From மெர்சலாயிட்டேன் to not Mersalaayitten

Originally published on Feb 21, 2015

Watched Anegan yesterday  and I must say for a non-Dhanush fan, I liked the slick screenplay, songs, the constant back and forth between various time periods, be it past life memories or an over-active imagination in play. The comedy was light and to the point and the almost-climax when Dhanush mimicks Karthik, நா மெர்சலாயிட்டேன் பா 😛 . Loosely translated, Naa Mersalaayitten means “I am hooked.”Supposedly North Madras (and not Chennai ) lingo.

Wondering about the title, read on.

Whether it was intentional or not, the director highlights, almost casually, the pill-popping culture of the current generation to reduce stress, and the unethical and greedy nature of SOME healthcare providers to write prescriptions and procedures that actually cause more harm than good. In fact the movie shows that the doctor and the person she is in cahoots with, i.e. the head of the video gaming company are aware of the harmful side effects of a pill – illegal dopamine in this case which include hallucination, insomnia other severe impacts to one’s mind and finally death. The company head actually uses these hallucinations in his video games and goes as far as to incorporate the death of his employee in his video game. However the poor employees believe in their cool employer who they think looks out for them and in fact pays for all their meds so that they are always alert (!!) and out of stress. In one word, they are HOOKED (hence the title).  And of course we have all seen and heard several such incidents on and off screen, where people in limelight, celebrities, athletes – established and upcoming and around us have been affected in several ways due to prescription drugs, the supposed ONE STEP solution for all your maladies. I have been on the receiving end of high(er) dosages of prescription drugs from several doctors. Its as if these meds were samples one would hand out at a farmer’s market.

I was caught off guard with all the side effects and gave them up cold turkey, i.e. UNHOOK myself from these meds abruptly one fine day. Of course I didn’t even realize that the term cold turkey applied to me. After all  I was leading a very peaceful and relatively healthy life, didn’t have any addictions (if you don’t count books) that I had to do go cold turkey – I mean, I don’t smoke, I drink maybe 10 times in a year, I exercise regularly and I don’t EVER do drugs. Or as I realized on that fine day, I was taking prescription meds that were worse than recreational drugs and that both the side effects and the withdrawal effects have the power to bring one down to their knees. The more I read, understand and actually experience it, the more frustrated and angry I get at healthcare providers. And the more people I talk to, I find that they have also experienced this apathy from their docs. If someone with information at their reach is experiencing this, imagine the plight of those who blindly trust their healthcare provider?  I use the term healthcare provider here as it denotes a whole industry, YUP, that is the term.

So I ask, Why are you all hell bent on being pill pushers and making us pill poppers? It’s not like they are Jalapeño Poppers (See, now you have made me crave for those addictive little suckers and I will be going to bed dreaming about them) When did you morph from someone we trust our life with to someone we have to run away from?  Well, for now I don’t have any concrete answers as I am also finding my way and working on flushing out the sludge from within me. But I thought I will share this video that highlights the sad but cold truth of the way the healthcare industry works. And if this is the state in the US, imagine the severity in India, where the regulations are not stringent and corruption is rampant in all walks of life.

Think and think hard before you go on any medical regimen that prescribes harmful drugs rather than proscribing them.

To quote Morpheus, “I am trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.” (and embrace the painful but at least real reality).

I chose the Red Pill Morpheus.

Update on October 18, 2015: Its exactly 8 months since I quit Cymbalta cold-turkey but I still experience some withdrawal symptoms but I think I am better off w/o the meds than I was with them. You don’t realize how numb you can become until you get off that pill and I can’t even begin to express how I felt (or didn’t feel) when I was on Cymbalta. I have my coping methods and it works well for the most part. What is truly puzzling is the way Eli-Lily and the other BIG pharma companies have been able to get away with whatever they are doing, despite the many reports out there (Also read: The Withdrawal I Experienced After Quitting Cymbalta Was Worse Than My Depression).

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