Me, My Meds, And I: Confession Time
I want to tell you about my current medication. It’s changed. It’s changed rather suddenly, but for reasons that grew subtly. And I’m happy about the change in some ways, but disappointed in others. And I’ve learned some things that I’ve found rather surprising.
Before we discuss this change, I want to say that emotionally biased opinions of my medication are not welcome. If you are planning on telling me I should or shouldn’t do something, I would caution you to consider that I am not telling you how to approach your treatment. I’m not telling you to take medication or not. I’m giving my opinion on the efficacy of medication.
Sorry, I’ve brought my soap box …
So, the statements made by anti-med evangelists trying to convince us medication is wrong because they say so, have no standing in this debate. If you have an opinion, and you have facts to back your opinion, feel free to offer it. Rhetoric offered as fact, however, will be exposed.
Articles like the one claiming someone’s suicide was caused by meds are worse than useless. They’re not here, can’t be asked. Using their passing as an argument against a treatment is deplorable. Their life, with or without medication, is something we can’t know. We can’t tell if they might not have taken their life sooner without medication.
We’re told the parents were blatant in their stance against medication. What role might they have played in bolstering self worth if they had been supportive of the search for mental health? No one can now know.
I’m sorry, I get easily side tracked. You might guess I’m on less medication than before. Although, in fairness, I’m easily angered by people using language to manipulate emotion and opinion.
That’s why I state my opinions and emotions as such, to offer you the chance to make up your mind freely.
So what about meds?
My opinion is this: Stimulant medication has been used safely and effectively for decades, its advantages are well documented. If you benefit from them, the side effects are negligible, and you choose to use them, I support your right to that treatment.
And now, my situation
I recently sought help for anxiety. an issue I’ve had for years. Mostly, my anxiety is moderate, enough that I can keep it hidden, I’m good at that.
But recently I’ve become an advocate of open discourse on mental health, so I’m not hiding it anymore.
So when I approached my psychologist to discuss my anxiety, one of the first things she asked me was if I thought methylphenidate might be making my anxiety worse.
I hadn’t thought of that, I’d thought about the stress in my life lately, I thought I’d be working through that.
And now suddenly it was obvious. I’d need to take a holiday from Concerta in order to determine its role in my anxiety.
It ain’t the beach …
That holiday started a month ago. I miss my focus. But my anxiety is reduced. It’s like my anxiety was being visited by wealthy relatives. Now they’ve moved on. My natural anxiety is an old familiar acquaintance. Not a friend, but someone I can deal with easier.
One thing I’ve noticed is that I’d become dependent on my meds for focus. When I first stopped them, my focus was much worse than it had been before I started. Those who take regular holidays from their stimulants may be benefiting more from that holiday than I thought.
” […] in the card game of life, while everyone else holds aces and kings, we’ve been dealt a hand of small woodland creatures.”
So what do I recommend?
Am I recommending that you avoid medication? Hell no, not without giving it a chance! I am recommending you be attentive to its effects. You see, in the card game of life, while everyone else has aces and kings, we’ve been dealt a hand of small woodland creatures. Medication might be the ace up our sleeve.
The creatures are lots of fun. They give us approaches to life that others can’t have or understand, but we have to clean up after them. And they’re liable to bite.
Babcock, K. (2013). Me, My Meds, And I: Confession Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 27, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-man/2013/02/me-my-meds-and-i-confession-time/