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How do you accept the effects of meds?


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The eternal battle: feeling and being organically myself vs. flat stability and safety on meds. Sometimes I think it's such a blessing to feel so intensely, but other times it's quite obviously a curse. I want to feel better but I also want to be me. I want to be functional and content but I don't want to lose the flying...or even the pain. I hate having to differentiate between which thoughts/emotions/behaviors are me, which are the disorder, and which are the meds.

 

Those of you on meds that work to level you out: was it hard to accept? How did you? I can't bring myself to...

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It wasn't hard to accept, I mean I did mourn the loss of a normal life like other people have... but by the time I was diagnosed (35 yrs. old) I was so relieved to have an answer to why I am this way that I will take whatever the doc gives me. Yeah, they have side effects, I have weight gain, dry mouth, dizzy spells every now and then. But it beats being batshit delusional depressed pissed off manic.

 

On the right meds I don't miss my usual crazy self, I'm still me, just without the daily struggle of the balancing act.

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While I do miss the feeling of hypomania at times, I do not miss the destruction it leaves in it's wake, and I do not miss the soul crushing depressions.  What I do not miss is more important to me than what I do miss.  Therefore I am happy to accept the main effects and the side effects of my meds.  

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It's hard not to think about meds because most people have to take them a few times throughout the day. Sometimes my medications make me unable to come up with the words I wish to say/write at the time; i'll be writing notes in class and stop in my tracks to give my mind time to think of what I was going to write. This is my biggest complaint as of now... BUT, medications have made me more consistent, which I believe is more important than being slightly more alert. Unlike some people, I consider my manic depression a part of me; however, it's my fuel to try and overcome my illness. It's better to accept it and not ask questions. (Of course this is still my opinion). I've gone on and off meds numerous times and the number one reason I stay on them is because it's easier on my family. 

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This is something I really continue to struggle with. I've ditched my meds and treatment several times, and it always leads to problems, yet I do it anyway. I have a very hard time accepting having to take them, even though I've been on medication of some sort since 1997. I have a very non-existent sense of self, I feel I have no identity, so the questions you raised resonate with me very much (what is me? what is my disorder? what is the meds?). Sometimes I get mad at my meds, sometimes I feel the need to point out to those around me how many I'm on in a sarcastic fashion. In order to stay compliant with my meds I have to remind myself what happens when I'm not, that eventually I go into crisis. It's hard to remember just how bad things were when I'm feeling "better".

 

I hope this will not be how I feel forever, I want to be able to be at peace with my meds and with myself, but often times I'd just rather "embrace the crazy" because it's really the only sense of self I have. I am not real, I'm not a person. This most likely is a result of my Borderline Personality Disorder instead of my Bipolar. In the process of typing my response, I've only just realized how my my BPD is affecting having effecting treatment for my Bipolar. Well, poo to that.

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I have had times where I have felt well enough to consider the whole me vs the meds thing. But honestly, I was in such hell, I'd have willingly crawled over broken glass to try Lithium. I begged for it during an IP stay and stayed for three weeks just so a doctor would have enough observation time to feel comfortable trying it. And while I don't take it perfectly every night, I know that however amazing I think I am when I miss my doses, I am, in fact, a total asshole when ill. 

 

I'm not trivializing what you're saying with my personal experience, but I hope you can take the meds and enjoy being stable. Untreated bipolar running on for a long time makes treating future episodes harder, and increases your chance that the episodes will be more severe. You wouldn't dick around with the health of your heart, lungs or liver, so do your brain a kindness and give it some consistency. Bipolar clouds your insight, however attractive your unmedicated self might seem to you, you simply cannot appreciate what bipolar illness does to your life and those around you. 

 

Existential questions about the vividness of your life experiences sorta depend on you being alive. 20% of people with bipolar commit suicide, many of those either don't take their meds properly or aren't medicated.

Edited by Titania
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I don't really think about needing meds in a negative light. There have been individual meds that I have really hated, but the idea of taking meds doesn't bother me in and of itself.

 

When I am not feeling well, I am eager for a med tweak or a new medication. I don't really feel that being stable makes me a less than authentic person. When I am well I am just as authentic as when I am sick.

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This is something I really continue to struggle with. I've ditched my meds and treatment several times, and it always leads to problems, yet I do it anyway. I have a very hard time accepting having to take them, even though I've been on medication of some sort since 1997. I have a very non-existent sense of self, I feel I have no identity, so the questions you raised resonate with me very much (what is me? what is my disorder? what is the meds?). Sometimes I get mad at my meds, sometimes I feel the need to point out to those around me how many I'm on in a sarcastic fashion. In order to stay compliant with my meds I have to remind myself what happens when I'm not, that eventually I go into crisis. It's hard to remember just how bad things were when I'm feeling "better".

 

I hope this will not be how I feel forever, I want to be able to be at peace with my meds and with myself, but often times I'd just rather "embrace the crazy" because it's really the only sense of self I have. I am not real, I'm not a person. This most likely is a result of my Borderline Personality Disorder instead of my Bipolar. In the process of typing my response, I've only just realized how my my BPD is affecting having effecting treatment for my Bipolar. Well, poo to that.

 

Everything you said...agreed. Poo to that, indeed! It is extremely common for people with bipolar disorder to be noncompliant on their meds, too (which you probably knew), so chances are that it isn't ALL your BPD. I can absolutely relate with your unidentifiable sense of self. I hope we can both find peace and acceptance in taking meds.

 

I don't really feel that being stable makes me a less than authentic person. When I am well I am just as authentic as when I am sick.

 

I like the way you worded that. I want to believe that too. 

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They do inhibit me in a lot of ways, but I know I can't survive without them, so I've stopped even thinking about it as an optional action. It's kind of just another given in my life, oxygen, food, shelter, meds. 

 

I also accept them, as I just wrote above, because going off them would be huge disrespect to people who love me, and who are good to me, and who sacrifice so much to take care of me. They deserve my compliance to treatment. I know if the tables were turned, I'd be pretty hurt and angry if a person I love and care for just ditched their treatment.

Edited by saintalto
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The eternal battle: feeling and being organically myself vs. flat stability and safety on meds. Sometimes I think it's such a blessing to feel so intensely, but other times it's quite obviously a curse. I want to feel better but I also want to be me. I want to be functional and content but I don't want to lose the flying...or even the pain. I hate having to differentiate between which thoughts/emotions/behaviors are me, which are the disorder, and which are the meds.

 

Those of you on meds that work to level you out: was it hard to accept? How did you? I can't bring myself to...

 

My POV only.  As a diabetic for 10 yrs or so now, I went thru a lot of not wanting to take my meds because of side effects and dangers of the meds.  Then, at some point, a switch went off in my head and I was like "okay, they suck, they'll shorten my life, but my life is better with them" and I didn't try to stop taking them any more.  Even with some of the horrific side effects (deafness -- depakote), I never felt more than the slight urge to stop taking my psych meds.  That switch was still working, and still is for now.  I can't really believe it worked thru the depakote thing tho, that was terrifying and horrific. 

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I grin and bear (bare?) it. 

I'd rather have the side effects of meds than no meds. I'm batshit without them, I absolutely can't stand my brain.

I don't have many side effects anymore.

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Those of you on meds that work to level you out: was it hard to accept? How did you? I can't bring myself to...

 

It was hard at first to accept being on meds.  I went off all of them when first diagnosed SZA, which proved to be a major mistake.  When I went back on them and became part of the real world again, I realized that I really did need them and stayed on them.  And over time I've just dealt with them. 

 

It ultimately for me was better being in the "real" world (as opposed to only the voices, even though that was a nice place to be also), so that is why I accepted being on meds and stayed on them.  I wasn't doing things that were ultimately embarrassing/regretful when in the "real" world.

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I suppose for me, the more I got stable (because we found meds that worked and got beyond the initial side effects) the more I had a happy life to motivate me. I can see why, when you're dealing with a shit ton of mental ill health, your life has fallen apart, med side effects like sedation/weight gain/cognitive dulling can seem like a huge issue. However now I have a life worth living, I can tolerate a certain amount of all of the above because it allows me to keep enjoying life. I have stuff to occupy my brain with that isn't being depressed and fat.

 

Sometimes it is hard for me to answer side effect posts objectively because I while totally get that side effects suck, I'm looking at it from the other side of what you could gain from sticking with meds. Yes, there are meds I would refuse even now, even in a crisis. But I do generally take the meds I am recommended, trial them and unless they are absolutely unbearable for months on end with no option to tweak them, I keep going. I'm in the UK and psychiatry here is a pretty prehistoric in a lot of ways, so I don't have little choice a lot of the time.

 

Obviously, the level of side effects matter, if the side effects start to destroy quality of life in a major way, I guess that is a different situation. But for me, tolerable side effects were something I had to accept while I worked to recover. And while Lithium did make a dramatic improvement to my mood, my recovery happened over years, bit by bit, from lots of different sources of healing. I hung there because I genuinely believed that somewhere along the line, it would happen for me giving in to the alternative of being crazy wasn't something I could do. But there were months, years, where I was on meds with crappy side effects and I am working towards stable on the likelihood it was possible and this was a condition of arriving there.

