In this next installment of The War on Girls
I take another look at how society is failing us. I feel the need to preempt this with the fact you may not whole heartedly agree with me. I am not a medical professional and I do not claim that all medications are unnecessary. Perhaps you function perfectly well with them and live a ‘normal’ life. Or maybe you are living in a part of the world where it seems unfathomable and unbelievable that one could live a life dependent on anything but a superior being. Then again maybe this story will be all too real for you and a truth you too share. Which ever walk of life brings you to The War on Girls
series at ACR, I thank you for your open mind and taking the time to hear my words.
There was a time in my life where I was dependent on drugs just to get through the day. I was taking them to fight off the depression and anxiety that plagued my life after the sudden death of my father and during a near divorce in my marriage. Out in public, even with friends, anxiety attacks would make me want to rush home and just be alone. In my solitude I could not find comfort and the emptiness would swallow me up. I did not feel safe in my own skin. My pills became my security blanket, helping me to feel…well to feel nothing. They did not make me happy and they could not make me forget. However, a quick swallow and life would just slow down for a long enough moment that I could relax and calm down. My depression weighted on me heavily and often I just wanted to sleep. Something my medication helped me do easily. I may have not been having to feel the entirety of my sadness but I was not living life fully either.
It was not the solution I had sought after for myself. I had tried to be independent and take it all on by myself. Even my closest friends did not know what I was keeping to myself. My religion told me I could take it all on with prayer and my nomadic free spirit pushed me to carry the weight myself. But when it got to be all too much after my father’s funeral, my mum urged me to see a doctor for medical help. I had seen therapists before and I was hungry to talk to someone. To have someone hear me who could listen and offer advice. My psychiatrist however spent more time filling out my prescription than he did asking about how I was doing or listening to what I had to say. I became seduced by the magical idea that a miracle pill could help me. After all it had helped friends I know. Was I buying into the idea that having prescriptions was trendy? I was too sad and too anxious to focus on anything but change my current state of mind.
“There were issues with the dosage while I was taking it as they tried to find the right amount over the course of my treatment. After getting my dosage raised once and still taking it in the morning, it would knock me out so quickly. I would not even know I was getting tired until I was fast asleep. It was more than that it was the way it took away the passion and the heart of my personality. I may have not been myself with dealing with everything going on in my life, but I was definitely not me on Klonopin either. My emotions felt very flat and if I was needing to take another pill I could be really irritable and upset. I remember just wanting to be alone a lot of the time. Being around my in-laws at all brings on a lot of stress and I just sat in a closet once during the Christmas holiday to find some quiet and past out amongst the coats and the darkness until my husband found me. There did not seem to be an end to this tunnel because it was masking the problems. It was not fixing the loss of my dad or the cracks in my marriage.”
– Excerpt from ‘Overcoming Klonopin’
You can click the link above in the excerpt to read the whole story of my personal journey with taking Klonopin. In the end I found alternative people with optional solutions to help me find my happiness. I realised that it was okay to ask for help and that I would have to rely on myself and be okay with that fact. While I cannot change my past I look at my experience as a way to connect and reach out to others. I cannot help but think that people like me have been failed by society and the people around us. In a world where it is so much easier to find a medicinal answer to our ailments instead of a solution for the underlining problems. Where everyone wants to get the job done and fix things but no one wants to take the time to listen. Where we feel too scared to reach out to our friends when we are ourselves drowning in pain. When as girls it is easier to just say we should ‘see a doctor’ or be put on medication then to see us as beautiful, raw, individuals with our individual flaws. I have in-laws who continue to see me as a broken individual, a fragile rose with thorns, a person who should always have to see a doctor. Why? For the believe that depression never ‘really’ goes away. Who makes these rules and puts these shackles on us just because we are girls who feel ever pain and strain of the world around us? Why must the girls of this world be made to feel like we are worth less and unable to be built up stronger than ever before?
I am happy to say that I found my happiness in England. The anxiety attacks which still plagued me every now and then up until 2011 stopped as soon as I relocated back to Europe. It amazes me that the personal triggers and situations that I knew all too well, do not phase me in my ex-pat life abroad. I finally feel like myself. I am not saying I do not ever get sad. I am not immune to monthly mood swings, culture shock and homesickness. I recognize that things like ‘seasonal depression’ do exist with the changing seasons and shorter days. For me personally I focus on a more positive look at life and I know what things can quickly turn my mood around. Cuddles from my boys, kisses from my husband, and being outside on a country walk do more for me than my pills could have done. It makes me thankful to know that life does get better.
The photographs in this post were from my project, Secret Lies of Men & Women. The middle image pictured was the main image chosen to represent my woman who was dependent on drugs and alcohol. The lie written on her hand states ‘i am inDEPENDENT’. I chose to write the the word ‘dependent’ in all caps as it was the real truth visible in the image series.
*Model: Pua | Make-up Artist: Dhyana Leung
**Photography by Bonnie Rose Photography © 2007 – 2013 All Rights Reserved | http://www.bonnie-rose.co.uk