Is The Pharmaceutical Cure Part of the Disease?

By Dylan Charles, Editor of Waking Times

My flight from the American healthcare system began in my late twenties during a period of severe personal crisis, mostly mental. I was suffering from extreme depression, severe anxiety, and poor physical health from years of a sedentary, entertainment-based lifestyle. The American Dream. I had a wonderful marriage with a child on the way, my own home, plenty of friends, and I was working my dream job that came with a great salary and all the health care benefits I could supposedly need. But I wasn’t happy. I was miserable, emotionally wrecked, and very self-destructive. Why?

Eventually I broke down, decided I needed help and turned to our trustworthy family doctor who I’d known for years. After revealing to him personal details of my mental suffering, he quickly diagnosed me with anxiety and depression, prescribed me two medications that very same day (an anti-anxiety drug, and an anti-schizophrenic/depressant drug); he then he gave me an emergency referral to a highly recommended psychiatrist. When I asked if the drugs were truly necessary and for how long I would need to take them, my doctor said I had a chemical imbalance and that the meds were needed for the rest of my life. I asked if getting exercise or changing my diet could help re-balance me, but he assured me it did not matter, that I would not improve without the drugs. He had free samples of the anti-depressant to give me, and with insurance the whole affair cost me just a few dollars at the pharmacy.

The anxiety pills worked to relax me, but the depression pill made me feel so uncomfortable and weird that I had to place an emergency call to my doctor that same evening explaining that I was not only confused, nervous, and having cold sweats, but I was leaking bodily fluids and mildly twitching all over. Urging me to remain calm, he told me the side effects were very normal and that I would grow accustomed to them over time, adding that I should continue both medications, even increasing their dosages at the end of the week. That turned out to be the last anti-depressant pill I’ve ever taken.

Later in the week I met with the psychiatrist, a very distinguished and accomplished doctor. At this point I was fully convinced that I really just needed to talk with someone who could offer sound advice. There was immediate difficulty for me in opening up to him and I told him so. He assured me it was OK because this was only our first visit of many to come and our relationship would develop over time. Besides, he could still prescribe me the right medications, he said. He didn’t need to know or fully understand all the details at once, he assured me.

I mentioned to him my experience with the medications from my family doctor, and toward the end of a rather uncomfortable first visit the psychiatrist wrote out prescriptions for an additional five pills for me; I was to take a whopping seven different pills per day! This seemed like a shocking amount of medication to me, so I asked a slew of questions about why this was necessary and for how long. The doctor remained entirely confident that this regimen would correct all of my issues. It was absolutely necessary; I had a severe chemical imbalance, he told me — not that big of a deal, and actually very common. I just needed the medications, which were available to me free of charge, today, as samples. I could buy them for the rest of my life at my local pharmacy, paying with my insurance, of course.

Leaving the office with a white plastic bag full of pills in hand — and after my experience with anti-depressants earlier in the week — it seemed counter-intuitive to begin taking this many drugs everyday. Even carefully spacing them out during the day as the psychiatrist recommended to prevent an overlap of side effects, this seemed unhealthy. Dangerous even.

My choices became apparent. I could follow the advice of my doctors and take the drugs, ignoring the deep skepticism I was feeling. I could seek out new doctors and new opinions within a medical system that suddenly seemed to not have my best interests at heart. Or, I could acknowledge the growing voice inside me saying my problems were much too complex and too personal to be cured by a medical system this quick on the draw with pharmaceuticals.

I dropped the bag of pills into the trashcan on the way to the car, never seeing either of the two doctors again. How often does this happen in doctors’ offices? How many people are on mind-altering drugs because this was the first solution recommended by their physician? How many people permanently take these drugs because any alternatives were downplayed? How many people got their first dose of a lifetime for free, as a sample?

These events were pivotal in my life because they sent me in search of wellness outside of the American medical establishment. The next few years were difficult and extremely painful, but a transformation took place within me; over time I began to heal myself through improved diet, much exercise and natural medicines. This transformation would not have been possible if I was dependent on drugs and doctors for guidance, because it was the very acceptance of responsibility for my own health and well-being that triggered the transformation. It was a transformation that was absolutely necessary to develop the immense happiness and fulfillment I enjoy today, without pharmaceuticals, just six years later.

