With mental illness, prescribing medication to treat the symptoms isn’t like treating an infection. There is a lot of trial and error involved, and I’ve experienced it personally.
*Random Number, do not cite
For the sake of not influencing anyone towards or away from a certain medication, I won’t name names, but one of my first prescribed drugs made me so agitated and irritable I felt like I was in the early stages of a demonic possession horror movie. The second made my appetite increase while dragging my energy level down, leading me to put on fifty or so pounds-the resulting depression from the weight gain lead to fifteen more pounds.
An acquaintance mentioned a medication that dulled their senses to the point that they found themselves sunk into their couch for days at a time, forgetting to eat and subsisting on crackers and cigarettes. Coming off the medication, they said, was like being reanimated.
That story set off a round of reminiscing and comparing medication experiences (as well as longing for nicotine); everyone had at least one horror story. I was in quiet denial about how fat I was until someone else shared the same issue-apparently their doctor hadn’t warned them about the increased appetite and dragging energy levels either. I had to wonder if our respective doctors thought we would refuse to take the medication if we knew the possible symptoms. I would have preferred an informed refusal; the medication didn’t even work very well.
I currently take four medications for my mental illnesses, the newest addition intended to help deal with my lack of sleep, flashbacks, nightmares, and mood stabilization. It is also meant to help with migraines. I have only been on this exact combination for…
A little less than two weeks. I have been fiddling with my other medications for about a year and a half, after not being satisfied but being wary of trading my rocky fishing boat for a sinking dinghy.
These two weeks have been pretty decent, mental health-wise. But I just knocked on wood, because for all I know two weeks from now I may develop some other symptom.
Maybe I’ll grow wings!