What the Doctors Don’t Tell You! * May Trigger*

Asking for help in itself is hard for most of us. Asking for help with the symptoms of a mental illness seems impossible. There is the stereotype that still runs through our society that somehow a person with a mental illness is weak or damaged. That they cannot take care of themselves or have chosen to have this. They are just not fighting enough.

Then a person goes to the doctor. For me, I was told that within 3-5 years that I would feel better. It has been 16 years and I still feel as horrible as on day one. Even to get to the right medications took months. Sometimes the side effects would make me feel worse or cause new symptoms to creep in over the first few weeks. Give the medication time the doctor would say. I do no need time when I know that I feel worse.

My body was no longer my own. It began with the medications. Then came the sleep routines, the mediation, the ECT, and with that the memory loss. My brain was now trapped behind a barrier. I was no longer in the drivers seat. Just a passenger in a car that did not have a final destination.

The doctors do not say that your friends will feel so confused about how to treat you, that many of them will politely bow out of the friendship. They do not say that your spouse will be overwhelmed and feel like they are helpless, causing them to leave. If there are kids and the mental illness is severe enough, the system will make sure that you lose them unless you have 10’s of 1,000’s of dollars. Divorce, loss of children, loss of friends, loss of self, and a constant pressure that just gets worse over time because you are expected to be well. Somehow all of these things miss what the doctor says. Reducing symptoms is sometimes not possible and some people are treatment resistant, causing them to live in limbo.

For me, the doctors missed a lot that I wish that I had known. Maybe I could have prepared myself or at least knew the reality of the future that I was facing. B

The Pros and Cons of Medication

For me, medication has helped. My medications have taken the edge off of my symptoms and allowed me to be present when I would have been to anxious to even try to participate. They have helped with my depression, anxiety, and eating disorder symptoms.

I also take medication for my fibromyalgia. The medication allows me to live with less pain and to tolerate walking short distances. Also, I can sleep through the night without crying out from back pain.

All medications have side effects and some have withdrawal symptoms. If the pharmacy does not have the medication in stock, then I go through withdrawal. No one is to blame. I cannot get my meds filled until I am out and then if that medication is not in stock the withdrawal symptoms hit. I wish that we had a system which would let a patient know where the nearest pharmacy was that their medications were available. I am pretty sure I am not the only one with this problem.

Unexpected Effects

Medications. I am on many for my mental illness and fibromyalgia. I never realized how addicted my body was to them until this past week. They help with anxiety and nerve pain.

I had run out of one of my medications before the doctor could call it in. I thought is was no big deal and that I could wait a couple of days. The next day I had stomach cramps and cold sweats. I felt horrible. I thought that it was a 24 hour virus, then it happened again the next day.

Finally, my husband went and picked up the prescription. I took it and within a couple of hours was feeling better. The stomach pain and head ache had gone away.

That is so scary to me. That a prescription can cause the same withdrawal symptoms as some illegal drugs. I am dependent on these medications for what I thought was to keep my physical and mental health stable. It turns out that my body is dependent on them to not have withdrawal.

I know that I need the medications, yet the fact that they control me makes me nervous. I would hope that the drug companies would work on the symptoms that happened when someone does not need the medication anymore, yet it seems that the drug companies are the ones who have made them this way.