For many people who struggle with mental illness, medication provides relief and stability. There are a lot of different ways to manage various mental illnesses, including therapy, downloadable apps, exercise, diet changes, and meditation, and the appropriate course of action must be determined after conversations with your doctor. After my anxiety and depression started intensifying, I realized that my usual go-to methods of stress relief, such as working out, were no longer cutting it. I knew that I needed to find a different form of help, so my psychiatrist prescribed me an anti-depressant.
I was not at all prepared to get my ass kicked by this medication. I did not know that even the lowest dosage would cause one of the worst migraines of my life that restricting me to my bed all day. I was nauseous, disoriented, and miserable. I spent most of the day sleeping, and when I was awake, I fought a constant churning in my stomach.
I felt worse on the meds than I did without them.
I immediately contacted my doctor the following day, when the side effects wore off enough for me to make a coherent phone call. For the next two months, my psychiatrist had me try new medications, with almost all of them having negative and debilitating side effects. One mood stabilizer put me to sleep for almost 10 hours; my mom checked on me constantly, worried about my near-coma state.
I was frustrated and feeling helpless. The doctor explained that, for whatever reason, I am just very sensitive to psych meds. Some people experience the severe side effects I encountered, but most people only deal with milder symptoms. Since he was already prescribing me the lowest possible dosages, I couldn’t even downgrade to a lower level in hopes that I would be able to tolerate the medicine. He told me that many of the symptoms would wear off after taking the medication for an extended period of time. But since the pills made me feel so horrible, I couldn’t even make it past one day of taking them.
I knew that I needed medication to address my mental illness, but my body was rejecting it. I needed anti-depressants to feel better, but I felt 100 times worse when I was laying in bed in the middle of the day, fighting back vomit and attempting to sleep off migraines. As much as my mental illness had started to cripple me, it seemed that the remedy I needed the most was only contributing to my problems.
I did eventually find a combination of medications that caused few side effects, and I was able to keep taking them long enough for most of the symptoms, like headaches and sleepiness, to wear off. I still struggle with occasional insomnia and a decreased appetite, but at this moment, I would rather deal with those issues than suffer from near-blackouts. And when I found the medication that I could tolerate, my mental health improved greatly. It’s still something I struggle with, but now at least I have a clearer path to recovery.
I know that my decision to ask for meds was the right one. While it was initially difficult to find the right prescription that worked for me, I’m glad that I sought help when I did. Trying different medications showed me that there is no one-size-fits-all method of treatment when it comes to mental illness. You just have to remember to keep trying and you’ll figure it out.