So, my fellow feminists, I’m going to take you on a different road with this post, we are going to talk about medicine. When there is dialogue about mental illness, we often discuss the behavior patterns or we get bombarded by stereotypes presented in the media. When I told my father that I had bipolar disorder, he said that that’s something crazy people have and I was just depressed. It has taken him sometime to understand my disorder and how I go through my life differently than others.
I will say that more discussion has surfaced around mental illness and I think that’s great, but we hardly ever talk about medications. I think as a feminist it is important to understand many different communities, and I want to take it one step further, by informing you about medications and the feelings that come when we swallow that pill.
I will give you my perspective by answering these questions:
Why do you take medicine?
What side effects have you experienced?
How do you remember to take your medicines?
Where do you go for medical support?
When I was 19 years old, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At first, I didn’t really know how to handle the news, to say the least I was confused. I just remember being asked a ton of questions, saying yes to everyone and before I knew it, I was, I am bipolar. Now that I am 22, I am finally starting to understand the different intricate parts of my mental illness. One of the intricate parts is the constant battle with medication. My doctor at first prescribed to me, Lithium. The problem with Lithium is that it has a lot of salt, so you have to get your blood taken a lot and I was not about that life. I went off of Lithium and then stopped taking medicine all together. I thought that if I stopped taking medicine, I could pretend I no longer had the disorder, but alas, this pretending can only last so long.
Why I take medicine now, is because I realized I couldn’t deal with my disorder on my own. I now take Geodon, and the only side effect I face is a bit of sleepiness. It is different with everyone though, I am just one of the fortunate ones who suffers a minute side effect. I have heard many people talk about how certain medications make them feel more suicidal, this is especially true in antidepressants. That’s why it is important to have constant communication with your doctor, so you have the ability to switch your medicine, if that’s the route you want to take.
Sometimes, I forget to take my medicine, it’s life, it happens. I often have to set alarms, or I try to take it during dinner time. That’s another problem with medications; keeping up with taking the pill. I know this may seem like not a big problem, but when you’re already apprehensive about taking the medicine and forget to take it one day, that one day can turn to weeks and then months. I have my friend remind to the take the medicine nightly.
I go to an outpatient facility to receive medical help, in which I meet with a nurse practitioner, monthly to discuss my mental health and to also have refills on my medication. It is nice to have these check ups to keep my self in line with my mental disorder.
With these questions answered, I hope you have gained more perspective on medications as it relates to mental illness. If you have any medical stories you would like to share, please feel free to comment on this post!