Unnecessary Medications

I have come to the realization that I have been taking the wrong medication for far too long, and I wonder how many people are in the same boat. How long have we been taking medications with more side effects than there are benefits? How do we realize this? How do we bring it to our doctor’s attention? Isn’t that truly their job to conclude? How long do we put up with this nonsense and continue to pump unnecessary chemicals into our bodies? Do we finally just adjust the meds down/out ourselves? How safe is this decision? How many of you are having to pay out of pocket for these medications causing unruly side effects with no real improvement in the quality of life? I can only share my story, but I know there are literally millions of people dealing with the same qualms.

I have been on a medication called quetiapine (along with many others) for probably around eight months now. And for those eight months getting out of bed in the morning has been physically impossible. Some doctors have referred to this as the “hangover” effect, and I have been told to just wait it out and “hopefully” it will just go away. It has been eight months and I still cry nearly every morning with overwhelming emotions and a body that feels like lead when it’s time for me to rise for the day. Though, there have been three specific times where this did not occur. When prescribed the medication I was told not to take it if I was not going to be able to get a full eight hours of sleep. Three times I have gone to bed super late, knowing I wasn’t going to get a full eight hours, and I did not take my nighttime medications. Even on only two hours of sleep, I felt better waking up those mornings than I had in many months. Why could this be?

Perhaps these medications are simply not right for me specifically, and I simply need to find another course. I recently started seeing a different psychiatrist, though instead of changing any of my current medications he simply added another one – a tranquilizer. He told me this would help with those overwhelming emotions, racing thoughts, and anxiety. Neither my partner nor myself have noticed any difference in those facets of my life. This doctor truly believes this medication will help me. I disagree. At what point do I take the situation into my own hands and just stop taking the medication(s)? If I feel a million times better (and less depressed and hopeless) in the morning without the medication, how can there truly be a benefit?

I have to acknowledge the danger of just stopping a medication – particularly some of the antipsychotics – without a doctor’s review. There can be more major side effects from this; another downside to these medications. Psychosis and depression can worsen to an extreme degree for the first several weeks off of a medication that was providing a steady level of chemical to the brain particularly for an extended period of time. When taking those medications it is, generally, supplying the brain with chemicals that the brain is supposedly not producing sufficient amounts of naturally – so the brain will stop self-producing these chemicals entirely because the pills are keeping the steady levels. So, when one removes those chemicals the brain goes into a varying level of shock – which can produce a multitude of different side effects on the brain and body.

Thankfully, I have insurance that pays for the doctors to keep throwing these different pills at me. Though, I’m aware of plenty of people that are actually throwing their hard earned money into these “treatments” – just to end up with horrible side effects and little-to-no benefit. People that are reaching out for assistance because this world and society have simply become too much to bear on our own. This is NOT a weakness. It takes a massive level of strength to ask for help. I would know – because I never do. I am one of those people that is entirely too stubborn and would rather fail on my own than ask for help to succeed. It’s a problem. Though, a long time ago I started down this path of medicinal mental health treatment because if I didn’t I was going to end my life. And that’s a kind of failure that was not fair to the individuals around me to embrace.

That is the primary reason I still support the current mental health system even with all of its flaws and broken aspects. Because there are people out there that do benefit from medicinal treatment. Less than we would desire or expect, but they are still out there. People that would be ending their lives otherwise and diminishing any potential they may have had. Yet, there are some people that have been in treatment for most of their lives and still can’t manage to survive. Robin Williams is the primary example. He struggled with anxiety and depression his entire life. He was also in treatment for it for most of his life. Though at a certain point, he simply couldn’t handle it anymore. He wasn’t seeing enough benefit from the treatment his surplus of money could easily afford to WANT to survive. There are all too many of us living a similar reality. At what point do we take a stand? HOW  do we even take a stand?

I am lucky enough to love and live with someone that accepts all of my flaws and helps me monitor myself. He reigns me in when my emotions become uncontrollable or unbearable, and he steadies me when I feel like I’m in a tailspin. I would do anything to wish upon all of you still reading this a person like I have. I would not still be breathing or typing this today if I had not met him. And it truly sucks to be dependent on another human in this way, but just the other day he was telling me how much better I am at handling myself and my emotions from a year ago. Not since the medications, because they came later, but because he has helped me to improve myself and make myself better.

