Authors note: Do not start or stop a medication without speaking to your doctor.
I’m abandoning what I wanted to write for today (hell, I might write it later), but I needed to address the whole issue that is medications.
If you have a mental disorder, whatever it is, you might have to take medication, either for a short time or for life, like myself. It’s a very important tool you have. It may discourage you. It may not make sense. But if you’re on medication, you’re on it for a reason.
If you’re like me, having to take medication for the rest of your life, the whole concept may be terrifying. You are allowing a substance into your body to affect how your brain works. You may feel as if you aren’t “you” anymore. The whole taking them for the rest of your life aspect may make you feel hopeless. You want to be yourself, yet who that is is troubled. Without those medications, you’ll be at the mercy of your mental disorder. That is not pretty.
It’s not like I’ve always followed that advice. I’ve been on this roller coaster for years. I was 15 when it started, and if I had miraculously been diagnosed with the correct diagnosis then, and given proper medication, my life certainly would be different. Instead, the first year of the torment, my dad and I tried many things. Many meds. Many therapists. Many psychiatrists. Then… we gave up. No anything, including meds. It wasn’t until 6 years later I accepted the fact that I would have to be on meds for life.
Of course, nothing is as easy as it seems. The meds helped, but as I refused to let anyone know about my psychosis (that’s a whole other entry), my meds only helped part of my disorder. After college (graduated in 2004), I began to open up to doctor’s about it. Unfortunately I was put on medication that zapped my entire brain to go on auto piolet, and I literally felt nothing anymore. So I kept changing doctor after doctor, then didn’t have insurannce for two years bc of my job, and then, once I got insurance again 9 years ago, I told them everything. Absolutely everything (that I knew of). So came the diagnosis of Bipolar 1 with undifferentiated Psychosis.
The meds worked. I wasn’t a “zombie” anymore. I could successfully navigate my life. And I was formally put on an anti-psychotic. I worked for a big insurance company, and my life finally felt “normal.” Or as normal as I’ve ever felt. That was 2008. By the time 2011 came I had been working for a different boss for a year already. When she came to me (knowing I had a mental health disorder), and told me to take a few weeks to get my medication straightened out, I knew there was trouble.
So I took three weeks. Saw my Psychiatrist 4 times. Saw my therapist 6 times. I went to group therapy for a week. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much they could do with my meds except lower them and put me on a different anti-depressant, so I went back to work with really no solution. A month later, my boss told me that she thought I still needed help with my medication, and she told me to start making appointments, even if I had to leave early. She would say I was there all day. 3 months later I was laid-off.
This was a horrible time. It was August, and at the end of the month was the end of health insurance, and by the time February came around, one of my roommates told me I needed to find something or somewhere where I would be able to at least take some form of medication and get therapy. Miraculously, I found somewhere that offered free therapy and free psychiatry. And my brand medication was given to me in samples, while I purchased all of the generics out of pocket, and all of them were cheap.
In June of that year, I finally got another job that had health insurance. This was when I got diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar type. What made it change? My therapist and my psychiatrist asked me something no other mental health professional had asked. Did I ever have hallucinations, etc. when I wasn’t in a mood cycle. My answer… of course I did. I must admit though, that this psychiatrist put me on medications that were making everything worse, yet I still stayed on them… until I had lithium toxicity where I was in the hospital for over a week.
Mt current psychiatrist is the best I’ve ever had. We had to experiment with different medications, but I was always involved in the decision when talking about adding/taken off of/mg changes.
Through all of this, I didn’t ever stop meds, even if I thought they weren’t working or were detrimental to me. And the only times I wasn’t on meds since 2002 was when I was at a job that didn’t have insurance, or when I was laid off.
You might hate it. I know I do. But I’m not playing Russian roulette with my disorder.