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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Psychosis

I’m going to start off by saying I’m using this title word very broadly here. This topic generally includes several smaller concepts that work together into one little word that many people are terrified to use. Why can’t we be honest about what is ailing us? How can a doctor, a medical professional, sit across from you and tell you that they do not “believe in” your illness? Why do we not have free healthcare across the board like so many countries that we claim to be lesser than us in stature and economy? These are our decisions, but the reason nothing changes is that we don’t talk about it. That’s how we end up with something so atrocious as the Fetal Heart Bill in Iowa. I will re-iterate it again and again; we have to talk about these chronic ailments, the lack of appropriate healthcare available, and how our government is making money off of all of us for these precise reasons.

Above the depression and anxiety I have been labeled with for years, I struggle severely with paranoia. It took a long time for anyone to help me identify that there was a word for what I was feeling. How, when I get into my car I have to check the backseat, my exposed trunk, and look all around me before jumping in and locking the doors immediately. Every. Single. Time. I have a locked garage. I do it every time. I do not have any explanation for this. At no point have I had a traumatic experience in or around a vehicle. My therapist believes there may be some suppressed memories. I did read an article a couple of years ago about women getting grabbed from their cars while they are getting in and to be wary, but I’ve been in this practice for as long as I’ve been driving. I’ve also experienced extremely rapid heartbeat, instant sweating while entering the vehicle, as well as loss of breath as if the act caused me to be tiresome. It was years before realizing this was not normal.

It doesn’t feel good to be different from this concept of “normal” when in school. That was only one symptom of the paranoia. There were plenty of others that caused numerous issues in my daily life. Like, serious issues; with my personal relationships, the care I took of myself, and for a spell I didn’t think I “deserved” to eat. I’ve been told consistently that it is all in my head, I just don’t try hard enough, and so many more. I beg you to get help. If any of this sounds familiar just talk to your doctor. If they respond in any other way than immediate concern, get a new doctor. And that’s no shit. You have the choice to pick another physician. Get a referral to someone more specialized or educated in this area. Please.

The paranoia generally goes hand in hand with depression. I’ve already written about this here so just to touch base, the paranoia and resulting negative emotions/feelings most often cause different kinds of depression. I say different kinds because there absolutely are, and labeling someone with major depressive order could mean different things. And my doctors have told me this. Some people withdraw. Some people self harm, yet keep a perfect public face. Some take up a hobby that they are able to completely absorb themselves in and obsess over. I’ve seen it all. Remember, all of this shit runs in the family; mother dearest being most bonkers of them all.

Anxiety and paranoia are different. This is an important distinction. Though, these do often go hand in hand with each other, but can still present differently in different people. This is why mental health treatment is so difficult because each human is unique, and the world is changing. We are exposed to chemicals every day, now, that did not exist even 100 years ago. And let’s not start on big pharma. Paranoia is most often coined as hearing voices that are not from other humans within your general vicinity. Some people hear voices outside of their head that are not other people. I hear my own. My own voice, distinctly separate from “myself” within my head, is telling me every single second of every single day the worst case scenario. When I’m driving my brain tells me every single way I could potentially get into an accident every trip I make. It is impossible for me to go up the stairs with someone behind me. There is too much risk that they may just be a friend playing a trick, or I’m just too vulnerable if there were a threat. I can’t do it. My significant other suffers from this paranoia the most for reasons I feel can be imagined. It fucking sucks yo.

Remedies! First and foremost, I encourage anyone that believes they are suffering from any type of mental illness or ailment to speak to your doctor or someone more qualified if at all possible. There are other things that can help besides the chemicals, however. Essential oils, for one, are near and dear to my heart for the many different healing properties they have. I have three bottles that literally are for three different types of anxiety I experience. They are superb. The other best legal treatment I have found is CBD. There are numerous forms and there happens to be quick access through yours truly; many ways to get in touch available. This is the aid I have found to be the fastest and most certain relief from anxieties and paranoia.

I will shit on big pharma and the use of chemical pharmaceutical treatments all day long, but I will also acknowledge that there are some ailments that are simply best treated with their use. Even over the side effects. Though, there are other options that may be more appropriate and therefore less harmful for some people. Any of you reading are near and dear to my heart, and if I reach even one person that needed this wake up call then my goal is complete.