Before I started my Bipolar medications I was a healthy slim size but was unstable mentally, always swinging up and down between two extremes, often self-harming and suicidal, often in crisis and generally very unhappy most of the time.
Trial and error
It took me a long time and a lot of trial and error with my physiatrist to find the combination of medications that work for me; it’s certainly not just one magic pill that you can take. I didn’t realise how much was going to be involved when I first started my journey.
I tried a lot of different tablets, different combinations and different doses until I found the combination I am on now. At one point I thought that medication was never going to work for me, that the side effects would always outweigh the benefits. I find that it’s about weighing up the negatives and positives of the medications and finding a balance that keeps you stable, in which the benefits on your mental health outweigh the physical side effects.
Finding the minimum possible side effects
The medications I’m on now do cause lethargy and fatigue, but a lot less than any other combination I have tried; they don’t cause me headaches, shakes or sickness as a lot of the other medications did, and they don’t make me feel like a zombie. I still feel a wide array of emotions but not to such extremes, which did take a bit of getting used to.
The biggest side effect has been weight gain and a lot of it; my medications cause weight gain and cause me to be hungry the majority of the time, even if I have just eaten. I have put on a massive amount of weight since I started them. I want to state here that my size isn’t the medications fault alone, I also do comfort eat when I’m in a depressive episode and I have a chronic physical illness which causes problems exercising and being mobile, but the main catalyst for my weight gain was, without doubt, the medication.
The benefits outweigh the side effects
So yes I am fat, that’s undeniable, but I’m also very happy. As I mentioned it’s about the benefits outweighing the side effects and for me, these medications allow me to be stable the majority of the time; they make my depressions and hypomanias shorter, less severe and more manageable; they mean that I am happy in my life. Of course, there are daily struggles and it’s still tough, but compared to before I was on these medications, I am so happy and I feel able to be my true self; that for me is way more important than me being fat.
I embrace being fat and happy
Being overweight does worry me in regards to the physical effects it could have, I’m not oblivious to that, but I am doing my best to manage the effects of that with as much exercise as I can manage and eating as healthily as I can. Again it’s all about weighing up pros and cons; without the medications, I would have very little quality of life: I wouldn’t be happy or able to work, able to make plans, able to enjoy my life, my husband and my dogs. Without the medications, there’s a very good chance I wouldn’t be here at all.
So I embrace being fat and happy, I choose that over being slim and unhappy. I love myself the way that I am; I am just as gorgeous as I was before. I am beautiful inside and out. Size and weight do not equate worthiness or attractiveness; I care very little what other people think and am very confident within myself, and I am happy; fat and happy.