Garrison: Don’t let pills define normal

Zac Garrison Senior from Franklin, Ky.

I’m sure all of you have heard the term, “It takes more facial muscles to frown than to smile.”

Honestly, I never cared for the statement. Emotion really has little connection to how many of my muscles move when I make a facial expression.

A smile is known as the universal symbol of happiness, but at the same time I can hold a smile on my face and on the inside be ready to break down at the utterance of a word.

This is becoming more and more prevalent in the teen and young adult community.

As depression and anxiety are on the rise, teen individuality is at an all-time low due to medication used to make them happy and keep them calm.

Too many problems are being solved with pills and not by the people themselves.

As a guy, it’s tough to admit that I cry to my friends. I do cry, albeit rarely.

College will provide the best and the worst times of your whole life. The stress that a lot of college students go through can seem insurmountable once exams, jobs and future plans come into play.

We, as a society, are teaching young adults to turn to medications for the answers rather than solving problems that will help them grow as a person.

I’ve seen some of the most creative and unique individuals turned zombie-like because their parents thought they couldn’t pay attention in class.

Obviously, Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse were the better answer to them. What message are we giving to the children of this generation and to future parents?

We are providing these kids with drugs so that they can mimic natural emotions.

Once young kids become dependent on these medications to be “normal,” they never actually learn what normal is and never realize that normal is what you make it.

Normal isn’t a static definition. You have the ability to make your own normal.

I’ve talked to young kids on anti-depressants because they feel as if they can’t cope without taking them.

So, is taking a pill that makes it easier supposed to help?

Prescription medication is a temporary solution to a lifelong problem.

I’m a firm believer that depression is a mental and physical disorder. I’ve seen my friends and family struggle from depression and I’ve also seen how the medication affects their natural behavior.

It’s like putting an ice cube on a fresh burn. It curbs the original pain, but once that ice cube melts, you immediately remember how much it still hurts and all you can wish for is another ice cube.

We need to make it a practice in society to cure the burn first without just trying to dull the pain for such temporary relief.

Society made it possible for young people to think happiness can only be written on a doctor’s prescription pad.

There are so many reasons to smile and be happy that I promise you don’t have to take with food three times a day.

In my personal opinion, dependency on prescription medication is still considered a drug addiction, even if it is prescribed by a doctor. Once you begin to have to take a pill to feel normal or functional, you are at risk of forming dependency.

Children that are heavily medicated are the primary victims of potential dependency.

Some parents, instead of dealing with a child’s depression or their small attention span with productive confrontation, opt just to toss a pill to them two times a day and have their problems solved.

I wish I had all the answers. I wish I could post a detailed agenda of how we can solve the trend of over-medicating children.

I’m not a psychiatrist, a medical doctor or a scientist, but I’m a young man with a lot of love for my friends and family.

I hate seeing their beautiful personalities, senses of humor and individualistic quirks that make them unique be stripped from them by a 35mg capsule.

My mother used Roundup weed killer in our yard a lot when I was a child, and I always noticed that the pretty green grass surrounding the weeds always died after she applied it.

This made me upset. Why does all this green grass have to die because we are only trying to rid of the pesky weeds? Is this the only solution?

Even though people think we are helping solve these kids’ behavioral problems with medications, we are inevitably killing the parts of them that are green grass.

For anyone that follows my columns, you can probably see a trend in my support for being unique and being creative.

I like looking at things from a different perspective and there are many things about me that most people would consider odd, but I love and embrace.

I easily could have been heavily medicated at a young age.

In grade school, I was constantly in trouble for talking too much and acting out. I was even sent to the principal’s office for biting a kid in fourth grade (that kid stole my Moon Pie, and he had it coming). I was also suspended for fighting in sixth grade.

My parents could have taken the easy way out by medicating me, but they taught me this behavior can be channeled to become a more positive thing.

These kids deserve a better chance to be themselves. Don’t ever let yourself be defined by a pill.


Column by Zac Garrison, Junior from Franklin, Ky.

4 Comments on "Garrison: Don’t let pills define normal"

  1. Nice piece Zac!

  2. Zac Garrison | April 4, 2014 at 4:02 pm |

    Thanks Bobby!

  3. Very nice work. I like your style of writing. Keep it up Zac!

  4. Wesley Bolin | April 8, 2014 at 1:38 pm |

    This piece is unconscionable. Telling a clinically depressed person that "there are so many reasons to smile and be happy" is like telling a man with two broken legs that there are plenty of reasons to get up and run a 5k. You say that you believe depression is a mental and physical disorder, and yet you entirely discount the vital role that medicine plays in helping millions of people take back their lives.

    The overprescription of ADHD medication to children is a valid topic and a vital one, but that's not what you've written here. This is instead a condemnation of all anti-depressants and the people who use them.

    I'd also like to see the peer-reviewed study of "teen individuality" where you got your information about the "all-time low" it is currently experiencing.

    I'll be writing a letter to the editor this week.

Comments are closed.