Tired of Psych Medication? Don’t Quit It Yet!
My feelings toward my medication change daily. I’ve been on some form of medication for mental illness for the past 25 years.
In the beginning, it was a roller coaster of dosages and ever-changing medications. The battle with side-effects was horrible, and one time I almost died. I felt like a guinea pig because my doctors would change my meds so frequently. It seemed I just got used to taking one and would be changed over to something “new and better.”
For the past 15 years, I have been on the same medications: an antipsychotic, an anti-depressant, and something for anxiety. I have tried other cocktails but always stayed with the same three as a base.
When I am feeling good, I praise the medication for helping, but most of the time, nothing I take seems to help. Worse yet, when I do start feeling good, my mind tricks me into thinking I am “healed” and not in need of my meds anymore. A few weeks of cold-turkey is enough to convince me that I do in fact, need them to help me through.
I Was Almost Free
The most recent time I went off my medication, I thought I was doing everything right. I tapered off over a period of months under the supervision of a psychiatrist. I had my diet dialed in and was taking high doses of vitamins. I had been thinking about this for a long time.
Things were going very well for about a month when I noticed that my levels of anxiety were rising quickly. I was also constantly depressed, and I could feel the intrusive thoughts and voices pressing in on all sides.
I made it another month until I broke down and found an old anti-psychotic prescription and filled it. Even though it helped with the intrusive voices and thoughts, it only helped a little with the anxiety. I am now at the mercy of depression and anxiety as I wait to get an appointment with one of the few psychiatrists in Iloilo City.
I am doing my best to manage the depression and anxiety, but it is an uphill battle. Thankfully, I no longer hear voices, but am still dealing with a few other symptoms of psychosis.
Knowing what I know now, I never would have gone off my meds in the first place.
Why Do I Flip-Flop on the Medication Issue?
Even after dealing with mental illness my whole life, part of my mind still convinces me that I am not sick and I shouldn’t be on medication. My emotional mind always wins out in the end, as I somehow convince myself time and time again that I don’t need medication to control my demons. I concede to my fickle mind, even though the well-trained and intelligent part of my brain knows better.
I also listen to the people who have stopped the medication in favor of a healthy diet and supplements. I listen to the functional medicine doctors who say that medication is poisoning me slowly and I will die an early death.
I’ve been doing this long enough to know that despite the problems with psychiatric medication, they have been one of the few things keeping me alive all these years.
I’m not perfect, I don’t want to be anything other than “normal,” but I am. My brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s does. Why can’t I accept that?
I Don’t Want to be Different
In my defense, I say again: I am not perfect. As much of an advocate I am, or how honestly I write for the world to see, I just want to be like everyone else.
Even though I know my wife and all my kids don’t think less of me, it still would be nice for them to think me normal. It would be nice not to feel like a burden, even though most of my mind knows I’m not.
I’d like to have a career or run a business without having to devote so much time worrying about my next breakdown. I’d like to do a budget without seeing a huge check of my money going to medication. I’d like not to have sexual side-effects from the medication keeping me alive. I’d like to sleep a whole night without terrors or make a decision without a cacophony of voices in my head. I like not to have something g keeping me abnormally heavy no matter what I eat.
So yes, I would selfishly like to be normal, and I never will be while I have to take a bunch of pills every day.
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Sorry, once again my writing wandered off and I started feeling sorry for myself.
I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself because I am in no way superhuman. I’m not any stronger than the normal person would be in my situation.
I’m not special.
But, I have learned to be a stubborn bastard that won’t give up on myself. I’ve started being confident in myself and my abilities. I’ve started to realize that if I am going to make it, I need help.
Yes, right now I need medication.
If you do the same dance I do with medication, isn’t it time we stopped and just focused on getting better within our means?