It can be easy to want to pin blame on doctors for coming on so strong with a pharmaceutical solution, but that misses an important lesson. Whatever options we are told to have by people in positions of authority, we can always choose to say “no,” even though the consequences for doing so may seem frightening. Being alert to our own interests, and having the simple courage to say ‘no’ in accordance with personal judgment, can mean the difference between wanting freedom and actually being free. Remember that the next time your doctor offers you free samples of an easy cure.

About the Author

Dylan Charles is the editor of Originally from Austin, Texas, the infowar capital of the world, Dylan is currently living in tropical Latin America with his beautiful wife and three happy children. Both a teacher and student of Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Chi Kung, and Yoga, Dylan is a passionate believer in the power of personal transformation and its ability to positively impact the world. Part activist, part spiritual voyager, part recluse, Dylan envisions his work with Waking Times as an opportunity to assist others in liberating themselves from the confines of fear and violence based programming. His shamanic adventures have instilled in him an intense appreciation of the Earth and a dramatic ability to empathize with the suffering of those trampled under by institutional greed and corrupt politics. Dylan wishes to spread hope and confidence to those who are helping to pioneer a new future for mankind through the exploration of consciousness, permaculture, science and spirituality. Dylan is also proprietor of Pura Vida Yoga Vacations.


Wake Up World's latest videos


Join Wake Up World's Ever Evolving Social Communities

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Google Plus


  • Shea

    I had similar experiences with GPs in the 1980s when I sought help for prolonged depression while caring for a chronically-ill parent. Both times the drugs prescribed affected me so adversely (one made me suicidal, something I’d not been, nor did I have thoughts of, previously) that within a short time I flushed them down the toilet. I stopped taking them despite urgent reassurances from both respective doctors to “keep taking them.”

    Anti-depressants may work for some people, but I discovered that my body chemistry simply will not tolerate them.

    Around the year 2000, I had cause to visit the doctor for extreme anxiety. I wasn’t sure what it was from or why it was occurring. It wasn’t depression – it was anxiety.

    The doctor ignored my anxiety, but was very interested in doing multiple tests on me for what he “suspected” was “Lupus.”

    Now here’s where it gets funny in a wry sort of way – each time he asked me if I had such-in-such symptom for Lupus (presently or ever) I would respond: No. Nope. No, can’t say that I have. No, never. No – are you kidding?

    He disregarded every answer I gave him, insisted that I take multiple blood tests (two separate trips, multiple sticks – did I say I had insurance? You bet I did; see how that works?) and yet when I took every test he wanted me to take and I STILL didn’t “test” positive for what he said was “Lupus” he still didn’t believe it.

    I can still see him looking over the paperwork, shaking his head, and under his breath saying “I thought for sure she had Lupus…” He barely would look me in the eye when I responded, “I told you so.” I know he was super-upset because I was not going to be a Lupus cash cow for him. I left his office and never returned.

    I did find relief when I realized my symptoms might be related to menopause – so I scheduled an appointment with a gyno, and yes, diagnosis confirmed. I took a plant-derived very low dose hormone for about two months and felt like a new woman. And that was that – I only took it for as long as I felt I needed it.

    At this point in my life, I’m over with thinking that the medical profession has all the answers; it was silly of me to think so. But we have been indoctrinated from a young age to revere them and the science, and to ignore our own instincts. I’m back to being vegetarian now, I juice every day, I exercise, and I hope not to have any reason to visit a medical doctor any time soon.

  • David Huff

    Awesome article! Twelve years ago after being admitted to the hospital with severe pain before the doctor had even seen my wife he announced he would schedule an immediate surgery to have her gall bladder taken out. I said no. He said we’ll see about that and told my wife his diagnosis, prognosis and the fact that he was scheduling her for surgery. She looked at me and pleaded with me not to leave her. I said no, no operation, the doctor looked at her and she said no and that I wasn’t leaving until the doctor agreed. They refused to feed her for two days because she was being prepped for surgery. The second morning I came to see her she was sobbing, I said what is wrong? She said I am so hungry, I said why, she said they still haven’t given me anything to eat. Trying to starve her into an operation or make her hurt so bad she would beg for it. I immediately went to the floor nurse in charge and told her either feed my wife or she is checking out right now. They brought a breakfast and two lunches, so I could eat with her. After she stopped shaking they came and told her that if she wasn’t having anymore pain that she could leave. I being smarter than the average made sure that I ate everything that would have caused a reaction including the bananas!!
    The moral of the story is even good people unknowingly work for scheming criminal enterprises.

