Sometimes I think I hate my psychotropic medications. There are certainly unpleasant things about taking them: side effects, the need to remember at the right times, and the feeling of dependency. Yet, for me, there are more advantages than disadvantages. Most importantly, I would say that now, I am better off than I have been in years. I have my stability back. The reason it took years, was that I was not on medications that were working properly during that time. I had asked my doctor to switch medications around and that went badly. I even had to go to the hospital for a bit a year and a half ago.
It’s interesting that just being on less medication messed me up pretty badly. Some would say it is better for us to figure out our own coping skills. I’m not against coping skills, (I’d actually say they are entirely vital to any recovery method), but they often work better alongside medication rather than instead of medication. To be sure, I do think medication should be tried only after it is known that things like diet, exercise, coping skills, and therapy aren’t enough. But if these things really aren’t enough, why deprive oneself of something that can be a solution?
There are a few scary things about medications that I suppose I should address. One of them is side effects. There are some pretty ugly side effects that can happen, especially with older meds. Adding to this problem is that psychiatrists are often less than forthcoming about them. The worst example in my life was when I asked a doctor what the side effects of a certain medication were and he said none. I knew that couldn’t be true, and it definitely wasn’t. I reacted badly enough to it that I had to be taken off. Perhaps the key to this is finding a good doctor. That doctor wasn’t very good, but others have been. My current doctor is much better. It is also good to research medications on your own, especially by asking the pharmacist. Pharmacists are very knowledgeable and often quite willing to provide plenty of information.
Another thing to mention about side effects is that they often go away. I remember one medication I took for a while gave me the feeling of a foot falling asleep, but in my face. That was annoying. It also gave me a very dry mouth which would even wake me up in the night. Both of these side effects went away within a couple of months. My current medication caused me to feel itchy all over, but that is going away too. I’m glad I stuck it out.
Another fear is that medications are over prescribed. I imagine this is quite true, but that doesn’t mean it’s true in any particular case. Once again, education is useful here. Sometimes, doctors prescribe drugs because they assume the patient just wants a drug and not something else. It helps to find doctors that recommend other methods before going to the drugs. If you fear over prescription of drugs, do enough research to find a doctor who shares your feelings about this. I am on low to medium doses of medications and I’m fine. I appreciate the doctors that have kept my doses down. Not all of them have had that approach, but most have and I’m healthier for it. I know that I really do need those medications which I do take.
For all the alleged dangers and side effects and bad things with psychotropic medications, I know that, for me, now that I’m on the right ones, I feel OK. I haven’t felt OK in far too long. When I talk to my friends they say I sound happy, but in a stable way. Even if the wildest, craziest rumors about these drugs badly harming their patients and all that nonsense were true, I’d still have a happier life for the time that I’d have it. Without this stability, I’m fairly certain I’d be in prison or dead by now, so I’m glad for what I have.