so angry with myself when I broke down and started seeing the doctor again, and this community really helped me through that hard time. Total strangers stopped to offer me advice and helped me to realize that needing […]

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