Since I have been psychotropic medication free for about a month and half, I can see everything more clearly. I am no longer living in a fog or looking through a cloudy dull lens seeing only grays and browns. My brain continues to rewire and adjust, but my brain is beginning to feel like new. My brain is becoming my own, not a synthetic brain made by man from medications that were prescribed to me for over 25 years.
Psychotropic medications act on the brain and central nervous system. They change the way chemicals in the brain called “neurotransmitters” send messages between brain cells through a synapse or crossing. Each psychotropic medication is used to treat certain “target” symptoms.
Unfortunately, we never realize until years later what damage is occurring inside our brain and body. Sometimes later becomes too late. I am not saying people with mental illness do not need medications, because many people do. I know for certain that I did and they helped me for years.
However, maybe instead of playing medication roulette for so many years, maybe before giving me new medications they should have waited until old medications were out of my systems before giving me new medications. How do we know what is causing what symptom. The truth is we do not know and prescribing medications becomes a guessing game that sometimes must be played.
Is my new medication causing the side effect I am feeling or is it from symptoms of withdrawal from going cold turkey off a different medication? How do we know? How does anyone know for sure? They don’t know. We do not now. That is a hard pill to swallow. It seems Psychiatry is nothing more than a guessing game, but a game we need nonetheless. It is a study and learn as you go process, as each person with mental illness is different.
I don’t mean to sound negative about psychiatry, because we need it. I need it and will need it for the rest of my life. However, as we all know, mental health services must improve exponentially. Don’t get me wrong, we have come a long way since the barbaric treatment of people with mental illness fifty plus years ago. We no longer institutionalize people for life or have the lock ’em up and throw away the key mentality or overmedicate until they are comatose. Okay, we have come a long ways since then and that makes me happy.
However, we cannot ignore that there has been a great decline in the treatment for mental health services in the past few years. Over-stretched services are failing patients time and time again. At the same time, there has been a huge increase in the number of people requiring mental health services. What came first? The chicken or the egg?
For now, I strive to remain medication free as long as possible. Please remember everyone’s journey is different and their own. This is just where I am in my bipolar journey and I wanted to share it with you. Hopefully it helps in some way.
Being psychotropic medication free is new and foreign to me after being on psychotropic medications for over 25 years. I will keep an open mind and will pay close attention to my mental health. Living with bipolar 1 disorder with rapid cycling and mixed episodes has taught me many valuable lessons about life and living. I have learned to appreciate the small things in life. Keep an open mind about people and life. Take one moment at a time. Live and be present in the moment, because this moment in time is all we have and know. We do not know what tomorrow will bring.
If it is a difficult day, have hope for a better tomorrow. If it is a good day, love the moment and live for today. I pray it is a good day.