8 Life Changing Reasons I Take Medication
Written by: Candace
Included in this article is a first person point of view concerning her experience with mental medications. This is not a substitute for professional advice in regards to mental illness. Please seek professional advice from a licensed psychiatrist. Complex symptoms make everyone’s experience differ.
Mental health isn’t a topic I shy away from. In fact, it is a subject I encourage speaking on openly. The stigma of mental health leaves many untreated and even worse, uneducated. Symptoms are individually based making it a challenge to relate to others who suffer from mental illness. What if I told you-you didn’t have to suffer? You don’t!!
For street cred, I’ll share a brief snippet of my story. Being a career bartender I had unlimited access to alcohol. Drinking on the job was as normal as working and I did so for too many years (age 18-35). Abusing street drugs, all except crack, PCP, and heroin, was a daily occurrence. At age 33 I had a mental breakdown and was, at that time, diagnosed with major depressive disorder (mdd). This led to being medicated which helped but was canceled out from the substances I continued to poison myself with. After a year of these medications, I would quit cold turkey ( I strongly discourage against).
On April 20, 2015, I know right, I decided it was time to get honest with myself. Again medicated for major depressive disorder, I would incorporate intensive, outpatient individual and group counseling. I have not had a drink since that day! After a year I would notice symptoms of rapid speech, obsessive thoughts, and severe depression. I was functioning but the medication was no longer working. I switched psychiatrists and received the diagnosis of bipolar….. and it saved my life.
How’s that for a snippet?
Something I left out in my snippet was I refused antipsychotic medication for bipolar for a year.
Why a year?
Because that was as long as I could hold out. My symptoms began controlling my life. My anger and aggravation were at its peak and I was about to lose my job because of my attitude.
Similar to a wet cat, pissed and wired, I drug myself into the psychiatrist’s office. Immediately she knew. She pointed out that my struggles were apparent. At this point, I was ultra-rapid cycling.
“The moment I accepted my new medication, I became a stranger to myself”
The 8 Life Changing Reasons I Take Medication
I could think clearer
I could speak a sentence without fumbling my words
My ability to pay attention was stellar
My anger dissipated
My lack of patience disappeared into thin air
I became calm, cool and collected
My stomach no longer churn with aggravation at others quirks
I was happy
At one point I became too flat and emotionless so we adjusted my regime by cutting my antidepressant in half. This adjustment would lead me down a road full of positive thinking.
I have lived my whole life with the symptoms I was experiencing and it was normal, my normal until they intensified.
My entire life I have had thoughts come and go as soon as they began. They were never complete always making it difficult to accomplish anything. They can be described like Tigger bouncing around on his tail except it was in my head. Jumbled thoughts cluttered my mind making it impossible to think. Ideas pinged around like the ball in a pinball machine. It was indeed frustrating but that is all I knew.
Speaking full sentences
Having the ability to communicate with others is a gift we take for granted. Stuttering my words led to frustration and embarrassment at times. My mind has always sped ahead of my mouth confusing the words that came out. Throughout life, I have been told “calm down”, “ take your time” and phrases of that nature because of rapid speech. Looking back this is a symptom I have shown since childhood.
My inability to pay attention goes with the jumbled mess that rattles in my head. It affects my focus and my ability to complete tasks. What’s that mean???? Complete?!?! Seriously almost everything I have begun, I quit doing before completion. I used to believe I bore quickly when it is problematic racing thoughts that distract me from the task at hand.
“I didn’t have to have a reason. Them breathing was reason enough”
This is the biggest one. My tendency to quick temper is as Candace as my name. It is a part of me. It used to consume all of me. This is where I have experienced the most 360° change. Sometimes I don’t even know who I am on behalf of my lack of reaction.
The problem I’ve always had with my anger has been not knowing why I was angry. My Ma used to say “She’s mad at the world”. Until recently I couldn’t contribute my anger to anything and now I know it is a symptom of bipolar which in turn gives me a way to approach this nasty subject. This is a prime example of how educating yourself benefits you.
Lack of patience
You are either patient or not. There is no real middle ground with this one. Prior to medication, I was always so antsy. In a hurry to go nowhere and I wanted to get nowhere fast! Sitting for too long was impossible because nothing was getting accomplished but due to my lack of attention, nothing was ever accomplished anyway.
If you haven’t noticed there is a pattern forming, all of these symptoms are intertwined. It seems that the medication quickly targeted the two major ones adjusting them all.
Calm, Cool and Collected
Being calm, cool, and collected is a feeling that comes from within. All of my life I have been a ball of energy waiting to explode. Never feeling settled, relaxed or satisfied. The feelings of being complacent had been foreign to me until three days after beginning my medication.
The antipsychotic I take is an instant targeting medication. Meaning its effects are immediate. Many other medications take weeks to get in your system and maybe a month before they begin to work. I didn’t have that time. I had already waited too long before accepting my meds and my instance was an emergency.
Before my anger outburst, there was always a gut feeling it was going to happen. My stomach would be in knots and I would feel constant disgust with people. I didn’t have to have a reason. Them breathing was reason enough. I am happy to say the only time I experience this today is if I miss a dose and this is my indicator reminding me.
When you live with mental illness, this one is hard to come by. Happiness is a feeling I am not familiar with. Drug-induced happiness isn’t the same. Obviously. After beginning the regime that works for me I woke with joy. Smiling from ear to ear and feeling guilty for it. I had no reason to be smiling. If ever I had smiled before, I was up to no good. I didn’t and still don’t know how to just be happy and allow it. It doesn’t feel right. I feel silly and giddy. I am working on staying happy and accepting it as is. Everyone deserves happiness in their life and I do too!
These 8 life-changing reasons are reason enough to continue on my journey of medicated recovery. For these reasons of feelings I had never had naturally or achieved, I knew I did the right thing by accepting medication.
Taking medication is trial and error. It took many wrong prescriptions before finding what works for me. Not everyone will share the same experience as mine. I recommend following doctors orders and communicating with them what is or isn’t working for you. You know your body better than anyone. Speak up and be proactive in your recovery.