t2

Monday, March 23, 2020

So, Have You Thought About Meds For These Times?



Ok, let's do some real talk here.

I'm on psychiatric meds. Have been for a few years now. Two different ones. And they make my life so much better.

Like night and day better. Like I forget a dose one time and I totally regret it, because I see how much better it makes my life. Like they work for me so well, that my life is so completely different, that I don't ever want to go off of them. It's like when I was eating gluten I lived with a constant stomach ache, and my base line was pain, and I didn't even realize it, but when I went off gluten, I finally understand what it was like to live without any pain. And now that I'm on meds, I finally know what its like to feel "normal" and not with so much mental anguish every single day.

I used to be opposed to the idea of medication. I mean, I don't want to feel numb. I want to still feel my life, and not walk through it like a soul-less zombified person. As depressed and anxious and not well as I was doing, I was even more afraid that medication would somehow diminish my existence, make life less somehow, and make it worse than before I took meds. Add to that my desire to do things naturally, treat myself via a healthy diet and all that jazz, and not want to feel like I was a cop-out, turning to quick fixes. I only finally was willing to take medication when my mental state got so bad that I was not functioning in my day to day life and I reached a critical stage.

But when I finally went to a psychiatrist, and spoke to him, he reassured me about medication. That the point of medication wasn't to take away my feeling, wasn't to numb me or reduce my essence. The analogy he gave me about how medication works was that it simply increases your reserves, increases your tolerance and ability to deal with hardship.

And finally, that, combined with his reassurance that he didn't want me on medication for the rest of my life, but wanted therapy to heal me to the place that I wouldn't need meds anymore, convinced me to try psychiatric meds.

And as I mentioned, they've been life changing for me.


The way I'd describe it is definitely what he said. Lets say beforehand, my tank of gas was filled 1/8 of the way, and each little annoyance used up some of that, and bigger things used up more of my tank, until I was running on empty, and trust me, me running on empty is someone that I don't like, because I end up using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal or rather escape my life.

However, just starting taking medication, even with my low initial dose, its like my gas tank was filled 1/4 of the way, and it took longer for my reserves, or "spoons" (see here to learn about the spoon theory and what spoons means) to be used up and for me to be running on empty. We upped my medication because even 1/4 tank of gas was difficult to live with, and on top of all that, I was dealing with some really tough situations in my personal life, and each of those used up my emotional reserves and made me run on empty quicker than I'd like to.

I asked my psychiatrist about medication for those difficult situations. I mean, these were outside circumstances I was dealing with, it didn't mean that my mental health was actually worse. External factors and all that. Why should that affect my medication?

But my psychiatrist explained that even though these circumstances are external, it doesn't make my pain any less real, and its ok to go on medication to get myself through really hard times, and its ok to increase my dosage for during those times. Again, the reserves analogy. When times are rough, you need extra reserves, and it doesn't make you a failure to need to increase those reserves.

Why am I bringing this up now?

Because, seriously, most of us are probably facing some of the harder challenges in our lives. And it will only keep getting worse. Coronavirus means that many jobs are getting wiped out, many people are losing jobs, losing any investments they might have had been hoping to rely on in tough times, their kids are off school and maybe so for months more or even longer (I saw talk that our local schools may be closed until September 1st at earliest), there's strict social distancing measures in place, and there are places where there is a complete shut down, no one allowed to leave the house for anything but absolute necessities.
Yes, there are some people that aren't struggling now, but those people are few and far between.
I see so many people talking about how the few things they generally do to help keep themselves sane have all been taken away from them, and so many people are very close to losing it, or have lost it. (I also read an article that domestic violence complaints have gone up.) Even "healthy" people are struggling now; people having mental illnesses can have them exacerbated by this situation.

And I wanted to tell you that if you're really, really struggling now, reach out to your doctor and ask him/her if it would be a good idea to start taking meds. It doesn't mean that it has to be for the rest of your life. And the fact that your emotional pain is situational doesn't make it any less real. And if you're already taking meds but they aren't enough for you, ask your doc if you should raise your dosage.

It's normal to struggle in times like these.

But it is also ok to ask your doctor if meds would be a good idea for you.

And no, I'm not your doctor, and I'm not telling you what to do. But I just wanted to share that my expert psychiatrist told me that it is totally fine to increase my meds when I was in a situation that was zapping me of every last bit of energy, where I needed more reserves to deal with it. And you don't have to tell yourself that because this is external, there is nothing meds can do to fix it.

Because no, meds won't make this coronavirus situation go away. It won't increase your finances or make your social life better. But maybe, just maybe, with meds you might find that your tolerance for all this difficulty goes up. And you'll be able to feel like life is worth living, isn't so terrible after all, even with this really messed up situation.

Speak to your doctor. Please. No need to be a martyr.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I work at a jail and the only people getting arrested are DUI and domestic violence and felonies. Some homeless are using this shut down as a means for burglaries. I've come to the conclusion that some people don't care what happens to them. These are the folks who need therapy, not jail.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

Share This