Antidepressants and Living Life
Recently, the FAA lifted a ban on commercial airline pilots taking antidepressants. .
I saw this pop up on CNN and my first thought was - I didn't know there was a ban! I never thought that taking a SSRI could influence the ability to fly an aircraft, but for 60 yers the FAA disagreed.
Now, like any illegal substance that people want and need, antidepressants were undoubltbly taken by some pilots. ITs terrible to think they risked their jobs because they felt they needed the medication. I've written about my ambivilance toword all kinds of medication, but for me, taking Zoloft has definently allowed me to worry a bit less, even at the lowest possible dosage. And its not like I tell everyone I know about my mental health, but I do not think it should be such a stigma or secret. It's hard enough facing inner demons without worrying if your boss will find out and fire you.
The CNN article states "The FAA also will begin a six-month amnesty period, during which pilots who use antidepressants can step forward without fear of penalties. The pilots will be grounded until they can demonstrate they have been stable for a year, although those who can prove a history of successful medical treatment should be able to fly "within a few months," the FAA said.
OK so... basically if you come forward you still risk being ostracized and analyzed if you are "Stable". I conceed, depression is rought. But what about other personality traits? Anger? Stress? there are so many that infringe flying ability just as much as "depression".
I think the real problem is that we want pilots to be inhuman and perfect. After all , we put our lives in their hands whenever we fly. But thats not realisitic. They, like everyone else, have struggles. And I hope that when pilots have to choose whether to face those hard places inside themselves or keep quiet to keep flying, they make the right choice.