Asking: Is Medication the Answer?

Anxiety creeps in and doesn’t whisper sweet nothings into my ear. It screams at me, “You are weak! No way in hell can you do this! Quit! Go hide!” I shake my head, trying to relieve my brain from this damaging downward spiral. It’s no use, it won’t stop.

While I have made a lot of progress, I still feel as though there are things I should have overcome at this point in therapy. For years I have avoided medication. There are a lot of reasons for this, but mainly I think it’s because I’m scared. Sometimes I wonder if taking a pill would really calm the angry voices inside, the self-doubts, the mountain of fears. Is it really that simple? A daily regimen of drugs, foreign toxins introduced to our blood, recreating and shifting our brain chemistry. Would it leave me the same person I am, but a better version of myself? It’s so hard to believe it’s that simple.

Also, weight gain terrifies me. That is probably a stupid reason to avoid helpful medication, but it is the truth, please don’t shame me for speaking my truth.

With several friends openly taking medication I wonder if they are better off than I am. I want to break free from the cycles of self-doubt and fear. I feel like I’m on this plateau, stuck on progress. I had one goal, to be able to go into a store and walk through the check outline by myself. I have done this here and there. Though the anxiety that creeps in every time I consider doing this is haunting. So much so that I still avoid doing this whenever I can.

This is classic avoidance, I know this. I should care more, create a goal, but I don’t want to. The motivation to face my fears is strongly lacking. Would medication change this also? Maybe I would suddenly feel like joining a running team and volunteering at my son’s school. Hmmm, probably not. I have to fly out of state twice in the upcoming months. While flying has never been a trigger for me, there are a lot of triggers in an airport. All the LINES that don’t move!!! No way out!!! Oh my god, I am sweating just by typing that!

I have a prescription of Lexapro in my nightstand drawer, from over a year ago, that I never took.

This post is more of a question to followers of The Bipolar Writer. If you can share your story with medication, I am all ears and very grateful. I will never pass judgement on those taking or not taking medication. Shame free zone here!

Brought to you by Fingers to Sky

 

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28 Replies to “Asking: Is Medication the Answer?”

  1. Thanks so much for this post, it’s honest and hits the nail on the head with a mighty force. I’m on meds, have been for about two decades now. I couldn’t function without them. But right now, I’m going through a medicine change, the cocktail’s not working as before. So, I’ve got to cut back on some and raise others. It’s no fun, going through the transition. But, in the end, I know it’s worth it. That said, I so understand and respect your concerns about meds. And all you wrote, about how anxiety creeps in, and the traveling, oh my gosh, I think we bipolars walk very similar roads.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey! I have been on medication for 10 years… I tried different combinations and different types and in general I didn’t care about taking and not taking it. I did gain weight which I was not aware of it’s side effects at that time.
    What I want to express however is my belief in option without medication. I am now researching this topic from various points of view. My strong intuition is telling me that it should be possible to conquer mind with mind. So either through strength of own spirit or with help of friends or therapist I do believe I will be able to balance myself and get to place where I will be standing strong. I think medication is easy help and could be working (obviously is working for many) but I do believe that it is in my mind and my will to work on it. But even if I’m wrong and I will never get out of medication I will not think I failed because I tired.
    Dear Bipolar Writer… I do believe there is hope and way for you also without medication. Part of the journey however is to look for support everywhere you can. Determination and persistence in my mind are the key to win this battle.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I need medication to keep my depression as bay without it I’m a different person. We should never feel ashamed for taking medication to control our mental health. Good on those who can control their mental health without the need for medication and I really wish I was like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In my case, medication has been both necessary and unfortunate. Without it, the worst of my illnesses are uncontrollable and destructive; with it I feel like every bright thing about my character is muted and I’m constantly walking through a fog. Some days I can barely think coherent sentences because of the amount of meds I’m on, but at the moment there’s no alternative.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think weight gain is a valid concern because it can lead to more health issues both physically and mentally. But, hopefully, more people who do take medication will share their experiences so you can make a more informed decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I did specific anxiety / depression medication as a last ditch effort (6-7 years ago). For Me, it did Me more damage than good and I spent just over 2 years trying to rectify that damage.

    I now know long term medication doesn’t work for Me. Instead I use short term sleep meds (sedative) in small doses when I’m on the verge of a panic attack. Effectively, it slows my heart rate, thus subsiding the panic attack. Not ideal but I’m working on it. My doctor seems to thinks its brilliant, but can’t ‘officially’ condone it, however he still prescribes them.

