Here I am, sticking to my convictions :-)
I feel pretty strongly that it's fine to have opinions, but it's not always fine to express them (ha--coming from inside a blog that is nothing but opinions). I found the whole Tom Cruise thing interesting because he still feels the need to express his opinion on something that apparently has nothing to do with him--neither Brooke Shields nor depression itself. He isn't saying that taking vitamins worked for him or that he has ever suffered from depression and tried non-drug therapies. And I always wonder the purpose of those opinions.
I'm trying to figure out how Brooke Shield's taking antidepressants affects anyone other than Brooke Shields. You could make an argument that it affects her family. But you can't really tell me that Tom Cruise is affected by the personal actions of Brooke Shields to treat her depression. Not in any significant way.
And I feel the same way about everyone else's medical choices. They may not be the same choices I would make, but everyone is entitled to their own personal choices as long as your actions to not negatively impact another person. You may choose to take antibiotics at the drop of a hat, and I may choose never to take antibiotics if I can help it. And I don't need to tell you my feelings on antibiotics. It doesn't serve any purpose--especially after you've taken the antibiotics. What is the purpose of Tom Cruise expressing his opinion about Brooke Shields after the fact? To keep her away from antidepressants? She's already done that. I think it's just to make her feel like shit. Not intentionally, but if he took a moment to consider his words and their purpose, I think he would see that these opinions (like many of the ones we receive daily in regards to infertility) do not actually serve their intended purpose, but they do make the receiver feel like crap.
Which brings us to the third topic in the stigma trifecta. After depression and infertility, the third taboo topic that garners no respect and a lot of opinions...bariatric surgery and obesity. Does this sound familiar? You could go on a diet. You could exercise more. It's a matter of willpower. Join Weight Watchers. Join Jenny Craig. My friend's sister lost 200 pounds by eating only grapefruit three times a day.
It sounds familiar because it's very similar to the lame advice we're given about infertility. Does the speaker actually believe other ideas weren't tested before turning to bariatric surgery? Does the speaker actually believe I haven't tried all of their ideas before I turned towards fertility treatments? And can't they accept that if the person makes this choice that it is the best choice for that person? Just as A.R.T. was the best choice for me. It may not be the best choice for you--either due to your own opinions or the advice of your doctor. But it was the best choice for me. And in reality, it doesn't affect you. It only affects my husband and my children. And no one else.
So it makes me angry when people suggest that I didn't try enough other things before turning towards the extreme. Or I didn't try the right things. I did what was best for me. What was best for my family. What the doctor believed would work the best. What was financially feasible.
Last night, I was reading the letter-to-the-editor section of People while trying to enjoy a spinach burrito when I read this comment on a family who had undergone gastric bypass surgery:
"While I applaud the Sheltons for choosing to change their lifestyle, I balk at the extremes they took to get there," writes Jennifer May of Stockton, California.
To be honest, I didn't even know I was suppose to form an opinion on gastric bypass surgery. I had been under the impression that it was something I knew nothing about, therefore, I should probably not form an opinion on it. And beyond that, I was under the impression that people made decisions that fit them best and therefore if they utilized gastric bypass, it was the best choice for them. Not that I blindly follow the advice of doctors without doing a bit of my own personal research, but I am paying for health care and their professional opinion. Therefore, if a doctor recommended gastric bypass, I would have to say that it's probably an option that should be strongly considered.
The next comment could have applied to infertility as well:
Adds Jennifer Christiansen of Sussex, Wisconsin: "Instead of spending $11,000 per person on gastric surgery, how about [hiring] a personal trainer and nutritionist?"
If I had $11,000, I would certainly turn it over to Jennifer Christiansen because she has great ideas on how to spend health care dollars. I trust her even more than my doctors. I mean, my doctors only went to medical school for four years and then completed years of residency programs or additional training. Jennifer Christiansen probably went through that much training--IF NOT MORE--in order to form her opinions on gastric bypass surgery. Of course, all mental health decisions will be turned over to Tom Cruise.
Let's all try this one from The Stirrup Queen's Little Instruction Calendar: September 5, 2006: you don't need to express your opinion on any medical procedures that do not directly affect you or a close loved one. Let's leave the opinions on the validity of a medical procedure to an expert. Let's trust that other people make decisions that are best for them and their family. At the same time, pass along information and opinions that you have directly experienced.