Of Pills and Chips
I just had a miserable experience this past weekend. I had forgotten to take my medications for a day and a half before I realized why I was feeling so awful. It’s never a good idea to go cold turkey with these psychiatric meds. By the time I took them, I was hurting all over, really suffering with anxiety, and had a solid fear of going insane. By that time I was sure I couldn’t exist like this and would rather die. I’ve spent too much time with suicidal thinking and I wasn’t going there, so I really had no choice other than to wait until the meds took effect.
Over the years, I have learned how to wait these things out. At least I had that to hold onto – that I could wait because I knew I was doing much better just two days prior. I knew it was the sudden stop in the meds that was causing my condition, but that only goes so far in the face of such mental anguish. It’s been a good reminder that taking these drugs is serious business. I can’t forget them or mess around with dosages.
I’ve chosen to go with meds after many tries with and without them. I feel that with them, I’m able to do what I need to do to be well. Without them I seem to get overwhelmed by ordinary life and become unable to maintain a healthy state of mind. I feel that I’m finally starting to stabilize even though it can be hard to get my brain cells flying in formation sometimes. I aim to minimize what I’m taking once I’ve been stable for a year or two but only with my psychiatrist’s guidance. There’s a right way and a wrong way to come off these drugs (if I choose to).
I know that the use of psychiatric medications is controversial in many circles. I don’t aim to challenge anyone’s thinking on this and I do feel that generally speaking there is an overuse of these drugs. At the same time, I maintain that it is a perfectly reasonable choice when they can help to relieve suffering. Sometimes no amount of healing work is enough on it’s own. I know others that share this experience: that the meds can often help to make the healing work possible.
I think that we as a society are unnecessarily afraid of any kind of depression and are too quick to medicate it. In my opinion, some kinds of experiential depression are transformative experiences that will run their course with the proper support and without medications. Normal grieving can trigger depression as can having too many changes happening at once. At the same time, the important thing to remember is that everyone’s experience is different and there is no clear definition as to when or if medication is appropriate. It’s a very personal choice.
I do think that there are more genetically based forms of mental illness that are more likely to respond to and perhaps even require medication supports to live a normal life. Bipolar disorder seems to be one of those. I have spent most of my life dealing with it and it was very difficult to find the right mix of drugs to work with my particular flavour of the illness. I’m still not sure how well they’re working compared to others, just that I was much worse off without them.
I didn’t mean to get off onto that whole bit about drugs but that’s okay. I was having trouble coming up with a topic anyway. Back to the miserable weekend; well thankfully I felt exhausted so I slept through most of it. Now, today is a good day! I had a good practice with the band this morning. Then I followed that up by having a nice long coffee with a friend from Calgary who was passing through town. I think having a good talk helped me break my writer’s block. Thanks Ivy!
I’ve been struggling with doing any writing for a week and a half now. I was having a lot of trouble getting focused on writing. I was fearing that I’d run out of words and ideas, but today I feel willing to just ramble on a bit instead of feeling under pressure to come up with something profound. Speaking of rambling, I’m doing so at the helm of a new computer.
Last weekend my computer’s life-force transitioned to the great beyond, leaving behind a collection of aimless, tired, and confused chips unsure what to do with themselves anymore. The computer was something like 12 years old, which is a long time in computer years, so it turned out that it really wasn’t practical to repair. I took a deep breath and took the plunge into computer shopping. I found a locally owned business with good word-of-mouth and supported them with my business. That’s a good thing and it eased the pain of the price tag.
Well that’s about all that’s on my mind for now. In the meantime, until next time, I wish you wellness.