Written by Tea Jay.
I didn’t always like medications. In fact, I spent the majority of my life protesting them. I started taking medications for my ADHD diagnosis; a diagnosis that I would later find out in my twenties was completely bogus (I have come to find out I have BPD with Dissociative Amnesia). I hated taking them. They were rapid release, which meant they only stayed in my system for a short amount of time. When I was on them I was hyper, but productive. The minute the drug left my system I was sent into manic episodes, only calming down once I was asleep. In the morning, I’d wake up depressed. Then, I’d take the pills again, and repeat the cycle.
I couldn’t find the right fit for me.
In college I quit taking my medications for the first time and stopped seeking help with a therapist; I dropped out after one semester. For the next six years I would go to therapists and quit therapists, start and stop medications. I couldn’t find the right fit for me. I started to convince myself that despite my episodes and suicide attempts that I was better off without receiving help. Every time I started a medication the side effects outweighed their purpose. I was on a mood stabilizer throughout my pregnancy (that was safe for pregnant women) that made me sleep all day. It was so strong for me that it made me sleep through three days of labor in the hospital. I quit that medication the day my son was born and vowed off any mood altering medication.
I had tried being on medications, and I had tried being off them.
It wasn’t until this year that I tried a medication that I actually liked. I was suicidal, like I had been for years, and I couldn’t take it anymore. My depression was starting to influence my parenting. I was too tired to bring my son to the park, I couldn’t find the energy to match a toddler’s energy. I decided to go to an IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) to become stable again. The doctors there wanted me to try, one more time, one more medication. I didn’t know what else to do; I had tried being on medications, and I had tried being off them. Nothing had worked so far. What did I have to lose?
Being on this medication has been like seeing the world through a whole new set of eyes.
Being on this medication has been like seeing the world through a whole new set of eyes. I have a lot more stable days than depressive ones. I rarely dissociate anymore. Although these medications aren’t perfect, I’m seeing a lot more balance than I have in my entire life. Although I have experienced a suicidal episode on this medication I was able to reach out and get the help I needed; something I was unable to do when I was off medications. I still have bad days, sad days, and angry days. But they’re balanced out with okay days, happy days, and active days. I’m not sure I would have made it through this year without my medications. I feel like before I took my meds I was living on borrowed time; now I have a future to look forward to.
I am living proof, not all medications work for all types of people.
I’m not necessarily sure if I’m pro-meds. I am living proof, not all medications work for all types of people. I believe in holistic medicine, and someday may like to try taking them again. I’m even considering getting my medical marijuana card for my state and giving that a go eventually. I also don’t let my medications do all the work. I practice DBT skills, and I joined Weight Watchers to get to a healthier body. So far, being more active and eating healthier has improved my mental health just like taking medications has. I’m not going to say everyone on Earth has to take medications to function; but I sure do. I’m not pro-meds; I’m pro-treatment plans.
Finding the right treatment plan is crucial when you have a mental illness. It doesn’t have to be a prescription; it can be weed, exercise, Omega-3’s, drinking more water, going to a therapist more often, practicing self soothing techniques. As long as it’s healthy, and it’s what works for you (and preferably if you have one of your doctors on board) your treatment plan is what’s best for you. Make it a New Year’s Resolution to design your own treatment plan and start living a healthier, happier, and most importantly a balanced life.