Chris Cornell and Mental Health Drugs

Chris CornellRegarding Chris Cornell’s death and the question of whether anxiety medication or antidepressants are harmful.

My brutally honest experiences play out thus: it takes a long time to find the correct medication for your body chemistry and if you’re on the wrong one for too long, it can indeed cause Chris-level of results. I have been medicated for depression and anxiety stemming from PTSD since I lost my child, which was 12 years ago. I should have been on mental health drugs when I was younger but I never verbalized the need until it was a desperate situation. It’s only been in the last 4 years that I’ve been on the correct medication. In fact, one of the most popular drugs, Zoloft, almost landed me in intensive care because my blood pressure bottomed out to 80/50 for over a week. Other drugs have worsened my symptoms instead of helping them. It took more time than not to find the right combination for my body.

Whether you live with PTSD, depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, a drug alone is not going to solve the problem. You have to maintain a dialogue with yourself through cognitive behavioral therapy, regular counseling, anger management, more intensive psychiatric treatment if necessary, or alternative medicine like the holistic route, a strict meditation regime, yoga, art therapy, etc. You have to be willing to touch the dark thing that put you in your illness in the first place. Only taking pills, in my experience, simply puts a Band-Aid on the illness. You wouldn’t just take ibuprofen for a broken bone and call it a day, would you? No, you’d combine medication with medical treatment. Mental illness has to be approached the same way as approaching any other physical illness or injury.

Chris Cornell’s wife is probably correct in blaming the drugs her husband was on when he died. I’ve known other people to suffer on the wrong treatment plan too. I’ve been one of them but luckily I never reached the point of no return – at least in a way that succeeded.

Why are people on the wrong antidepressants so often? I don’t know for sure. I do know that mental health is still thought of as a shameful thing. It’s even a secret in my own household because people are ashamed of their mental health needs. I’m not ashamed of it, nor am I secretive about it, because I’m years and years into PTSD treatment. I’ve been through various kinds of therapy mixed with drugs and so forth (when my insurance allows it). I know what works for me. But I also know I’m not a typical case because so many people are simply handed pills and expected to recover immediately.

Until attitudes about mental health issues are changed in this country, tragedies like Chris Cornell’s suicide are still going to happen.

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