TED Conversations

Student in Languages,

This conversation is closed.

If one's mental illness could be cured by a single pill, would you choose to do so?

In the talk by Elyn Saks, Seeing Mental Illness, she mentioned that, if a complete and permanent cure was offered, she would take it.
I found this sentiment highly interesting for many reasons. I am a high-funtioning autistic person with Obsessive Compulsive disorder. My symptoms are not debilitating, but they have had a profound impact on the way I live my life. I'm no stranger to social rejection and high-anxiety.
That being said, if I were offered an complete and permanent cure for my condition... I can say that for my anxiety issues at least, I might be interested. However, despite the focus on a cure for autism in the public sphere, I would approach a cure for my autism with extreme reluctance. For myself, there is to deep a connection between what are considered to be clinical signs of autism and what I would consider to be my personality, my "self."
I suppose that this difference in opinion is related to our own individual experiences with the unique manifestations of our conditions. My own condition occationally strips me of control, but never in so stark a manner as discribed by Saks in her talk.
I would be interested in hearing others views on this topic.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 11 2012: are there side effects of Lithium and Seroquel?
      • thumb
        Jul 11 2012: Yes there are side effects with any medication, but it all depends on you personally react to them. What what person feels may not happen to you. I personally can't take one generic medication, but can take many others with no problems. Others I know can take that same med in a generic with no problem, but for me, I experience every single side effect for the worst.
        • Jul 12 2012: I'm sorry that you have to take these.
      • thumb
        Jul 12 2012: I am more sorry that they are not promptly improved once these side effects are documented. I grieve when I dissappoint my kids so that illustration brings it home to me profoundly.
        Thank you for answering my question too.
      • thumb
        Jul 13 2012: Conor, I actually don't take them, my husband is Bipolar, I'm an advocate for him, so I know a lot about medications. It's always important to weight the side effects against the benefits of the medications. In my husbands case, he takes 4 meds, down from 5, but he is much better, stable, and has much better control of his feelings. We refer to his life as "before meds" and "after meds."
    • thumb
      Jul 13 2012: Interesting conversation. I kept the personal out of it in my initial post, but now that I read yours, I realize I may have been too cautious.

      I think part of a "mental illness" is what you make of it. I went to college, grad school, and wrote two and a half novels. I was pretty much a gung-ho, fun-loving guy who could cook a meal, play jazz guitar, write computer programs in several languages, and spent his free time doing higher math problems.

      I was also able to see, in one quick glance, the entire answer to many business problems. Even when in high school, working in a kitchen of a full service restaurant, I sold the chef on a line arrangement that simplified our work, and made the kitchen easier to work with.

      Yet, I constantly forgot bills, even though I typically had thousands squirreled away in the bank. And don't get me started on the grief I caught for missed anniversaries, birthdays, etc.

      And then, in my 40's, I was diagnosed with a very severe case of ADHD. On a standardized test for ADHA, the TOVA test, I scored several standard deviations from the norm. I was prescribe Adderall. Which made me edgy, and too serious. My creativity shriveled. And I actually grew "short-tempered" with people, something which had never happened in the past.

      So I stopped taking it. I am again the creative fool. Playing on trampolines with my nephews. Writing again. And contemplating beginning an urban farm for profit.

      Maybe I'll take meds again. They did help me focus. But Adderall did alter my basic personality.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.