Antidepressants. Mood stabilizers. Epillum, Cerelift, Serdep, Seroquel, Lithium, Epitec, Fluoxetine… And so you can add and add and add. Isn’t it amazing how our eyes light up when we hear others are on the same meds that we are? Our meds. We start to own it after a while. Or does it really own us?
In the beginning of this ten year journey, it owned me. I was confused and when my first psychiatrist implied that I will die without the meds (using the metaphor of a diabetic needing insulin), I thought this was surely a death sentence. I am forever different. I have been labelled as weaker than others because my brain plays tricks on me. I have to be checked on and asked about my pill intake for the rest of my life. I have to report back on all my moods and give a full account of how I feel. Not to be cynical here, but can anyone do that and not be certified as needing some sort medication? This is their job. To tell us where we can improve and which pill can help us along our way?
I am not against medication. I am on medication actually ( But let’s get real here. Most professionals conclude that medication is needed first, not therapy. I had a psychology lecturer once, who actually agreed with me. I asked him how come meds are given first, if in most cases the triggers are not chemical intake but purely life that happened. These individuals simply need guidance on how to do life again. Not excluding meds here but guide us first, with the help of meds. I hope that makes sense.
It has been a struggle to come to terms with what it means for me as a person. I have gone through the initial phases of getting the right meds and dosage. That obviously means the side-effects! The unquenchable thirst, the skin breakouts and the embarrassing tremours. Then I was forced to go cold turkey, by medical professionals, while pregnant. Where after I stayed med-free for 3 years and soared high on the wings of grandeur. But what goes up right? I crashed, literally after being in a car crash with my sister. So back on the meds and I thought I failed myself.
Medication was firstly, something I needed because I am weak. Then I saw hey, I can make it without these pills and excel! But going back on the meds was so difficult. Was I not this warrior of excellence anymore? Will the meds take away my creativity and numb me again? I don’t want to be a zombie again!
The shock of hearing that once again, I am a danger to myself – brought thoughts defeat. Luckily I found the best psychiatrist and psychologist and was on the road of recovery. I never even knew my issues weren’t felt in my heart yet. I made sense of it intellectually but I didn’t have peace and no amount of medication could silence the cry inside.
The peace happened after regular therapy and lots of time dedicated to my own health. I became selfish in a good way – I was worth the love of myself. I still struggled with this medication problem. Am I weaker? Is it against the will of God? I mean why did He make me like this anyway? While I was off medication, I went on a rampage of studying all the crazies in the bible. I was convinced all the great men in the bible would have been medicated nowadays. I based my med-free status on that.
You would understand that I had great difficulty with going back on medication. Was I not going to be a great woman of my time anymore? So I did something that might sound very silly and superstitious or like church mumbo jumbo. I won’t go into detail of how this came about but I started praying over my pills. I figured if I’m going to take this daily I might as well talk to God and ask Him to enrich my mind with each pill.
Guys, is that still classified as things crazy people do? I find myself giggling at this moment because I accept my ‘crazy’ status very lovingly. I find a lot of peace in my faith. It makes sense to me. It saved me from the very dark pit even when I was on medication. Pills or no pills – what is important is our mind-set towards it. I learned it the hard way. Don’t think too much. I honestly think that is our big pitfall. We waste time questioning the things that we should accept and we neglect the time we could have spent loving ourselves more.
I used to be so embarrassed when my mom shouted after me when I left the house. “Ilze!! Did you remember your pills!!?” I am not anymore, that is love. Complete love and care and support.