Sick and tired

Drive-Thru-PharmacyThe light was burning my eyes and giving me migraines, so I ran outside where it was cold and dark. My head found comfort on the cold concrete as I pounded it and my fists simultaneously. I began to cry because I couldn’t control the pain. The drugs they gave me made me worse as the days progressed.

When I was 13, I began to develop symptoms of depression. School officials referred me to a therapist provided by the county through a mental illness clinic. In three months, I was displaced three or four times. Each time, I had to start over with a new different therapist. Eventually, I gave up on seeing therapists provided by the county. I don’t know if it was just my bad luck or whether it’s common to not receive adequate, consistent care in the county clinics.

When I’d go to my doctor, he would prescribe anti-depressants that would bring terrible side effects. And for every pain, they gave me “narcos” and ibuprofen. I’ve been prescribed many different drugs. They have never helped me. Drugs that were prescribed and legal affected me in so many negative ways that I drove deeper and deeper into depression and exile.

For example, I was prescribed an anti-depressant and felt nauseous all day; I began to develop migraines. Who wants to go to school or do anything feeling nauseous and getting migraines all the time?

By the time I was 15, I began developing anxiety and stress disorders from my environment and the struggles that many immigrant, single-parent families face: homelessness, malnutrition, stress from potential deportation or separation of family, finding work and services that aid immigrant families.

So they prescribed something for my migraines, and it felt like my brain was getting electrocuted for two hours. I went mad. I ran outside and began to pound my head on the cement. I pulled out a lot of hair. I forced myself to vomit in hopes to remove the drug. I lay on the concrete for 90 minutes crying. All I could do was wait for the drug to run its course.

Drugs, whether legal or not, have a potential to be dangerous, even detrimental.

Since that day, I’ve refused to take any pharmaceutical drugs, unless I’m in the hospital and in critical condition. Some people think I’m crazy for refusing synthetic drugs, but I think it’s crazy that we overly depend on synthetic drugs when nature provides the best remedies.

On a side note, I highly doubt our bodies like to consume synthetics. There are some synthetics or man-made products, like high fructose corn syrup, that our bodies are just not meant to consume. Our bodies are native to the earth and are not built to receive cheap alternative synthetics. Our bodies deserve better treatment and care.

As an adult, I’ve had to seek professional help independently. I have seen therapists who specialize in women’s psychology with my background. I had to do independent research on alternative methodologies to treat my symptoms or disorders. Unfortunately, I have grown to distrust doctors who solely serve the pharmaceutical industry and don’t teach us of alternatives methods to better serve us. Even more unfortunate is that Medi-Cal and many other insurance companies refuse to cover or barely cover natural alternatives, such as naturopathic clinics and homeopathic practices.

Naturopathic practices are not commonly known, nor are they even an option for people of lower-socioeconomic regions. I visited a naturopathic clinic once and was amazed at the quality of care. I didn’t have to wait and hour or two in the waiting room. I had a chance to spend an hour or two with the doctor as we discussed my medical history. He referred me to another lab to test my neurons. I learned more about my body that day in those two hours than I’ve ever known.

The down side to naturopathy is that it is too expensive. For one visit with a blood lab and my prescribed natural medicine, it cost over $300. I searched for insurance companies that cover naturopathy. My search has been unsuccessful. I have tried to see if it was at all covered by Medi-Cal. No luck.

America needs to step its game up. Canada, France and Cuba have universal healthcare and we are still trying to keep everything privatized because it’s more profitable. Profit is not more important that the lives of millions. Keeping people sick for profit is unethical. We are an advanced species, and it’s time that we hold each other to better standard of living and being healthy.

Roze Castaneda

About Roze Castaneda
Ms. Castaneda is a professional caregiver and student of social science and history in the Liberal Studies department at Sacramento City College. She volunteers at many community service organizations, including those that support homeless individuals and the elderly. Music is among her passions. She plays djembe, clarinet and piano.

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