    Not sure if thats the feedback your looking for lol … I guess I’d say I’m not an advocate of medication and if you can do without it, then do without it … but I hope you can find your feng shui in it all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting. I have always wondered if I could find something to use just when things get to a certain point. Though honestly I think overall a little help might also be needed. I talk to my therapist on Thursday and I already emailed her warning that this would be a topic of conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good on you … you gotta discuss it and try and figure out whats good for you … good luck xo

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I am not sure how I missed that one. I read almost every post on this site. I think some of my fears are how it will make me feel, I hate not feeling in control. I also fear trying to come off of something that helped me. That alone may cause anxiety. So, silly me, I’m anxious about trying a drug and then anxious about getting off of a drug. Sometimes I think just suffering through the darker days is worth avoiding the medication roller coaster that I hear about from so many.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Medication for bipolar (and most MH conditions for that matter) is a trials and errors process. I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ve tried and stopped medications a few times (as you read). My PCP told me people with chronic MH conditions sometimes require medication for the rest of their life. I think I discontinued medication before because I disagreed with this. For me, life is more manageable with my medication. I try to think of it another way: I have hypothyroidism. I have to take synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of my life. My anxiety medication seems to be the same way. I have a chronic chemical imbalance that medication helps to manage. I get your concern about the side effects. This is why you collaborate with your provider, express your concerns, and explore options. It’s unique for everyone. Hope this helps

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I lived in a very similar world, and was very very anti medication, even paracetamol. Yet when I reached my lowest ebb and my doctor spoke of medication, I knew I needed something as I no longer had the will not capacity to find or deliver the answers fro myself.

    Did meds cure all, absolutely not, bit what they did was help me regain the mental space to allow my will to grow; and with will, action comes more easily.

    I’m still building, brick by brick, but I remember who I am again…

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I need my medication. I take the very lowest dose. Yes, I have gained a little weight but not drastically and not health worrisome. I still look like me just feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Always look for and try the available alternatives. I believe you will be feeling happy and well again. Besides medication, you might try speaking to the counselors. There might be free counseling service in your city too. Try Google and see. E counseling takes time for you to see the benefits. Medication might be a quick fix like helping you to sleep, but there might be some side effects which could be manageable. I have been taking Olanzapine for more than ten years for my schizophrenia. During my teenage years, I was overweight. But now, though still taking the same medication but in a smaller dose, I am considered to have normal weight. Recently, I have also started my new e counseling. I realise when both medication and counseling go hand in hand, my quality of life is far more better.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I’ve just come off my meds by choice because I felt like a zombie after so many years. While it helped to become level I just got stuck on one level. They have started to leave my system and real emotions and feelings have come back. At first it was weird but it’s nice to feel again. Thankfully I’ve got plenty of experience and techniques to help me deal with it all better so I’m feeling good.

    It’s hard to generalise as people react differently and need different levels of help. It’s clearly a subject that needs to be talked about because in society now days it’s just here have these pills and you’ll feel better. We are medicating little kids! Surely we need to help them mentally and physically first before messing with their heads with pills.

    One thing I also went through with therapy was how real it was. Did I really need it is is this all part of an industry to keep people coming back again and again and getting them on all types of drugs. But I think it is a very beneficial process even if it’s just to talk to a non judgmental person where you can safely let everything out, that alone is very helpful.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Medication won’t fix everything, it’s not a cure-all pill but, it can be one of the many useful tools you use to get your life back on track. As someone else said, it’s trial and error as well, it may take a while to find the medication you are comfortable taking.
    If you tell your prescriber you’re worried about weight gain, they’ll stay away from medications where that is a common side effect.
    when I was in severe crisis, I was put on a few medications that led me to gain a lot of weight very quickly, now I am more stable I have been able to come off some and switch others and have lost half the weight I gained anyway.
    I think you’ve just got to weigh up your own personal pros and cons.
    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Have you tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? It’s a non-med possibility to help you with your thought patterns.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I am in therapy now, it has helped me get to a certain point, which had been great. I just wonder if it will take me all the way, or at least to where I’d like to be. I think i am realistic… I know anxiety will always be a part of me, I would just like to be one step closer to this vision I have for myself.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I can totally relate to this post! I’ve had a long on and off journey with medications. I’ve been very resistant to it at times but then, clearly needed them when things got really bad. I’ve also been over medicated to the point of being a zombie and then, at other times, just barely medicated enough to take the edge off. I would say that for me medication is a key part of my wellness-my experience has proven this true for me. I finally accepted that, but it’s not a miracle cure by any means. It’s best to tackle mental health issues from many angles: Lifestyle, physical health, coping strategies, self care and at times, medication. I would say it’s a piece of the puzzle for many but not “the answer” necessarily.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I’ve been on meds since 2007. It sucks getting started with all the side effects I insured for 6 weeks, it was a nightmare and traumatic also long ago. I’m as stable as I can be

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve also been in a lot of basic therapy off and on. Mainly during my breakthrough depression and anxiety. I do want to try CBT therapy! Meditation, and prayer❤

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I definitely need my meds. I was a wreck before taking them, tears would constantly pour out of my eyes without thinking about anything. I’m afraid to go off them as they hold off the waterworks.

    Liked by 1 person

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