  • David Huff

    In addition to my previous post, I should tell you that there was a happy ending. We came to find out it was something she’d eaten. You see when we were young and trendy we used to eat at the largest pizza cartel in the world, purveyors of poison who’s practice is to use processed cheese in the pizzas which is now known to have a silicon base.
    Just do an Internet search on silicone pizza, you’ll get it. 😉

  • Heidi

    A poem I wrote after working as a trainee person-centred counsellor with clients diagnosed with a ‘mental health’ medical condition when what was really going on for them was a perfectly normal reaction to trauma, stress or dissatisfaction with their life. The medical model pathologises this reaction.

    You are not sick,
    And you are not mentally ill.
    It’s just your soul is suffering,
    With the pain it still feels.

    Hidden beneath layers of defence,
    The wounds that have long been your foe,
    Bubble away, they’ve gone sceptic,
    And the poison has nowhere to go.

    So the drugs they give won’t fix you,
    But may numb a bit of the pain.
    They label you with a disorder,
    Another statistic of society; decaying.

    But wait – you are unique,
    And with the understanding and respect you deserve,
    We can peel away those layers,
    And un-bandage the conditions of worth.

    They just seal and cage the poison.
    You don’t need them anymore.
    You and me, together,
    We can look at the pain at your core

    If you want, we’ll clean those old hurts.
    Be careful; it’ll probably be sore,
    You lead the way, but I’ll be there with you,
    Being gentle on those wounds still so raw.

    With a balm of respect and empathy
    We’ll give the pain some space and air.
    You’ll learn to self-apply the ointment of love.
    Which feels strange, but you deserve that care.

    At last the wound can heal,
    Slowly and not without scars.
    But the suffering diminishes.
    And once more you gaze up at the stars

    Because extraordinary strength is your ladder,
    And triumph is your rope
    And you can climb higher than ever before
    Following that tendency for happiness, growth and hope.

  • Sheri

    Awesome article! Seven months ago I went on a Low Gi diet. I now eat almost zero processed foods and exercise 5 days a week. Since then, people can’t shut me up about how important proper diet and nutrition are. It’s amazing the changes I’ve seen. I sleep great almost every night and wake up on my own in the mornings, I’m happier, I no longer have migraines regularly, and my eye sight has even improved (something I suspected already but it was proven when I had my yearly eye check-up last week). Changing my lifestyle has opened my eyes to the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs. I now think of doctors as pushers and wish everyone suffering with chronic exhaustion and depression would join me in my journey!

  • Crazy

    Hi! I also suffered from severe anxiety and depression but probably more pronounced than yours as you could manage to get out on yourself but for me it took almost 1 year in hospital to recover and death was really close for around 3 months. Being sceptic in the beginning, I am glad that I was on medication during that time, so I was able to calm down and sleep some hours during the night, I do not know whether it would have worked without.
    Studying neuroscience I can say this: It is observed that the mental problems of severe depression is in fact linked with physical “hardware demage” in your brain, biological structures are being destroyed! Usually your brain does repair demages and generates new nerve cells on its own (yes, this is possible), but in depression there is more new demage than can be repaired. It is found that an episode of depression, if you survive the tempation of suicide and do not die because of the high stress level (yes, it is possible to die because of high stress) goes away after some time on its own, with or without medication. So I would say it is wrong that medication is absolutely necessary. But medication can provide your body with necessary substances to speed up repairing the demage. And this can be crucial to avoid death.
    What is also crucial to know is that side effects of depression medication usually work even in the opposite direction in the beginning, which means that you can become more depressed, even suicidal during the first few days. That is why you need observation – by doctors and/or family and friends. If you get past these days, things will get considerably easier, symptoms will reduce. you will still need to solve your problems and learn to not enter the next episode.

  • Stella Ann Rigby


    I also had a period of depression when my husband passed away and I was diagnosed as “bi-polar” and told I would have to take medication for the rest of my life.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately) I had bad reactions to the medication & gave up taking it. I knew that the way back was to maintain a level temprament and hang in there and eventually I came right & have been stable & medication free for the last 7 years.