Have you ever stopped to think about how all of the molecules in your brain fit together to form what makes you, you? Your personality, your thought patterns, your emotions, they all originate from that soft tissue called the brain. Why do some people suffer from depression whereas others do not? Is depression a bad thing? We know that no two people are the same, and so the way they experience depression or any other disorder is unique to them. Thus, if a person takes medication to manage their symptoms, that medication regimen is tailored to their specific needs.
On Finally Feeling Better
I have been taking psychotropic medications since 2011. I have tried a wide variety of different cocktails. The last few years have remained pretty consistent in terms of what medications keep me stable. A lot of my stability has also to do with my psychotherapist. It is only in the last year that I have truly felt better. I feel like my old self again, from back in the days when I was 19. I’m still waiting for a year of my life to top living and studying abroad in Italy. Fifteen years later I think I’m almost there. My days as of late are full of energy I never knew I had. I go out five nights a week and I am truly living up my bachelorette lifestyle. Because of this positive shift, it has only been recently that I have given more close attention to my medications.
On Making Decisions
My therapist helped me to voice my goal in therapy last month: to no longer feel suicidal. My psychiatrist offered a suggestion of adding just a touch of lithium to my other three medications. The only thing is, I have this thing about making decisions. I used to never like making decisions and small events became big, stressful ordeals, like when I had to choose a credit card company to open an account after I left my abuser in 2012. I had always been an authorized user and had never been the primary on an account. Making that decision took over a month and I remember how distressed I was during that time. Now, my non-desire to make a decision revolves around much smaller things, such as when to schedule my next appointment with my therapist. He is patient with me and will give me two choices so that I don’t have too much to choose from.
You Are in Control
When it came to deciding to change my medication regimen, I wanted my psychiatrist to make the decision for me. After much discussion, I came to realize that this treatment is a joint process and that I have to participate in the decision-making, which I didn’t like. He even said, “I am willing to consider this option, although I don’t highly recommend it.” What do you mean you don’t highly recommend it? Does this mean you are only sort of recommending it? How am I supposed to make a decision based on this type of information? The truth is, however, that we are in control of our own individual treatment plans. We have to advocate for ourselves because it’s most powerful coming from the sufferer of the disorder themselves. Do we really want other people to make decisions for us, even if we believe that the other person has our best interests in mind?
You Have the Power
You, my friend, have the power to make your own decisions. It was a privilege that I didn’t get to enjoy for many years, and having that back feels powerful. Sometimes I actually need to give myself permission to make a big decision. Repeated experiences of decision-making that have positive outcomes can be empowering. Deciding to add a small dose of lithium even though my doctor didn’t highly recommend it, made me feel powerful and in control. I want to be in control of my own life and that includes my treatment plan. It’s my turn to make the decisions now.
The Real Hero is You
Now that I am feeling better, I wonder. How is this possible? How is it that I feel good when for so many years I suffered? Is it the medications or is me? The truth is, that this success is all of my own doing. I’ve done the hard work. I’m the one who continued to fight when all I wanted to do was to give up. The medications help and they are there in the background doing their job. As much as I am impressed by my relative stability as compared to the previous seven years, it is I who am the superhero of the day. I made this happen. I did this.
The Meds Do Help
But my meds are my partners-in-crime. I think of Latuda as the non-generic version of Wonder Woman, because it has been such a miracle drug in my life. I think of Lexapro as her sidekick, Catwoman, slyly working in the background at a low 20 mg. Wellbutrin is my Spiderman building a web of safety around the hole of depression, catching me so I don’t fall down. And lastly, lithium is my Superman because it’s supposed to help me from feeling less suicidal. That in itself is a monumental task.
Someone Always Has Your Back
I’m not a doctor. Honestly, I don’t know on a deeper level how all of these medications work. All I know is that they seem to work for me, and that’s all that matters. Yes, I am my own advocate, but my psychiatrist has got my back. He’s looking out for me at our visits every 2 – 4 weeks. I’m not alone. We are never alone. There’s always someone out there who is rooting for you, even if it feels like the whole world is against you. Maybe you haven’t met that person yet! But if you look for long enough and if you can have patience, you will find that special someone whether it’s a doctor, a therapist, a friend, a partner or a newly adopted non-related parent. Because we can all do with more people in our lives who love us.
It’s a Personal Choice
It’s true: medications aren’t for everyone and it’s a personal choice to go that route. Some people are not ready for that sort of a shift and commitment and they find other ways to self-medicate with pot, alcohol, or other drugs. But wouldn’t it be nice to be able to self-medicate with life itself? Self-care is essential. Getting enough sleep, eating right, moving your body, these are just the basics. Sometimes life is such that we can’t even handle getting our basic needs met. There are options, such as a stay at the hospital or a vacation at a spa. Which would you rather do? I am a proponent of taking psychotropic medications as prescribed. You and your doctor might not be able to find the perfect cocktail right away but mix it up and suffer through to the other side, and you will find yourself one day without that world of hurt.