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09 May 2011 @ 08:15 pm
polar bear  

Let’s talk about drugs.

Drugs are a fact of life for the bipolar patient. I have said it before, but mental health professionals basically have one mode with bipolar patients: drug and release. If you are going to be in treatment, you will be in treatment your whole life. And this means being on drugs for your whole life.

A still from 'Thunderheart'
In Lakota, the pipe is called channúnpa wakhan. Val’s expression is called hilarious.

Which would be fine, if being on psych meds was like popping a daily low-dose aspirin: good for you, and with minimum side effects.

It isn’t.

A still from 'Wonderland'
I’m glad I’m not a heroin addict. It seems really inconvenient.

Even when they’re working properly and you’re taking them exactly how you should, psych meds have an enormous number of side effects. I’ve lost weight, gained weight. I’ve gone weeks without sleeping, and then they put you on sleeping meds and you still can’t sleep, so you’re just the walking dead. Depakote made me feel nothing. Cymbalta made me feel so much—everything—that I had to be tranquilized.

If you are going to be in treatment, you will be in treatment your whole life.

This means being on drugs for your whole life.

current mood: anxiousanxious
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on May 10th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
I can so sympathize with "on drugs for your whole life". Dale and I both require daily maintenance medications -- him for epilepsy, and me for depression and high blood pressure. Not a whole lot of fun, but for us better than the alternatives.
the kilmer cure: there is no soundness in my fleshthekilmercure on May 10th, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)

I’m sorry. I guess it’s not such a big deal; I mean, you could have a disease where you have to take dozens of drugs every day just to maintain stasis. But it’s kind of disheartening, especially when it’s for a mental, not a physical ailment, something where it’s sometimes difficult to appreciate the benefits of the medication as opposed to the side effects. You know?

Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on May 10th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)
I'm not sure if I'm reading you correctly here -- it sounds to me as though I may have given offense. If that's the case, I do sincerely apologize.

I wasn't trying to suggest that you "suck it up", or that taking meds for the rest of your life -- especially with the side effects you've had to deal with -- is a pleasant option. What was in my head was, "I sympathize, from personal experience of having to make the choice to take meds for the rest of my life." Again, if that's not how it came across, if it sounded like I was putting you down or trying to one-up you in some way, I'm very sorry.

It can be very disheartening. And I have been on meds where the side effects were, in my opinion, worse than the disease -- this is the third med I've been on for the high blood pressure, because the first two that were prescribed for me literally made me crazy. On one, I was in a constant state of rage, to the point that Dale was seriously considering hiding the kitchen knives and seriously fearing he'd need to have me hospitalized; on the other, I was so horribly depressed that Dale was seriously considering hiding the kitchen knives and seriously fearing he'd need to have me hospitalized. (I know, it's kind of funny that Dale's reactions were the same both times, but once he was afraid I was going to kill myself, and the other he was afraid I was going to kill someone else.) Both times, I stopped taking the med and told my doctor that frankly, I'd rather just have the heart attack and die.
the kilmer cure: not worth chewing through the strapsthekilmercure on May 10th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC)

Oh, gosh, no; no offense taken at all. I just read your comment and realized how navel-gazing my post sounded, and I have been in kind of a "poor me" frame of mind since my side effects are at, like, a thousand percent, so I was just trying for a little perspective, just for myself. Sorry for the confusion. <3

a girl with far away eyes: listen to the musicvodkaplaid on May 11th, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
I know the truth you speak. I've been AWOL for a couple of weeks from LJ, and here's why: My Crohn's is still active, for the moment, and in the midst of dealing with that, I forgot to get a refill on my depression/anxiety meds. So I was off of them for a week, because my doctor was out of town. Over the weekend, without my meds, with the stress that my body is going through, I had a complete breakdown. It culminated with me called my BFF and crying for about an hour (no words, just crying) and then collapsing on the couch and sleeping for about eight hours. And then it kept going.

I'm back on my meds, and I already feel better after two days. So I understand being on drugs your whole life. Man, it sucks, doesn't it? Some days I want to be a person who doesn't have anything to worry about with their mind or body. And then some days I'm thankful that modern medicine can keep me from dying because my body's not cooperating.

So, this week...I GET this post. More than I want to. But, I'm guessing, you've had weekends far worse than mine. And mine is now a memory, so, as Vonnegut says, "So it goes..."

(And by the way, Val's expression IS hilarious)
the kilmer cure: this shit is fucking stressfulthekilmercure on May 12th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)

I'm really sorry you haven't been feeling well. I wondered where you'd gone off to. I'm glad you're starting to feel better.