Moody Monday: On the topic of medication

Once upon a time long, long ago I took pride in being a fit and healthy person who did not need to take medication of any kind. Well, those days are long gone now. Bye bye Miss American Pie. I’ve taken levothyroxine for more than 12 years for my non-working thyroid. Last year I became severely anemic and now I take iron pills every day. Not too long before that I started taking a daily probiotic in order to treat “female problems.”

And then, there are the antidepressants…. a much longer story. To be sure, finding the right medication to treat mental health disorders can make a colossal difference for a lot of people, as it did for me. And like a lot of people, I’ve tried several different kinds. BPD does not have a magic pill associated with it, unfortunately, but antidepressants can still be helpful.

First there was Zoloft. It wasn’t too bad. I took it for a while but it made me gain weight like crazy! Lexapro was ok too, it often made me sleepy and spaced out though. Celexa was the worst! Not only did I not want to get out of bed, I couldn’t get out of bed. I was so tired I literally could not function. I tried one or two others but have forgotten what they were now.

One day my doctor said, how about we try something different. She proposed bupropion (the generic form of Wellbutrin.) Bupropion is in a class of antidepressants all by itself so of course it works differently. Since first taking it more then a decade ago, it has proved to be quite effective for me.

medication, depression, mental health, BPD

Many people go through a cycle of going off and on medication. The brain loves to play tricks. When a medication makes one feel better… a few months or a year later one may think, hey I don’t need that stuff anymore. I’m doing just fine now.

What happened when I stopped taking the antidepressants? My life would turn to absolute shit. It always happened gradually so that large chunks of time would get eaten away before waking up from a fog to see that my life was in utter destruction… again! For a while I had the idea to cut my dosage in half because I didn’t think I needed a full dosage and of course it was cheaper. That didn’t work either.

One day I came to the conclusion that I might need to be on this medication for a good long while… indefinitely maybe. I’ve come to accept that and I think it proves what neuroscientists have been hypothesizing for years. Mental illness isn’t always behavioral in nature. Cognitive and/or physical impairments within the brain can be a factor as well, which antidepressants work to correct. Is this “impairment” temporary or permanent? Good question and one that doesn’t have an answer until such things have been studied for a lot longer time.

The stigma of taking medication for mental health problems is vanishing. Young people today are lucky. The taboo is steadily going away. Antidepressants can be talked about. It’s ok. No need to hide it. No one would have dared talk about such things two decades ago! Seems pretty silly now… kinda like when people thought the world was flat.

Lastly, I’m happy that the cost of such medications have been going down as well. When I first started taking bupropion it was crazy expensive. These days the cost is becoming more reasonable. I pay less than half as much as I did ten years ago.

So, no feeling bad! Take advantage of modern science and technology!

Every Monday from now until I get tired of it I will be posting on various mental health topics. That’s a joke. I never get tired of talking about mental health!

medication, depression, mental health, BPD
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23 thoughts on “Moody Monday: On the topic of medication

  1. Civilization includes, among other benefits. a perpetual quest to improve. Thus, we develop technologies, and medications, and difficulties fade, each in its turn. This is an gradual process, taking millennia. Someday, our descendants will be free of what we think of as being inevitable, just as we’ve “cured” conditions our ancestors feared would plague humanity forever.

    This progress takes many forms, be they gadgets with their beeps and hums, or medications with their soothing comforts. The latter includes both physical and mental allies. Just as it takes time to develop these medications, it also takes time for them to lose their stigmas and to become accepted. Both the development and its subsequent acceptance take time, but both are irresistible.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s very true, but then once we solve one problem other problems always arise…. maybe someday this cycle will cease but then what? Will we then bore ourselves to death??? I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that in our present lifetime anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s true, JoAnn, we always will have challenges. As our intellects have expanded, and with them our horizons, the problems have changed too. At one time, they “merely” were threats to our physical existence – cave bears, saber tooths and the like.

        Now, there are so many 21st-Century issues, often arising from within as often as from without.

        Ah, but here we reap the payoff for being part of a civilization, as there always are talented people (including, usually, us) working to find a solution.

        Many more problems now, as opposed to the distant past. What two or three concerns we had then, though, all overwhelmed, as they involved some variation of becoming a snarling beast’s next meal.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting that you say “arising within” as we live in a country where most people do not have to worry about their basic necessities being met… food, shelter, safety… perhaps it’s the “what comes next” aspect that is causing so much mental anguish… social and psychological concerns. Mental health seems to be becoming the new epidemic to solve.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Astute observation, JoAnn. As our challenges moved beyond avoiding starvation (and not becoming some other creature’s solution to that very same problem), our minds seek some other puzzle to solve.

            That’s how we’re wired. Always seeking fresh challenges, even if we must generate them ourselves. Because of that singular impulse, we constantly strive, innovate and, yes, suffer. No doubt, people have had “issues” forever, but only recently (relatively speaking) do we have the ease to focus on them.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Prozac never worked for me; took it several years ago. I took my chances and wrote more poetry. Fortunately, it (the act of writing) was therapeutic to the extent that it helped (much longer story there, of course) me resurrect to a better place. Thank you for posting this, JoAnn. You’re stigma-free in my book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If poetry worked for you that is great. Wish it would work for everyone, especially me! Would be much less effort to go to! I never hear good things about Prozac that I know of… luckily there are lots better options these days! Good to chat with you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If the meds definitely improve your quality of life, go for it! People, who do not have a mental condition or don’t know anybody with one, have no idea what they are talking about and should shut up! My mother could have had a much better life, if she hadn’t refused to take phase blockers (she was bipolar with more and much longer periods of depression than of euphoria).

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          1. That seems to have been the remedy for most ailments in the past. I had colleagues who had the opinion that any illness was weakness. That is why the men of that generation never went to the doctor before it was too late.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I was on Prozac for about 20 years. It plays havoc with your sex life. A couple years ago I went off it, gradually of course. That was about the same time I retired from a soul sucking job. Also took up hiking again. Have not felt any need to go back.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s good to know. Maybe one day when I retire and life is less stressful I will be able to go off of them. I never took Prozac but I haven’t heard too many good things about it. 😕
      Congrats on leaving a soul-sucking job!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So get this. It seems like every year moving or living is harder and harder. When I was diagnosed with MS the doctor told me he was surprised I wasn’t surprised about needing a possible expensive medication for the rest of my life. Already being a person with Diabetes, another one didn’t make much impression. Oddly, the thyroid meds and insulin and ensuing management of glucose has been where funds have dropped. MS is stable. Was on depression meds once, not quite a month. When I fell asleep at the dinner table on Christmas Day, realised they were bad stuff and just opted to live with where I am. Will visit a doctor Monday for a ‘whole health’ exam (sounds like an expensive sort of bread!!). We’ll see if she does anything for my lack of energy or most desires to do much. May write a good story, but honestly, so tired…….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Luckily there are a lot of different kinds of antidepressants these days. I think most general practitioners these days are willing to help you find the right one. Some still live in the dark ages though I’m sure. If you feel like you need to be on them I would definitely talk to your GP or find one who is willing to help you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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