My Medication Story
"All I wanted was to feel normal..."
Little did I know that after seeing my GP I would leave with two prescriptions for medication and a six-week road ahead of me to see if I might feel just a little better. Before I took my first pill I had no idea how much it was going to affect my moods, my appetite, and I would have never known that staying awake would be such hard work. I'm 100% honest when I say this though, if I had the choice to go through this back when I took my first pill, I would.
Starting any medication for a mental illness is scary. I really hold my hands up to that. There are so many emotions that come with it before you have even taken them. The first one that comes up is "I have failed". Truth is this is far from correct. Being on medication doesn't mean you have failed. Medication is there to help us feel better. Honestly if every time we took a tablet for a headache we thought we had failed we would all be screwed.
I was put on Anti-Depressants to help with my low moods and my OCD. It was my CBT therapist that recommended the brand so the next day I was sat on the chair next to the desk of my doctor. We spoke about how and when to take them, that I couldn't drive (even though I can't) and I was to come back within two months for a "check up". I stopped off in Tesco on the way home and picked up my tablets along with a pink pill box and a big packet of crisps. When I got home I put my pills into the box and placed it next to my bed on my table. That night I took my tablet before bed and went to sleep. I knew that nothing would happen over night, I wasn't going to be well within 10 hours. A week later I started to notice different things. I found my moods to be bad, I was angry at everything. I got into more arguments with people and myself then it would result to tears. It was more the fact my moods would swing so unexpectedly, one minute I was normal Stacey, the next don't go near me Stacey then I was the hold me, cuddle me Stacey.
The next week the hunger came. I couldn't stop eating! I would have three good meals a day and then at 9pm I would cook myself eggs on toast, have chocolate, crisps, anything. I would be pulling things out the cupboards eating them whilst looking for the next thing I could devour. You would honestly think I had gone without food for weeks! Then the sleep problem happened. I couldn't stay awake past 8pm - no matter how much coffee I had. I would just crash out in the middle of a movie and then make my way to bed. Then I couldn't get up in the morning, I would wake up at 7am to my alarm and go back to sleep. I would stay in bed till gone 11pm and stay in my PJ'S for the rest of the day because the energy to get dressed just wasn't there. I looked more depressed and was acting it, great!
After two months I wasn't argumentative nor was I a hunger driven woman but I was still depressed and my OCD hadn't got any better. I went back to the doctors and the does was upped to 30mg. The "zombie like" state was worse than ever over the weeks but there was a sense of balance forming in my head. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't cured, far from it but I felt better. I felt like there was some more fight left in me. I did though, sadly become a little cold in the sense of things didn't get to my core, like excitement. I didn't feel it like I used to. I went to Harry Potter Tour and I was excited and I did scream like a kid but it was watered down. It's a shame yes but I know if I didn't have the pills I wouldn't have gone! After being on the tablets for six months I found my only problem was sleep but other than that I was just my cold self, happy, still had OCD but I was more on-top of things. I was still suffering with, sometimes bad panic attacks and I was then placed on Beta-Blockers. These little tablets were my life line. They were to be taken at times where I knew I would have anxiety or when I was having anxiety. I only took these tablets when I needed them as I didn't want to rely on them all the time and my OCD really liked the box being in my draw...
Fast forward two years - I got married! I was doing well, I still had PTSD, OCD and Depression but I felt okay, nothing amazing other than okay. Then I started to believe that I didn't need my medication. I thought that it was stopping me make more progress and not letting me experience the world for what it was. I took myself off the Anti-Depressants. Luckily I didn't go cold turkey and I split dose then came off fully. I'm not going to lie when I say it was really hard. I felt like I was craving something for the first few weeks and on top of that I had a hormone imbalance (not related to medication), sods law, right! I did however start to feel better and I didn't sleep as much, in fact I didn't want to. I felt the same with my mental health issues so I was proud of myself. Of course this isn't going to be a fairy tale ending. My OCD had a huge flare up and I had a break down. I had only been off the pills for a year and I was back on them within hours of sitting on the bathroom floor in a ball sobbing over intrusive thoughts. I know now, for a fact my illness had convinced me I didn't need my tablets. I went through all the side effects again, eating, mood swings and sleeping because they do help me, more than I ever knew.
This is my journey on medication and everyone will have a completely different one. I hope that if anyone takes anything out of this post is that if you are starting medication for your mental health stick with it. Yes the side effects at the start are annoying and hard but if you work hard and keep going they can be very good. Remember being on tablets doesn't say anything about you and you haven't failed. If you feel that you need medication or need advice please go visit your GP.