I promised a long time ago that I would post about medication. Now that I have been on medication for a few months I feel a bit more qualified to speak on it.
My first medication, like for many others, was not the right drug for me. I immediately got all the negative side effects with none of the relief from the symptoms of my depression. I’m not going to name any of the drugs I mention here, as I don’t want to discourage people from taking them if they are prescribed to them. What works for some does not work for others and vice versa.
An excerpt from my journal the second week into taking this medication:
“I need to change my medication. It’s not working. I actually feel more depressed than ever. I’ve been having really bad and scary thoughts over the past week.”
I was one of the unlucky patients to experience the black box warning side effects, meaning that in addition to the expected physical and emotional side effects, I experienced increased depression which posed a real safety hazard to me. These effects led to a meeting with my campus’ Health Services, a few off hours phone calls with my therapist, and a new appointment with my psychiatrist to address these problems.
Luckily, as soon as my safety was brought into question, my therapist and psychiatrist jumped into action and worked together to establish a plan. I would be changing medication ASAP, keeping in frequent contact with both of them, and would have a plan in case negative thoughts got extreme. This also meant that they would keep in contact with each other, to make sure the emotional revelations from my therapy sessions were reflected in my medicinal treatment.
My short time on this medication was the darkest I have ever seen.
My current medication is not an anti-depressant, but a mood stabilizer. And this is the one that worked. The key for us was to tackle the symptoms themselves with the medicine, while attacking the root causes of the depression in therapy.
I went through a week of feeling truly awful when I started this medication. Everything was blurry, my brain was full of fog, and I couldn’t even try to concentrate on anything. I was constantly dizzy and confused. Then, one morning, I woke up and I knew something was different. My head was clear for the first time in months. I got out of bed and got dressed and ran errands.
Now, it’s a week later, and I still feel clear and energized. I finally found the one.
There are two parts of this process which I would describe as mediums.
Firstly, there was the time in between when I started taking the first medication and when I started to get the extreme side effects where I felt exactly the same as I had before. It was incredibly frustrating to not feel any better despite all my efforts.
Secondly, there is now. Now, although my new medication works well for me in terms of mood, there are some aspects which are pretty “medium” in nature. The pill, since it addresses the physical side effects moreso than the emotional ones, leaves me feeling energized, but still battling negative thoughts and all the underlying problems. The good part of this is that having energy and motivation puts me in a better position to work through these problems.
If you haven’t had luck in your medication journey, don’t lose hope. It’s an incredibly frustrating and ever-changing game that takes almost everyone a lot of time to get right. I wish you all the best of luck, and as always my inbox is open for anyone who needs to talk through anything.