Medications: dosages, kinds, prescribers, side effects, costs, stigma and hospitalizations. One word that carries with it so much more weight than we ever truly stop to realize.
I’ve gotten used to taking medications daily for my well-being, stability and peace of mind–but it wasn’t always like this for me.
I first got introduced to the concept of medications to manage the OCD back in the semester I was diagnosed, fall 2014. Steve had mentioned that I could try medications as an additional alternative to managing my symptoms but I wasn’t interested in that at the time.
During my first hospitalization in January 2015, the idea was brought again to my attention at Unit Z. I was still stubbornly against the idea of having to ‘rely’ on the aid of medications in order to treat my mental health.
But, I was given some information on an anti-depressant and a nurse spoke to me one-on-one about the idea. I was wary. But I remember that she observed that trying to treat the disorders ‘on my own’ wasn’t working out too, too well for me (as I was in the hospital), so she brought up whether I had anything to truly lose.
I decided that I didn’t, so I took the medication.
At this point in time I was beginning to transition over to a therapist outside of UMass Boston that I hadn’t actually met in person yet. Being in this limbo, I also didn’t have a psychiatrist and would get my medications prescribed to me from a nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office.
A couple more hospitalizations later I did arrive within the doors of my still ongoing psychiatrist. The medication I was on got increased a few milligrams and I got some nasty irregular heartbeat side effects from it, so I was promptly taken off of it and a new medication was added to the mix.
While seeing this outside psychiatrist, who we’ll call “Phil”, I remember the first real trepidation I had over taking medication: would it make me different than who I am and would I have to give up my friendship with the depression? There’s a twisted and almost cruel relationship one can form with their disorder. It becomes comfortable to feel really crappy and when identifying as a suicidal blob as I did at the time, I was afraid of what possibilities and new opportunities would become within my reach again if I got better. It’s as though the idea of getting better became more of a nightmare than being complacent with the depression and OCD.
But the person I am in crisis is not the person I am while stable. And I’m more than a suicidal blob or another label of a mental health condition. Yes, the diagnoses are a part of my story, but they’re not the entire picture. This is something I would come to believe and later understand years after.
Around June 2015 I was hospitalized again and started on an anti-psychotic to treat the OCD that gave me the side effect of a tight jaw. I was taken off this medication and added to a new one later.
In 2016 I arrived on a balance of medications that I stayed on pretty regularly.
In 2017 new medications were thrown into the mix again and I believe this was around the time I started on a booster medication to help with the anti-depressant and in September was taken off of that and added to a few different medications, including another anti-psychotic. One of the medications I was on around this time gave me low blood pressure so when I saw Phil again after my inpatient stay I was taken off of this too.
By February 2018 I began my current level of medications: two pills of an anti-depressant in the morning and one pill of an anti-psychotic at night. I went up on the anti-psychotic following my last hospitalization and finally received the weight gain side effect that I had bypassed for three years. Which, as I was underweight to begin with, wasn’t such a bad thing.
Overall, Phil and I have a good rapport. He listens to what I have to say, takes my concerns into mind and treats me well. I feel heard and listened to when I’m in his office. Medication adjustments for me were often gradual and it felt like an open discussion. He’s helped me to look at diagnoses as a fluid spectrum. He always reminds me when I’m doing unwell that I can call to reschedule an appointment if I need to see him sooner than whenever my actual appointment is.
I may be on medications for the rest of my life, but if it’s a stable life, then I’m okay with that. And even when it’s not, I know there are options for me now. That, in and of itself, is a blessing.
Article written: October 23rd 2018
PD A/N: Heyyy everybody! Here’s another recent-ish article from this semester! Because the paper switched from biweekly to weekly this is the semester I’ve had the most written, what’s right now 25 articles and by the end will be 30. 😀 Super exciting!! I’m making lists of all my articles which is helping me to post these newer ones onto here in mostly the same order and I’m reviewing all of my articles in general for a commentary piece I hope to write soon. 🙂
Thank you so much for reading!! It’s currently 12/2 and I’m messing around with a new video in the editing stages. 🙂 I think I’ll put this up tonight as I finished my psych coursework a few hours ago, took a shower, ate dinner, took my meds as it were and got a nice massage. :3 Tomorrow it’s more coursework but maybe I will have some time for fun artsy activities. 🙂 Yay! I’m so behind in videos, but I hope to get back on top of them soon, or at least before the end of the year!
Any who that’s enough from me! Hope you guys are all well. ❤
Welcome back to another week of blogging/updating articles. 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤ xxx