Daily Archives: August 27, 2016

Reblog – Meet and Greet: 8/27/16

Originally posted on DREAM BIG DREAM OFTEN:
It’s the Meet and Greet weekend!! Ok so here are the rules: Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it…

Starting over once again

Hi. My name is Rhonda and I’m an alcoholic. I’m also diagnosed with bipolar I w psychotic features. I’ve played medication roulette for years. Had several hospitalizations in the last 3.5 yrs when I had to face my demons and truly get help. I relapsed last night. In a big ugly way. I so desperately wanted an escape from the madness of my mind. I could no longer handle the anxiety and suicidal chatter that was plaguing me. I have a full time job that is testing my ability to stay sane. A few days ago I was in tears at 8am as I sat at my desk and surveyed the scene. By 4pm I felt invincible and of master importance. Being thrown around the roller coaster is exhausting. Holding all the stress, anxiety, overwhelm, uncertainty and fear behind my mask becomes too much. The burden that is me becomes too heavy.
Instead of picking up the phone, going for a walk, or jumping on the treadmill I drove straight to the liquor store. As he put the bottle in the black plastic bag I knew I was digging my grave. Thoughts of washing all my medications down with this forbidden poison flooded me. Ashamed of making such a purchase, knowingly and willingl giving up sobriety, I barely looked at the man behind the counter. I wonder what he thought of me.
The voices in my head were rumbling. My head was pounding. I took my first sip and almost gagged. But, the rest went down a little too smoothly. I am not a dainty drinker. Much like everything there is an underlying frenzy to how I move in the world. Swiftly I filled my body with what I was certain was medicine. It was going to help me calm down, relax, want to be in my shoes. The talk of a true alcoholic. The misguided thought process of a desperate soul seeking peace. Respite. Escape from the doldrums of mental illness.
The reality is I do not handle alcohol well. It’s like a chemical reaction. An explosion of pain, hate, and anger erupts. I point fingers. I yell, scream and stomp around. You would probably never believe what kind of monster I become. The words I spew are evil. I don’t find peace. I don’t find respite. I create a storm swirling around me so powerful things go flying in the air. My poor husband an innocent bystander and receiver of the evil words. It’s not pretty. Soon enough I am on the floor sobbing. Begging for forgiveness. Trying to explain I need an escape.
When will I ever learn? Alcohol is my enemy. It can never be my friend. It can never “help” a situation. I know others who have 20+ years of sobriety and some of the same issues I do. They manage to stay sober. I know it’s possible. People do it everyday. I’ve done it and I’ll do it again.
So here I sit. Starting over once again.


Fighting Stigma – “I’m Mad as Hell…

… and I’m not going to take it anymore!” That iconic line, spoken by the late great Peter Finch in the movie “Network” has often been quoted, referring to any number of crappy situations. The full monolog by Finch’s character, Howard … Continue reading

5 Reasons why I don’t like psychiatric medications – but I still take them

Overview

I am guessing you may have heard the reasons why people don’t like to take medications for psychiatric conditions.  It all sounds so easy, “It’s just like taking a blood pressure pill.”  “It’s no different than taking insulin for diabetes.”  Well, the truth is it is very different and there are several reasons why.  Here is the top 5 on my list.

#1 – They make you gain weight

There are few classes of psychiatric medications that do not cause weight gain.  With the exception of some medications for anxiety, almost all the medications for depression, bipolar and schizophrenia cause weight gain.  I managed to gain a slim 80 pounds!  It seemed like every time I was put on a new medication I gained 20 pounds.  I don’t know anyone who likes to gain weight.  But the reality is medications made me feel better and if I have to work at losing weight that’s just the trade off.  It is a valid concern for those of us with a mental illness.

#2 – Some make you feel like a “zombie” from the Walking Dead

Take a blood pressure pill and you rarely have a side effect.  On the other hand, take some high powered psychotropic drugs and you might feel like a zombie.  Usually this side effect goes away in time, but if it does not I encourage people to talk with their doctor to help adjust the medication or the dosage.  No one wants to feel worse and sometimes that is what happens.  Older medications are notorious for causing lethargy, work with your doctor there are many choices that might not make you feel as bad.  Above anything – don’t stop taking your medication without talking with your doctor first.  There can be some serious effects from stopping abruptly.

#3 – The Stigma of Mental Illness

It is the shame and misunderstanding that comes from stigma.  No one wants to feel as if they are not “sane.”  It is about credibility.  Not being different from other people.  We all want a sense of belonging, but not to a group that is discriminated against.  This no longer effects me much but in the past this really bothered me.

#4 – The medical community does not know the long-term effects

Less funding for research means less understanding for the long-term effects of medications.  Especially for a class of drugs called anti-psychotics.  They are used for many off-label conditions and the long-term effects are truly unknown.  What we do know is that people who have schizophrenia live on average 25 years less than other people.  We don’t know if that is related to medications or a number of other factors.  It’s hard to want to continue taking a medication without knowing what it will do to your body.

#5 – Branded products are expensive

The latest greatest products are extremely expensive.  Some drugs can cost $1600 a month making it impossible for people without great insurance to afford the medications that may have less side effects.  Generic drugs don’t cost much at all and some have been shown to be as effective as the newer products.  If you take 3 or 4 prescriptions a month it gets a little pricey.

So these are my top 5 reasons why I don’t like psychiatric medications.  But here is the disclaimer – I still take them because I know without them I can’t live a good life.  They help my symptoms and make it possible for me to live a “normal” life.  Without the medications I don’t know what would happen to me and I am unwilling to take the risk to find out.  But there are a group of people who don’t believe in them, I am not one of them.  Suffering is not worth going without a medication that is going to make you feel better in the long term.  There are trade offs with everything in life.