I take a lot of psych meds. Effexor, Zyprexa, Lithiuim, Provigil, Zonegran, and Ambien. And the occasional Klonopin, but very rarely these days. And I feel defensive about it- which is a separate concern from my concerns about medication.
My mother thinks I should not be taking psych meds- I need nutritional healing, spiritual healing, or something else. I am not really mentally ill. My step mother, who is a clinical psychologist and used to be very pro-med, has recently become anti-med, and thinks I am taking too many meds. And when I go to a new doctor, sometimes they tell me I am taking a lot of meds. When I am doing badly, people tell me that the meds aren't working, so I shouldn't be taking them. When I am doing well, they tell me that I am not really that bipolar, I don't need all of these meds.
It is also the imagined and sometimes real disapproval of people I meet who generally disaprove of psychiatric medication. It is things I read from people in the "antipsychiatry" movement, or into natural healing.
I do believe in alternative medicine. I take more supplements than meds. But for me, it has not been enough. Before I ever took my first medication, my mother took me to a nutritional healer, and I went on a bunch of supplements- but it did not slow my slide into the deepest depression of my life at that time (there were worse to come).
I have had a lot of problems from meds. I have had incompetent doctors as well. But right now, I am in a good place. I don't need to justify my use of medication to anyone (except my insurance company).
The irony is, I do think meds are over used. I do think patients are not told the risks. I don't think that mental illness exists in the same way that, say, diabetes exists. (Although I don't think that type 2 diabetes is that clearly defined, but that is another story). And many of the drugs used in studies have pretty small effects in the research. And yet, I use meds.
Because right now, I think that this is the best shot I have at having a life. Meds don't give you a life- but hopefully they make it possible to create one. Or rediscover the one you have, if you haven't been gone for too long- but in some ways I have been. Other than work- which is admittedly a very big deal- I have been gone for a very long time.
There is this part of me that continually wants to try getting off of Zyprexa, cutting my dosage of Effexor, etc. And I have listened to that part of me a lot in the past, and occasionally I have been successful in lowering dosages, but more often not. Now, I just have to put that on hold for a while, and try to live. It is not all about meds. I do not want to be thinking about meds all of the time.
If I won the lottery, if I didn't have to work anymore- or at least could take a year off. Would I try to get off of my meds? Maybe- just to really know what I would be without them. If maybe there was another path for me that didn't involve all these meds. Just to know. But I haven't won the lottery. I have to go to work. I have to function. I want to live.