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Give Us This Day Our Daily Meds

May 15, 2014

pills

This is the miracle drug “cocktail” that keeps me alive and well and (reasonably) sane. The top nine are my daytime meds, AKA the Breakfast of Champions; the bottom eight are my nightly Handful of Sanity. “Better living through chemistry” isn’t just a saying…..it’s a fact, because some of these tiny objects keep my blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels down, and the rest make my bipolar illness manageable.

There are some who would turn up their noses at the idea that these meds are of any benefit. I’ve read a fair amount of material from the anti-psychiatry crowd that claim medications are actually harming the mentally ill and that psychiatrists are little more than legal drug pushers. But while I’m sure these groups’ intentions are good, I worry about the more gullible among us who might reject treatment based on nothing more than a few peoples’ opinion that psychiatric medications are evil.

I realize that not everyone needs medication to control their mental health issues. I envy them. I don’t particularly like being reminded twice daily, every day of my life, that I have an incurable disease that could be lethal if I don’t stay on top of it. But the same is true of my diabetes and my high blood pressure, and I learned long ago to live with the chronicity of those conditions. Why would bipolar be any different?

It’s taken over two years, but I’m FINALLY coming to terms with all of this. I started this blog almost a year ago, and I can see the progress I’ve made over that time in my posts. The turning point came last fall when I got to thinking that maybe my diagnosis was wrong, and then proceeded to have one of my worst manic episodes ever, which was swiftly followed by a crash into depression. That was when the denial went away and I got serious about dealing with my “nonconformity”.

I can’t say that it doesn’t alarm me that the number and dosage of medications I need to manage my MI seems to keep increasing. I’ve gone from two meds to five, and a couple of them are pretty hardcore. But judging by the way I’ve been feeling the past couple of months, it’s exactly what the doctor ordered, because I’ve never felt quite this mellow in my entire life. I mean, I’m not even panicking over the fact that the brakes on my car are going out, the employment division is once again taking its time determining my eligibility for benefits, and I only have a couple hundred dollars to my name.

Now THAT is steady. And by gosh, if it takes this batch of meds to stay that way, then I’m going to stick with the program. End of story. 🙂

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2014 7:06 pm

    It’s good to hear a voice that isn’t negative towards medication. Not that we like to take all of them, but at least we accept the fact that they are necessary. I currently take 4 psychiatric medication plus 5 others for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes. It’s almost like eating 2 extra meals a day.

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    • May 15, 2014 8:16 pm

      I know, right? I actually do have to eat a 4th meal with the Geodon…thankfully a glass of milk or a spoonful of peanut butter does the job. 🙂

      Like

  2. egs permalink
    May 16, 2014 5:09 am

    Pills aren’t some magic cure all, but are necessary in a lot of cases along with therapy. They don’t make any illness, mental or physical, “go away. ” Not everybody’s brain chemistry is the same. In my case, no pill in the world is going to magically undo 35+ years of learned behavior, but they allow me to get started.

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  3. May 16, 2014 7:55 am

    I’m pretty staunchly pro-med, though it took a long time to get to that point. I’m pretty sure my bipolar triggered when I was 15 or so, but I couldn’t get a diagnosis one way or the other until 30. I made it all those years with jobs and relationships and some semblance of life, so certainly, I was doing something not horribly wrong. Meds though… as the husband put it, his life is easier. My life is easier. Sure, it’s not a cure-all, but it makes my quality of life somewhat quality by comparison to before!

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  4. June 11, 2014 7:57 pm

    Thank you for this post!
    I have been strongly reluctant towards the “pills” for almost ten years, suffering all that time, and as I see it know, being stupid as hell!

    Now I also have my “breakfast”, “brunch” and “dinner” cocktail that keeps me floating over the surface and not drowning anymore.

    If I had known that I could be so much better, feel better, I would have taken those damn pills long time ago.

    Sending you a bunch of positive vibes! 🙂

    Like

    • June 11, 2014 10:11 pm

      Thank you for your comments! Sometimes we just have to get smacked upside the head by life a few times before we finally “get it”. I was the same way about meds for YEARS, especially when I only had a diagnosis of depression…..when I wasn’t depressed any more, I’d stop taking the pills.

      Now I know I have something more complicated, and for me, meds are not optional—if I don’t take them I am a hot mess.

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      • June 11, 2014 10:51 pm

        Same here.
        But I have come to my senses, and now I take those pills without questioning. One awakening in the Psych ICU after suicide attempt made me realise that the help is needed.
        I have learn it the hard way, and it shouldn’t have been like that.
        But, important thing is, we both know now, that those pills are making us stable, at least.
        Not cured, but somehow “sealed”.
        also, if I don’t take them..ouch. You do not want to be near me, believe me. 😀
        I wish you a happy journey through recovery.
        And congrats for taking the step towards the better days!

        Like

  5. June 11, 2014 11:39 pm

    Thanks again. These are MUCH better days than when I was first diagnosed….I look back now and can hardly believe the changes. I still cycle fairly often, but the cycles are shorter and less intense than they used to be thanks to meds and *sleep*! That’s the other major player in my recovery, well, therapy too (I have the world’s most awesome pdoc). I also have a great support system. Life is good. 🙂

    Like

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