The news that many common medications cause depression is supported by reading the side effects of these medications. If the side effects of one particular medication include neurological symptoms such as fatigue, malaise, disrupted sleep, or grogginess, never mind more dramatic cognitive and behavioral symptoms, then clearly that medication is disrupting the patients’ neurological balance, and depression is a primary indicator of a disrupted neurological balance. Very likely this effect is under-reported in the aggregate because in many cases the disruption is not severe enough to warrant a full-on clinical diagnosis of depression.
For me, this Daily Mail article isn’t about depression. The elephant in the room is that a side effect such as depression, clearly seen, is only a symptom of probable whole-system disruption. Reading between the lines, this article is describing holistic disruption of body chemistry and therefore neurology. We are our nervous systems, and so the real story is that these medications are causing an aggregate diminution of humanity. So far in our world, this effect has been obscured by three factors: the inherently vague nature of the side effects, the difficulty measuring them, and the catch-22 in which people’s cognitive abilities are dulled by the drugs, making them unable to accurately self-report the effects.
We as a society are in active denial of the full weight of the side effects of many common medications. People routinely accept that their medications make them tired or sleep badly, and their medical professionals also passively accept these signs of a diminishing of self. I urge a greater clarity of thought and more conscious acknowledgement that these drugs are making us smaller and less than the full people we are meant to be.
Here in blue is a quote from Chapter 2 of Just Stay Home. This chapter uses the side effects of common medications to make the point that we must have smaller lives in order to have safer, healthier lives.
Everyone wants carefree sexuality and stylish mobility, which are aspects of a life lived large. So women go on the pill and buy a new car. Modern pharmaceuticals have innocuous names, but they are powerful chemicals that affect multiple body systems. We are chemical beings, and these medications disrupt our chemical balance. Even if you don’t recognize the listed potential side effects within yourself, it is a guarantee that the adverse effects to your body are on a spectrum. If the potential side effects include neurological disruption such as insomnia and depression, then the medication is making your sleep just a little worse, affecting your mood and cognition at least a little bit.
Birth control pills allow for carefree sexuality, but important studies have shown that women who take the pill are much more likely to have depression. Are birth control pills your own gateway drug, leading to sleep aids (which used to be called sleeping pills) or mood stabilizers (which used to be called antidepressants)? How can we imagine that these medications with their complex and cumulative impacts, are not weakening us and making us more likely to need yet others for the maladies of later life?
Here is a link to the full chapter: