If You're Happy and You Know it, Take a Pill
Before I go onto my little rant I would like to state that I am NOT a doctor. Further, I do not have a medical background. I am an average Joe, typical American, and though I am learning more and more everyday about health information by working at Healthline, I speak mostly from the heart.
Remember when being happy was about waking up on Saturday morning to the mild songs of bluebirds, the sun casting a soft light across you as you lay comfortably in your bed feeling the slow breeze in the spring? Maybe enjoy the company and conversation of friends and family?? If you do, you’re dated. As CNN reports, in this week’s special report on ‘Happiness and your Health’, Troy Dayton’s got a different idea about happiness, and I don’t think he is the only one. “Troy Dayton pops a little white pill every morning. He's one of the 10 million Americans taking a daily antidepressant. But in his case, he says he was never depressed in the first place.” Troy states “However someone can sustain a certain level of happiness without hurting someone else, should be celebrated and not questioned.” Troy seems like a great guy.
Did anyone else read A Brave New World?
Troy goes on to tell us that “Wellbutrin makes me feel great. Wellbutrin made me feel clear-headed, much more able to focus. I don't think it means that I don't ever experience any sadness, but I think it makes me experience sadness in a very healthy way.” I reckon it would be in the same healthy way that localized anesthesia would make me feel if I was trapped in an ice cave experiencing frostbite.
Apart from being an extremely lame version of the Electric Kool Aid Test, the problem I have with this Merry Prankster and his desire to be double happy is that it avoids the question ‘What does it mean to be happy/sad?’ which is, essentially, avoiding the idea knowing oneself and what you like/dislike. The human condition is such that we feel elated during positive moments, sad during moments of heartache and fear in moments of danger; this happens for a reason. It's the same reason that we feel pain when we put our hands on a heated stove top – so we learn boundaries and how to survive. There is a lesson to be learned from our sadness (in relationships for instance) and numbing ourselves to this is akin to missing the point.
Further, do we have any idea of the side effects of long-term/sustained use of antidepressants? As Doctor Peter Kramer points out “These medicines are NOT harmless.” Let’s be clear, there are individuals suffering from depression (I have friends that are clinically depressed) and need this medication. The advances in this area have definitely cleared minds and saved some lives. But most of these medicines are means to an end, a way of balancing an unbalanced mind; they are not meant to be the end result or to be a recreational drug. Like the ecstasy that Troy takes “about once a year” we may find out that the sustained use of drugs like Wellbutrin (which apparently helps to quit smoking) have massive negative impacts on the body and mind.
I think that most people in the world want to be happy but I think following in Troy’s footsteps where “if you’re happy and you know, you take a pill” is a dangerous path to tread.