I can’t count how many medications I’ve tried
Since I was 18, I’ve been on a plethora of medications, psychiatric medicines, and the list is incredibly long. When I saw my first psychiatrist, I started on Prozac, which is a standard choice for someone who has anxiety and depression. It worked for a while and then stopped working. I’ve been on a variety of different medications since that time, and unfortunately, since they’re still perfecting the art of psychiatric medicine, they’ve been tweaked over the years. Even talking about being on all these different medicines makes me feel anxious. What if something is wrong with me because I’m relying on psych meds? I know this is my anxiety brain talking, but it still scares me.
All medications are monitored
If I were taking any medication other than psych meds, it would be monitored, such as insulin or blood pressure medicine. Psych meds are the same, they need to be managed by a professional, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, the stigma of taking something that makes me less “crazy” hurts me and makes me feel shame. Why can’t I manage my symptoms “on my own?” Maybe I’m defective, and that’s why my brain doesn’t do what it’s “supposed to do.” That’s the thing though; there’s no normal. The bell curve is bullshit. Everyone has “stuff,” and the things that I struggle with are different from the stuff you deal with, but that doesn’t invalidate them. Yes, I take psychiatric medication to manage my symptoms, and so what? Who cares? I do what I need to do to maintain stability.
When a medication stops working
When my medicine stops working, I feel defeated. Usually, I know because I start to experience severe anxiety. It’s a bad feeling when I can’t calm down no matter what I do. I talk about my feelings in therapy and with my friends and family, and I’m frustrated; back to square one. I have to go to my psychiatrist and get my meds adjusted. It’s not like it happens often, but it does occur. I feel frustrated, resentful and angry that I have to go through the medication changing once again. It hurts me, and I don’t want to think about withdrawals, mood instability or waiting for the new medications to kick in. The thing is, life doesn’t stop when you change medicines for your brain. You have to keep going, taking care of yourself, going to work and caring for children. I have to do those things and deal with the rollercoaster of what my brain is doing.
The positive side to adjusting medications is the endpoint: stability. But, the beginning of the journey is finding a good psychiatrist who can help me get my meds working well. There are some great psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychiatrists, and there are also some terrible providers. I’ve seen both varieties, and I would prefer to work with someone who cares about their patients and knows what they’re doing. But, you don’t find that out until you meet with the person for a while. It’s hard for me to trust a new doctor, and I have to go down the list of what works for me and what doesn’t. I’ve tried so many psych meds, and I know what my body likes and doesn’t like. It’s scary to try new medications, mainly because my OCD and anxiety get freaked out when I put something new in my body. Anxiety disorders are fun that way. All I can do is ride the medication changes out with the knowledge that eventually, I’ll get to a place where there are less anxiety and more stability in my life.