Part of our treatment has to be what exists within our surroundings and the people we allow to be present in our lives. There are too many people suffering from depression and anxiety that is made entirely worse due to the toxic people they keep around them. A toxic job will also play a huge part in this. Leave that job, and leave that relationship. Even if the toxicity is caused by a parent or relative. Just because you may share some of the same genetic markers as another human does not mean they have to remain within your life and environment. It’s clearly easier said than done, but it is so very essential for our treatment. Perhaps it is only for a short while that you have to remove them from your environment in order for you to do some self-healing, but it is so very essential to be able to acknowledge these toxic markers that are preventing one from improving themselves.

I’ve clearly varied slightly from the topic of medications, but every word I’ve relayed is essential. It has taken over two decades of suffering to put the pieces together. And in reality, I’m still working on my self-healing. My brain suffered such severe PTSD that it actually developed narcolepsy. As if my brain just said, “I can’t handle this anymore, I’m just going to shut down and sleep at random times”. This is something that is going to take an extensive amount of time to heal. And I hope using the word “heal” is understood not in the way of repair, but rather the capability to move beyond the damage to still have a relatively happy and fulfilling life despite the things we are lacking. This is something we all deserve, and should never stop fighting for until we find it.

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Medications & Side Effects

I can’t possibly fathom why so many medications have side effects of suicidal thoughts, weight gain, anal leakage….why can’t they be more along the lines of perfectly white teeth as a side effect or spontaneous orgasms? I just feel like I shouldn’t have to feel like death when prescribed a new medication, and I don’t understand why that is so much to ask.

In the last week I have been prescribed two new medications. To start with the first, the doctor warned me that I would feel hung over the next morning as I was supposed to take it before going to bed. Well after the most recent narcolepsy drug change that had me sprinting for the bathroom with my pants already down and not being able to exist in any fashion besides horizontal (as soon as I stood up I would be instantly nauseous but there was nothing in my stomach to vomit), I thought I was prepared for this new medication because it couldn’t possibly be worse than that right? Well…while i’m not in as much physical distress, getting out of bed in the morning is physically impossible. Yesterday, after sleeping 12 hours (way more than I had since I was a kid), I finally rolled myself off the bed to land (not so pleasantly) on the floor at one o’clock and said “alright, we’re doing this”.

The newest narcolepsy medication they put me on was just started this morning. My entire treatment has revolved around the prescriptions of various kinds of meth from the very beginning, but they have had names that disguise it a little bit such as dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate. But today I pick up a medication called Evekeo which had no generic name which was odd. Until I started searching on the paperwork with the pharmacist to discover the generic name is just amphetamine. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore. They are giving me prescription grade meth to treat this narcolepsy and I’m really just not okay with that, but what else do I do?

I found a recipe/mixture of essential oils the other day that are to help with wakefulness and such, but I don’t have all of the oils that are most helpful. And being unemployed means I can’t just run and get the things that I need. Such as conditioner; I have been living without conditioner for more than two weeks now. My hair is completely dead and straw-like.

But I simply can’t understand why these side effects have to be so awful. It’s almost comical at times because if you prescribe an antidepressant to a young girl (for example) that has side effects of weight gain and suicidal thoughts, how in the world is that drug supposed to actually help her? If she’s already depressed you think weight gain is going to help or improve the self-confidence that is probably lacking? Depression medications are a joke and need to be completely re-evaluated.

Narcolepsy on the other hand, I barely understand. I keep reading reviews of each of these drugs, and people saying each of them has helped immensely. Yet, I’m still nodding off while driving and falling out of my chair doing homework; because I forced myself to sit at the kitchen table to do my homework thinking that would keep me awake. Literally nothing I do stops me from sleeping when I least desire to. So, I finally succumbed to the conventional chemical methods, but those don’t work either. If anything I’ve gotten worse.

