Prescription for Prosperity

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Words: Kinga Kusyk (she/her)

Growing up with a different chemically structured brain, medicine was often presented as a key to picking a difficult lock. With a white pill or two, chaos turns into an organised, functioning human life. 

If there is a pill for a hangover, aspirin; a pill for a nasty cough, some Beechams or Lemsip; or a strange rash, (maybe see a doctor for this one), then surely, there must be a beautiful pill for a functioning life? A life away from rotting and wasting away. I will happily take them. I will happily take antidepressants. “Bedrot”, coined largely on social media as a new term for a common aspect of depression; being unable to get up in the morning, to shower or brush your teeth. The common inability to function (under societal norms). In Britain, thanks to the NHS, our country has evaded the commercialisation of medication – antidepressants. The rest of the world is not as lucky. Many American and European channels are flooded with promises of health and happiness – antidepressants are not spared. There is a normality of commercially advertising a “happy and depression free life.” So where has the UK strayed, and should we realign? 

My social media feeds are filled with people getting their shit together – it’s terrifying because as a human being, my first instinct is to simply compare. Compare myself to them, that is. And when I see the high functioning pilates and yoga girls with perfect hair and a vegan diet, a perfect flat, and perfect friends, I realise that without these special white pills, I could never be one of them. That I too would not be able to escape the “Bedrot” allegations. 

So in a country where 8.6 million adults are on prescription antidepressants – with many more attempting to fix their chemical pathways in more or less unorthodox ways, we must acknowledge the elephant in the room: Sertraline, Fluoxetine, and beta-blockers. 

There is undeniably a side of TikTok which glamorises mental health issues and dwells on them. Dare I say it fetishizes them. In a way allowing for individuals to steer away from getting the help they need, encouraging them to instead dwell in their suffering and document it – live in it. There is a distain of the “clean girls” of TikTok from this community, as they mock and envy the more organised lifestyle. Are antidepressants the way? 

Antidepressants are not the only way forward, for many they offer a short term reboot, a restart of chemical pathways. For others it is not an option due to the fear of reliance. For them, alternative medicines such as micro dosing are an attractive alternative. Either way – everyone has their own medicine. Or at least everyone should

The longevity of mental health issues disrupts normality. The idea of a reliance on a prescription is often thought of as defeating, but it shouldn’t be. I know many brave soldiers who refuse to take paracetamol for basic belly aches and who find a form of dignity in their small sufferings – this might be diagnosed as a desire to overcome things naturally. And I think this message can be mirrored with discussions of antidepressants and other mood stabilising medication. 

It seems, many would rather continue the struggle than seek help. Professional help that is. Everyone’s reason for this is personal. But I believe that people find medicine in other things other than prescription drugs; meditation and yoga practices, or cleanses and religious resorts are among the healthier options. At the other end we may recognise drug abuse, restriction, and isolation among other forms of self-harm as a substitute for medical prescriptions. This is where de-stigmatisation is most vital. 

A Marxist understanding of mental health suggests that disorders under capitalism are almost unavoidable. That the fabric of our socioeconomic demographic forces many into an involuntary state of depression. The perception that there is success without the aid of antidepressants is undeniably a false one for most. The illusion that struggle is the fault of one’s own is also unrefuted. Mental illness is strange, and it is cruel. Especially where there exists media which depicts a reality where everyone is happy and able to get out of bed in the morning. Where everything is easy. The Marxist theory of mental health helps us understand that we are not naturally suited to the societal systems we have built, and that many (with the aid of prescriptions) are only then able to prosper.

So perhaps instead of sharing TikTok vlogs and blogs advertising green smoothie recipes and new pilates outfits, maybe they should be sharing their antidepressant dosages instead. To help us touch grass and fade away the illusion of perfection without prescription. Maybe not.


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