Sunday, August 25, 2013

Feeling like I need to justify myself- to who?

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.

1 comment:

Just Me said...

During one of my more recent hospitalizations there was someone in one of the private rooms who rarely left his room. This is not common since on the mood disorder unit you are expected to do all groups. It turned out that he was a psychiatrist from another state, far from here, who had been on meds for bipolar disorder for many years and had decided to admit himself and try to come off them. He was taking an extended leave of absense and I don't know how long he'd been in the hospital. He missed groups because the physical effects of coming off everything made him sick. But a few days before I left he started coming out and seemed to be doing well. He was able to set up his own transportation home and seemed to be on track with his plans. I've wondered how he was doing a lot since then.