“My Drugged Life: Who’s Really at Home?”


Writing under the pseudonym Will Barrett, a person who has been continually on various psychiatric drugs since age 10 philosophically reflects in Salon. “But the idea that whatever troubled me could be resolved by taking pills shifted my depression (if that’s what it was) from the nebulous world of mental illness, of personal dysfunction, to the comparatively clear and defined world of physical illness… But I don’t know what, if anything, the Triavil fixed. It’s difficult for me to chart my pharmaceutical history, because I was so young.”

“A close friend whom I’ve always considered a natural candidate for antidepressants (cancer, fraught relationship with family, multiple career disappointments) has serious ontological issues with antidepressants,” writes Barrett, whose friend asks, “If I were in a good mood or more functional because of pills, what would that mean? Where would the pills stop and I begin? Would it really be me living this better life?”

“For me these philosophical questions have an extra dimension because I was so young when this all began,” comments Barrett. “If my friend started taking antidepressants now, she would be doing so as an adult, making a somewhat informed decision. She would at least know who that person was deciding to take the medication. I, on the other hand, began taking medication intended to alter my personality before I became a person.”

“At times I am more or less untroubled by the fact that I chemically alter my personality… And at other times I ask myself, who’s really at home?”

My drugged life: I’ve been on antidepressants since 10 (Salon, December 6, 2014)


  1. My nephew was put on several (not just one but several) psych and ADHD meds before he turned 5. This really bothered me for 2 reasons. 1) His mother has OCD and takes a pill to micromanage every part of her life and at least some of his “mental illness” is caused by her OCD and pill popping. 2) Since he’s been on so many strong meds since he was a preschooler he won’t have any memories of himself before he started taking the meds so how will he know who he really is? At some point, he will break away from his mother’s influence and try to form his own identity and at that point (if he hadn’t been drugged his whole life) he would have a chance to separate the truth from what his Mother’s OCD is telling her about him. Since he’s been drugged his whole life he may not be able to go through this normal growing up process.

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    • Both your story and the one linked from here have really baffled me. I was put through hell on psych drugs as a kid, developed all sorts of neurological problems because of them, including movement disorders. I watched in mental hospitals how other children were being drugged into zombies, too sedated to clothes their mouths and stop drooling, unable to lift their feet when they walked. I witnessed children much like myself, who after months of being drugged this way, began developing neurological problems typically associated with being developmentally impaired E.G. grunting, smacking themselves in the chest, involuntary face and/or neck movements, etc.

      To think that there are people out there who went through their childhood on these drugs… and today their biggest concern is that they may not know who they really are? Wow… I’d give anything to trade with them. They really don’t understand just how lucky they are. These drugs cause a devastating amount of brain damage, as proven in both human and animal studies. There is nothing good that can ever come from damaging the most critical organ in a persons body.

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  2. Very good questions indeed. The so-called doctors like to claim that psych drugs don’t alter personality (I was told that on the first visit when I got an anti-depressant after 5minutes of being talked for).

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