 

Recovery for me meant taking a REALLY long term view of life. Like being willing to put years into it. I wasn't happy about having to do that, it made me angry and sad and it felt crappy and unfair. But if I had hung onto the expectation that each new med would get me well in six months or less with minimal side effects, I'd have been a lot unhappier.

Edited by Titania
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I am thankful for my meds.  They allow me to live rather than just "be".  But I do worry about the long term effects and some of the side effects.  Zyprexa has been my saving grace but it has also made my diabetes worse and makes me incredibly tired.  I remember when I first started taking meds, I had no patience for side effects.  But as time has gone by, I've learned its something I have to accept.

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When I went back on depot injections, which I started again yesterday, I felt like I regressed back years. I was a bit depressed Thursday when I got the script. I got the first shot Friday, and my mind has been clear. (Sorry, I've been talking about it a lot)

But now I don't feel so bad about it, because it really helped, and I hope it continues to. If it helps, what's the big deal.

 

I'm glad I can be more functional, I hope by the summer my pdoc clears me to find a part time job and rejoin society a bit more.

 

I used to have no patience for side effects, like PR. I still don't, but I'm learning to live with it, and adapt. I accept it much more now than I used to. 

When I was first medicated it was actually a sigh of relief: There's hope that this will go away. I was 14.

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Those of you on meds that work to level you out: was it hard to accept? How did you?

 

The one side effect of Clozaril that I eventually couldn't tolerate was the weight gain ... I wasn't on it for long, but even after going off of it I still had the extreme eating that I'd had with the Clozaril.  I'd never experienced anything like that in my life (the amount I ate etc, even when the ED was around).  My pdoc prescribed naltrexone and the has really helped keep my weight and appetite under control.

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Those of you on meds that work to level you out: was it hard to accept? How did you?

 

The one side effect of Clozaril that I eventually couldn't tolerate was the weight gain ... I wasn't on it for long, but even after going off of it I still had the extreme eating that I'd had with the Clozaril.  I'd never experienced anything like that in my life (the amount I ate etc, even when the ED was around).  My pdoc prescribed naltrexone and the has really helped keep my weight and appetite under control.

 

 

Naltrexone helps keep your weight and appetite under control? I'm assuming it suppressed your appetite? I was on that for a while for my self harming and I had no idea it could have that affect, pft, obviously didn't with me.

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Those of you on meds that work to level you out: was it hard to accept? How did you?

 

The one side effect of Clozaril that I eventually couldn't tolerate was the weight gain ... I wasn't on it for long, but even after going off of it I still had the extreme eating that I'd had with the Clozaril.  I'd never experienced anything like that in my life (the amount I ate etc, even when the ED was around).  My pdoc prescribed naltrexone and the has really helped keep my weight and appetite under control.

 

 

Naltrexone helps keep your weight and appetite under control? I'm assuming it suppressed your appetite? I was on that for a while for my self harming and I had no idea it could have that affect, pft, obviously didn't with me.

 

 

Yes, definitely for me.  It reduces cravings for food, but I still got hungry.  So I didn't eat as much as I was.  Doesn't suppress appetite with me.

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I've been on Lithium and Depakote, which both had a leveling effect on my emotions.  I couldn't handle it, and I stopped taking them after a few weeks.  I'd much rather be able to experience the full range of human emotion, including pain and suffering, than have some poisonous salt turning me into a zombie.  I know I'm probably gonna get a lot of hate for this post since it's anti-medication, but this is just how I feel.  It's natural to feel ecstasy, and it's also natural to feel pain and suffering.  I consider my mental health issues to be a blessing, not a curse, and I only take the minimal amount of meds necessary to function.

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It's really important for me to feel like "myself," and by that I don't mean a super-fantastic hypomanic version of myself, I just mean my basic self that I recognize as me, with my own personality quirks, flaws and all.

 

At this time I have some side effects that are unpleasant, semi-disabling and restrict my activities.  But I am not depressed and feel like myself.  I have no trouble accepting that it's a sort of handicapped version of myself.  I'm satisfied with where I am right now.

 

On the other hand, I have had meds that make me feel numb and flat and anonymous inside.  That is fundamentally different from being stable and dissatisfied with the lack of highs.  Numbness and flatness is something I can't accept, even if it makes me more superficially functional.

Edited by tamagotchi
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