View from the Hill
Take a Chill Pill
By Catherine Durkin Robinson
Sep 4, 2011 - 9:43:43 PM

LOS ANGELES—I give off a certain “do-it yourself” vibe. This attitude, combined with my independent streak and naturally curly hair, might suggest to some that I’m against professional help of any kind.

I’m not.

In the past year, I’ve talked to many friends and relatives who have experienced mental health problems such as depression, anxiety attacks and temper tantrums. Their mood swings can be triggered by serious issues like personality conflicts at work or something as trivial as a missing sweater.


Why are so many people losing it? Who knows? We all have such high expectations, but often expect even more from ourselves. Combine that pressure with demanding careers and children who’ve suddenly forgotten how to flush ”“ it’s no wonder so many of us need help. We’re human, with breaking points, and suffer tremendously when that’s made clear.

Studies show that more moms are medicated today than when our parents were raising children. No one doubts that many might be unnecessarily sedated, but it’s hard to argue with someone who is suffering and needs help. At best, meds used sparingly can get people over the hump to where competent therapists, behavior changes and more natural coping mechanisms await.

When I suggest a remedy like therapy or medication, instead of a night out with the girls, the reaction isn’t always positive.

Then I explain how people I love have been saved by such solutions.

Before you scoff or suggest that we’re enabling those who should snap out of it on their own, consider these examples. There’s the mom whose tantrums isolated her from everyone until she discovered meditation and acupuncture. Another middle-aged woman, too frightened to leave home, found relief when a doctor diagnosed an anxiety disorder and she began counseling. What about the dedicated dad whose unresolved demons threatened to keep him in bed for months until Paxil cleared the fog?

These independent, strong, and self-motivated people needed the help that modern medicine could provide, and they are alive and well today because of it. Take the shame and guilt out of any equation and it’s always easier to accept.

A doctor’s appointment is sometimes the best way to maneuver an overscheduled, controlling, modern-day mom through her day, or at least to happy hour, without killing anyone.

We have more choices now than ever before, and sometimes those choices are overwhelming. When I was a new mom, I found that screaming into a pillow helped tremendously. Others zone out in front of the television or computer each night. Who’s to say which life-saving method is best for everyone?

When you’re in a storm, any port will do.

Friendships fail, marriages disintegrate, and kids wind up with ulcers because adults can’t get it together on their own. There is no shame in pharmaceutical intervention if those pharmaceuticals keep you off the ledge ”“ or keep others from throwing you off.

I’m getting dangerously close to needing this solution myself. One more notice from my sons’ school regarding lice infestation and I’m raiding someone’s medicine cabinet.

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