I currently rattle… literally. But I receive so many questions, comments and opinions on the different medications out there that I decided I should write about it. Now I know I say this all the time, but I wont be offering medical advice because I am not a medical professional. I can’t decide what medication, if any, might work for you. I don’t know you. But, having been on various tablets since a fairly young age (about 14 I think) I can offer an opinion on them.
Here is the long and short of it: some medications work for some people, and some medications do not work for some people. I know, I could nearly be a doctor with advice like that. But unfortunately, that is the truth of it. Whilst it would be amazing if one tablet cured everyone, that simply isn’t the case. Now many people don’t know too much about antidepressants and anti-psychotic medications, so it is easier to explain something that all of us have come across a few times in our lives: antibiotics. There are loads of different types, which is brilliant, because they work in different ways. Antibiotics can target specific areas, or your whole body. It will cure some things, but not everything. Some people have bad reactions on them, and some people are fine.
There are some that feel that medications are a sign of weakness. They are not. Nobody thinks twice about telling people their bodies defences have let them down and they are dosed up on paracetamol for a nasty cold. But because of social stigma, amongst other things, stating that you are on medication for mental health problems causes embarrassment and upset, along with probing questions, making the person disclosing such information uncomfortable.
This is another area of prejudice, stigma, naivety, ignorance and misinformation we as a society have a duty to tackle. Fortunately, we are heading in that direction. We are becoming a more open minded society and we now accept there are things we don’t understand, rather than making up strange things to explain it. Which is all brilliant. But there is still a fair way to go, and that is one of the reasons I started writing this blog.
Do not see medication as something scary. Any decisions regarding medication should ALWAYS be under the instruction of a doctor. There are plenty out there, so if you find one isn’t working you can move on to another one, particularly if you are getting annoying side effects. In this day and age there is no need to feel ‘drugged up’ or like a ‘walking zombie’ as some I know have described.
A member of my family recently expressed concern that going on certain medications would be a life-long thing. And, to be fair, for some, probably including myself, medication will be a part of our lives forever (or at the very least for the foreseeable future). But for most, medication is a temporary solution only. If it can help you get out of a hole and make positive changes in your life, then that is brilliant. There are some that only need to be on medication for a few months. But no matter how long you may need it for, weighing the pro’s and con’s with your GP is essential.
As people who read this blog regularly will know, I suffer with chronic depression (amongst other things). Things get a bit tricky with depression, because some of the best help you can get can only be provided by yourself… a better diet, more exercise, getting a hobby, getting into a good sleep routine, quitting smoking and excessive drinking, etcetera. The bummer is depression leaves people almost unable to do any of it due to the complete lack of motivation, energy, will power, and a myriad of other drains on your soul (to be quite frank about it). However, if medication lifts your mood enough to help you make those changes, it might be worth it.
Just a cautionary tale to end with. I know a young man, who has been on medication for the vast majority of his adult life. He had finally got himself into a good place, things were going well, and he decided he was doing so well he was going to stop all medication immediately without consulting anyone. He went down hill rather quickly, and it took him three years to build his life back up to where he was before. At that point he slowly reduced medication over a period of time, under the supervision of his doctor. He has been medication free for 5 years now, is due to get married in the New Year and has a baby due any day now. I know some of the warning labels on various things sound stupid… but when it comes to your health there is little more important than getting it right. Please only use any medication you are given the way directed.
And never forget, you are in control. Make it your business to learn about your condition, to learn about the medications you have been given (whatever they are for), and do not be afraid to go back and talk to your doctor if you are not happy. Believe it or not, they like it if you go in with an idea of what you need to help you, providing you are able to listen to the advice and reasoning they give if they don’t agree with your conclusions. But don’t diagnose yourself… the are not so keen on Dr Google!