Friday, November 2, 2012

Drug Awareness Week

It's Drug Awareness Week at Katie's school again.  Here's the list of this year's activities:

Monday: Put a cap on drugs by wearing a hat to school.
Tuesday: Drugs are crazy.  Wear your hair crazy!
Wednesday: Scare away drugs.  Wear your Halloween costume.
Thursday: Team up against drugs.  Wear a jersey or shirt representing your favorite team.
Friday: Everyone wear red!

I'm not sure yet what the significance of everyone wearing red is.  I asked Katie about it this morning and she said she didn't know either.  I think instead of Drug Awareness Week they should rename it Drug Confusion Week.  Like the old fried egg commercial, "This is Drug Confusion Week.  This is your brain on Drug Confusion Week.  Any questions?"

I blogged about my ambivalent feelings toward Drug Awareness Week last year, too.  I feel pretty much the same about the events this year as I did last year: it's a lame attempt at teaching our kids about moderation.  But some things have changed.

Most importantly, I don't feel so hypocritical talking to my kid about illegal drugs while I'm popping prescription medication like a good little American.  I weaned myself off the psychotropic drugs Sertraline and Clonazepam this year after reading Dr. Andrew Weil's book Spontaneous Happiness in which he shows that--big shock--Big Pharma is making money off people's discomfort with what is essentially a perfectly healthy range of human emotion that has been pathologized to turn a profit.  

I've also mostly divorced myself from my addiction to daily allergy medications, although my co-workers are probably not too pleased about that decision since I've developed a chronic cough from postnasal drip.  Occasionally, when the tickle in my throat is so bad it's affecting my ability to communicate effectively at work, I'll pop a Diphenhydramine to get some relief.  It also helps quell the chronic nausea I experience, perhaps also from postnasal drip.  But I prefer to think it's due to my apparent allergy to the human condition, much like Sartre's character Antoine Roquentin in La Nausée.  Because I'm stuffy like that.  

Whatever's the root of my allergic reaction, I'm not too worried about occasionally taking a Benedryl.  It's been on the market so long I figure some poor sneezy guinea pig before me should have discovered the most dramatic side effects without my having to worry about it.  But I try not to take the antihistamine regularly since I've noticed it triggers my feelings of depression with prolonged use.

And that's the point, really.  It's not that I'm pro-drug or anti-drug.  I'm pro-paying attention to my own body.  I'm pro-let's see how my body responds to this treatment, oh no, that's not good, let's try something else.  I'm pro-whatever works.  And I got that way not by wearing a crazy hat to school or wearing a certain color shirt, by pledging allegiance to authority.  I got to this healthy place by learning, through trial and error, that I am my own wisest guide.

I'm also my own child's best teacher, something I became more mindful of when I mentioned to Katie this morning that it's "Everyone Wear Red" day at her school, and she replied, "I don't want to wear red today."

"Why not?"  I asked.  "Won't you feel uncomfortable if you don't look like everyone else at school?"

"No," Katie smiled, looking me up and down.  "I wanna wear brown like you today, Mama."

I hadn't even noticed until that moment I was wearing brown.  I had jumped out of bed and tossed on the khakis and brown polo closest to me, lying crumpled on the floor.  I'm a mom.  I don't have time to worry about what my clothes say about me.  I've got lessons in critical thinking to teach my child.