My brain is sick.

I am on, currently, seven medications (not counting the prescription I just got to manage the pain of my headaches until I see a neurologist). I see a lot of people who talk about “big pharma” and how people should handle their mental health with supplements and not psychiatric medication. While I believe that pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are totally screwing us over on costs, I do not believe medication is “unnecessary” for everyone. Whether or not you take medication has to be up to you and your doctor, but if your blood pressure is at a stroke risk level, you take blood pressure medication. In my mind, if your mental health is at risk of hurting your life in some fashion, you should consider the same types of options.

While eating healthy and exercise and supplements and yoga and meditation and whathaveyou can take people far, it can’t take everyone all the way to where they need to be in order to live more fulfilling lives. These things could help your blood pressure too… but they can’t help everyone. There are drawbacks to medications, all medications, not just psych meds. The medication I took for my high brain pressure, for example, took away my sex drive. Blood pressure medications often have that side effect as well. It sucks. I know it sucks. Well… sometimes it can be funny as well.

While I was still married and doing the first medication switches, I always read the potential side effects so I knew what was to be expected. I didn’t always remember to tell my husband the ones I was experiencing unless they were REALLY bad. One night, in bed, he poked his head out from under the covers and asked, “Is there something I should know?” I had started a new medication a couple days before and in the less common side effects was “lactation.” Guess who the lucky winner of “less common side effects” usually is? I did notice it was happening, I totally forgot to mention it. This is a much more common side effect of “pregnancy” … Luckily, it was just the Risperdal.

What I experience when I don’t have the right medication, and during the times when I had no medication, is far more frightening to me than the side effects that I have experienced. Negative side effects that I could not handle (like a medication that dropped my appetite to nothing and I did not eat for five days straight) are temporary. If I contact the doctor and they tell me how to come off the medication safely, within days I’m fine again. Being so anxious that small things like dropping a bowl make me cry for hours because I don’t know what to do and shut down, so depressed that I end up at the edge of a river… these “side effects” of mental illness can last for weeks, months, years, or until death.

Not everyone needs medication. Some people can learn the coping skills they need to move through life without it. Some people have healthy enough bodies that they will not need medications for physical reasons well into the second half of their life. Some people need to take insulin for the diabetes no matter how healthy they try to be… Me? I need to take psychiatric medications as well as physical ones because my brain needs the chemicals to function properly.

I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind who consistently uses the phrase “big pharma” while talking about conspiracies to keep people sick. I just want you to know that I know my medications are necessary for me, and that I see no more shame in taking my lithium than in taking my blood pressure medication. They are both keeping me alive. If supplements, talk therapy and yoga aren’t doing it for you, I encourage you to seek psychiatric counsel. If your heart was sick, you’d go to the doctor, please don’t treat your brain with any less care.

~Brutally Honest Eccentric~

4 thoughts on “My brain is sick.”

  1. I have tried managing my condition without medication and it just doesn’t work for me. I know now in order to be stable I need medication, medication allows me to do the reflecting, the meditation etc. I don’t think there’s anything wring with admitting that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately there is still stigma attached to psychiatric medication and it’s frustrating at times for me because there are people who could benefit greatly from it and are too ashamed to seek it out. It’s hard to get people to understand that it’s not shameful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I sometimes believe that medication causes more than it’s worth. I spent over 5 years on psychotics, oh gosh I can’t remember what else…but it made me act like a zombie. I hated it. Went to my GP & she told me to stop taking them all, get it all out of my system. Stupid assed me stopped taking all of my meds, all 30 lots of tablets each day & I ended up a bigger mess than before. Now all I have, apart from diabtes tablets & blood pressure tabs, is one lousy tablet for depression & I’m falling down a deep dark hole…I want my Mummy 😦

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    1. If medications make you feel like a zombie or have side effects you can’t handle, then you’re on the wrong meds, love. a gp shouldn’t be the one telling you to come off of psychiatric medication unless they’re affecting you physically and even then a psychiatrist should be consulted… what you went through was unfair but unfortunately what many have gone through because they don’t speak up. i’m not saying you did anything wrong, just that if you’re having bad side effects (including zombie-ism) you should tell your doctors. stay strong, julie, you got this…. i know you don’t feel like you do, but you do.

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