Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meds, Meds, Meds!

There are generally three types of opinions when it comes to mental medication. First there is the anti medication movement. These are people who believe that medication is poison and created solely for the purpose of drug companies to turn a profit. They believe that we are slaves to the government and it's corrupt drug companies. They do not take medication and feel others would follow suit.

Then there is the pill popper movement. This movement is the extreme opposite of the anti medication movement. These people feel all mental illness sufferers need medication. They feel people should take the medication in spite of severity of symptoms. They believe drugs make everything better.

Then there is a group of people that are neither anti medication or pill poppers. They feel there is truth to both parties but the also false beliefs in both parties. Kind of like political parties, where things are lied about and misrepresented and you have to weed out the truth.  These people feel medication can be helpful but do not agree to the concept that everyone needs to be medicated. There are diagnoses that require medication for stability. There is nothing wrong with that. There are some that do not need medication and there is nothing wrong with that either. What has happened is between the movements of these beliefs the mental illness sufferer is confronted with unfair judgments. You are judged if you do not need medication and judged if you do. It's a damned if you do , damned if don't situation and it is unfair.

Medication is not an easy out. Not only is it a coin toss which ones will work, you also have to combat the side effects they can cause. You have to deal with dosages and refills. Deal with others snickering about what types of medications you are on. You may have months or even years of being a guinea pig to find out what if any medications work for you. It is not easy.

Not needing medication is not an easy out. Without medication there can be other issues such as panic attacks or other symptoms that are hard to control or foresee. It is not easy to combat your mental issues without the help of a medicinal aid and only go with therapy. It is hard work to constantly be aware of your issues.

Both medication and not medicating are very hard roads to go down. They both take bravery and strength. Neither one is better than the other. Neither one is an easier situation. We should stop making judgments on those who medicate and those who don't. It doesn't matter, we both suffer.

I have been medicated on and off all of my life. I had many side effects and issues that I dealt with. I also had mixed results of effectiveness.

These are a list of medications I was put on and my side effects. This is my experience and may not reflect other people's experiences. Many of these medications did not work for me that does not mean they will or will not work for others.

My first mental medication was a little triangular blue pill. I have no idea what it was or what it was supposed to do. I was in the mental hospital in the children's ward. We all were different and I know I was the only one who suffered from OCD. However, it is my belief most of these kids did not suffer from mental illness. Many were truant and compulsive liars or kids that ran with the wrong crowd. A few simply threw fits. They were not what I would class as suffering from anything that was admitting worthy. Neither was I. I was admitted because my doctor and the hospital was fraudulent. They lied to parents and scared them. Then we were kept until our insurance ran out. Every night we all had to line up at the water fountain and take the little blue pill. Then a nurse would inspect our mouths to make sure we swallowed it. We all did because we did not want to spend the night in restraints or the "quiet" room. A room that was white and consisted of only a bare mattress, that we would be locked in if we did not follow the rules. I believe that this was a drug trial. There is no reason we all had to take the same pill. I believe it was also illegal. Illegal because my parents were not told that I was being medicated. They never were informed or signed anything that would allow the hospital to do so. They were shut down for fraud a few years later. I was ten.

At fourteen I had my actual diagnoses and was put on Prozac. I was only on this medication for about three months. I do not remember it doing anything for my OCD but I do remember it causing me to become extremely manic and hyper. I had hot flashes so bad that I would stand out in the snow in shorts and a tank top and still sweat. I developed twitches and became fidgety. I looked more like an intravenous drug user rather than a fourteen year old who was trying medication.

At sixteen I was put on Luvox. It really didn't seem to help me with the OCD issues as I became more concerned with washing my hands. I washed them until they cracked and bled and burned. My hair started to fall out and I gained a gorgeous receding hairline. My nails became so brittle that they would break off to the quick and cause me agonizing stinging in my fingers. I also dealt with such constipation that my stomach bloated and I became unable to eat much due to the constant stomach pain. I do not remember how long I was on this medication exactly but I do believe it was around three years.

Then they prescribed me a low dose of Xanax. It made me unable to function. I started drooling and falling asleep. I was unable to stay awake. I was taken off of it right away.

I started self medicating with St.John's Wort at the insistence of my ex husband. It did not work and I became much worse.(NEVER SELF MEDICATE)

I was then placed on Depakote. A seizure medication that they felt would make me less prone to anxiety and intrusive thoughts. They were right, I no longer had anxiety or intrusive thoughts because I became basically an Alzheimer's patient. I lost all reality. I was missing days and losing time. I was confused and scared. I became angry and irrational. I could not remember how to function on my own. I was unable to speak certain words as if my mind had erased them from my vocabulary. I could no longer comprehend what was going on around me. I was twenty years old.

I was then put on Zoloft. It seemed to calm me a bit. My only side effect was weight gain. It did not work as well as I had hoped.

Then I was placed on Riseperdal. I was told it was a seizure medication but I learned later it is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar. I am not Bipolar or Schizophrenic. I assume that is why the doctor told me it was a seizure medication so I would try it.  Again they felt that this would help me. I became confused. I  lost time again. The worst part of this drug was that I became dizzy and faint with no warning. I would just be walking and fall over. I would feel like I was going to pass out and my legs would completely collapse on me. I believe I was on it for about two months.

Back to Zoloft. I was again placed on Zoloft as it worked to a degree and my side effects were limited. I stayed on it for around five years.

After my first child was born I developed OCD Postpartum. Zoloft did nothing for this. My then psychiatrist who was unfamiliar with OCD suggested Haldol......Seriously. I was terrified. I suggested a pill I had heard had great reviews and I was able to try it instead. It worked.

Celexa was by far the best medication I had taken. It made my intrusive thoughts and images become much quieter and less. However, the dosage I was taking and had built up to was highly dangerous. I was taking four times the dosage the UK recommends as safe. I was taking twice the recommended safe dosage from the US. And I did so for ten years. Not realizing that my medication at that high of a dose could stop my heart.

So I am no longer medicated. The only drug that I found that worked for me is not able to help me because my tolerance is too high. I have tried a lot of medications but this is fairly common as we try to find what helps us. Right now my OCD is under control so I do not feel the need to take medication. That does not mean that I will always be that way.

Basically what this post is about is to show that whether we are on medications or not that the road we walk down is a twisted and bumpy one. There are no easy answers. There is no magical power that makes every issue go away. That either way, we are dong the best we can to function.

Some people need medication and they should not be judged for it. You have no idea the hell side effects can place on a person. It's hard work to find something that works without making you completely miserable at the same time. It could take weeks, months, or even years to find the right one.

Those that do not take medication should not be judged either. Most of us have tried medication and we all have our reasons for doing so. I am not biased on this issue because I tried medications for many years and I have also been medication free. Both ways are hard. Both ways are challenging.

The most important part is to be open and honest with your doctors. It is important to take medications if they say you need to. It also is important, in my opinion, to research the drug you were prescribed and keep an eye out for updates on side effects. That way you are knowledgeable about what you are putting in your body and can talk to your doctor about it. Ask questions! Always ask your doctor about any and all concerns you have. That is their job. Getting off of your medications without your doctor's advice and consent is dangerous and should never be done.

We need to stop being divided on this issue. Whether you take medications or don't we both suffer. We both are equally mentally ill. We need to stop judging each other. We need to support each other. After all, who knows how we suffer better than ourselves?

Neurotic Nelly