I just know that the big pharmaceutical companies don’t give a damn about any human as an individual. Their only concern is how to make the most money, and in this country without free healthcare it makes sense because primarily it is the insurance companies or government being charged for these medications. But that still leaves out the other part of the population, nearly half, without healthcare or access to the drugs that could potentially save their lives (such as insulin for diabetics). I’ve seen so many articles where a pill that costs over $200 here costs only $4 in another country, and the pharmeceutical companies are only doing this BECAUSE THEY CAN. Because there are no regulations or stipulations to stop them.

Pay attention to your politicians folks because many of them are backed by big pharma too. Research the medications your doctors prescribe you and see if the manufacturer is a benefactor of that clinic or hospital. A lot of this stuff is public record, people just don’t know to look. We can’t always fight the use of prescription and chemical medications to treat our ailments, but we can fight the big pharma to try and get the care we deserve.

Provigil (Modafinil)

If anyone else has taken this medication, and has more/different perspective, please share your experience. Because mine has been absolutely horrid. I was prescribed this medication only a few days ago for Narcolepsy, and have felt like complete crap since I first put it in my body.

I was supposed to be up working on the eight-page paper I have due today and studying for the three-hour online final I have to accomplish today, but I can’t get out of bed! I feel like I drank a whole bottle of vodka last night and hit my head when I fell off the bar from dancing the night away. I assure you I was in bed before 10, but I still feel absolutely horrible. And almost all of these drugs produce awful side effects.

I have been on 18 different medications in the last six weeks. And the worst part is all of my conditions these meds are supposed to be treating are only getting worse. I just got the official narcolepsy diagnosis about two months ago. Since then my condition has worsened to me falling out of chairs when I nod off, falling forward off my couch with my computer and textbook still in my lap, to nodding off during the Infinity Wars premier! Like, who does that?? I wasn’t even tired walking in, I just can’t control it.

I tried all of the holistic treatments and such that I could afford. I finally decided to go to a trained medical professional to handle these issues and they only get worse?! Of course this all happens at the end of the term when I have two papers (10 & 8 pages long) and two three-hour finals to take! Seriously loathing life right now.

Narcolepsy

Nearly four months ago I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. I had issues with my sleep my entire life. As a kid it would take hours to get to sleep; to the point where there were several times, I watched the sun rise out of my window because I simply couldn’t sleep. Before going to the sleep doctors I tried every single natural remedy I could think of; different herbal teas and supplements as well as melatonin and other such aids to no avail. I still could not sleep through the night, but my biggest qualm was that I would wake up every single day feeling more tired than when I laid down to go to sleep.

The problem is, I feel like the medications are making it worse. They have had me on methylphenidate, Adderall, temazepam, and one other stimulant so far in which I have not noticed any significant difference. Oh, except for the fact that now I am literally falling asleep anywhere and everywhere with no notice, when before it was only a problem that if I laid down my head anywhere I could fall asleep in minutes. And I’ll admit there were a few times I fell asleep at my desk in the very early mornings, but no matter how tired I had been in the past I never fell asleep during a movie. I feel much shame in admitting this; I fell asleep during Infinity Wars like six different times. I missed the ending and will have to go back this weekend to make up for this epic failure.

I just don’t understand how I wasn’t randomly falling asleep before the drugs, but all of a sudden now I am. They also have some pretty severe interactions with common medications; like I can’t even take Acetaminophen for a headache. And they are a hassle having to be taken at specific times a specific amount of times per day. I go in tomorrow to see if there are even any other medications they can put me on because I’ve already gone through all of the normal treatments.

When the doctor first told me about this diagnosis he told me that my brain showed signs of severe brain damage, and he asked if I had ever had any accidents in which I hit my head or had any type of damage. I told him I had never had so much as a concussion in my entire life. He then tells me the only other time he’s seen this is in PTSD victims that have returned from war and proceeds to ask me if I had experienced any trauma in my life to this point to where I literally laughed in his face. Where would you like me to start? But NEVER did I think any of it would result in actual brain damage.

Almost all of the research from general sources state the exact same useless things. I plan to dig deeper into this when I potentially have time, but the sources I plan to inspect are difficult to find and take time that I do not have. If anyone else has information or related experiences feel free to share; I would appreciate the input 🙂