Med[ication] Man[agement]

My morning did not start as planned today. My car sounded like a rocket ship, my 10am work appointment canceled, and my work phone was ringing before 8:30 with a "crisis." So, once I got my work stuff situated and my car was fixed I brought myself to one of my favorite cafes in Austin to sit on the patio and work.

I ordered my 4th cup of coffee of the day along with a water. Next I dug a bottle from my purse and took two pills out. One of them I bit in half and put the other half back before swallowing one and a half pills. This was my inspiration for my post.

I am very ashamed of the fact that I have to take medication for my mood/anxiety. Let me take you through my journey of drugs. When I was 18-19 I was on a cocktail of medications. Mood stabilizer, anti psychotic, anxiety, sleep...I took something for everything. I probably didn't take them as regularly as I should've. I didn't know how to understand if they were working or not. But I took them and I went to my appointments so I could get refills. Most of those are a blur to me. I don't think that doctor was too invested in me, because if he was I would at least remember his name. Anyway, a couple of years later I quit all medications. I made a huge life change (moved back home) and decided that I was going to be okay with out them. I most likely went off of them cold turkey. It was  the wrong way to do it, but it worked. Several years later (like 5 years ago) I was having a major increase in anxiety and felt myself going into a downward spiral to a dark place. I asked my doctor for a low dose of something due to a recommendation from my therapist (I didn't like her). Once I was feeling better I quit taking them, again, cold turkey. Bad idea. What I was taking had terrible withdraw symptoms. Once I got through that I managed quite well for a couple of years. Fast forward to January of 2015; I started a new job and with that came an increase of anxiety. I found myself taking my PRN nearly daily, after not needing it for multiple months in a row. I caved and asked my doctor for a regular prescription of what I had previously been on. Due to some other issues I asked for something different a few months into it. That is when I started on Zoloft. In my mind this was going to be short term. I would take it, get myself used to my new routine, and be able to wean off. It didn't go that way. Life happened and changes were happening including moving, living apart from my husband, living alone, new job, blah blah blah.  I stayed on the medication as a safety net, even though I was on the lowest possible dose. I kept telling myself that "once this is done" I would quit the medications. During my first appointment with a new psychiatrist (it was around the holidays) I told him my goal of being off my medication within a month. I expressed my feelings about their benefits (or lack there of) and why I wanted to be done. I was pretty adamant that the dose I was on made no difference. I could skip a couple of days of taking it and not even realize it. Why take it if I didn't need it, right? So, in short, my theory was that if I didn't notice a difference in mood then I should just be done with it. At my next appointment in March I had every intention of telling the guy I was completely off the meds. Want to know where that got me? An INCREASED dose. Yep. The opposite of what I wanted. Something was telling me that it wasn't the right time to end my medication. I promised myself that with the increased dose I was going to be much more diligent with taking them as close to the same time every single day. I knew it would be much easier to track the benefits or any side affects if I was actually taking them on a regular basis. Besides, I'm always telling the kids I work with that they need to take their meds every day even if they don't want to! What a hypocrite I am.

To take this long and likely quite boring post back to the point, I have been very consistent with my medication the past two (ish) weeks. I know I missed a day over the weekend, but that has been pretty typical for me over the last year. I am able to say that I have in fact, felt like my mood has definitely been more stable. There have been less extreme ups and downs. I can't say with 100% confidence that it is medication related, but I'm sure that it plays a part. I also still feel extremely shameful that I take prescriptions to help me with my mood and anxiety. I don't want to take them and I do still hope to find replacements that are reliable for me. At this time, though, I do not have the ability to rely on my self care to decrease some of these mood swings and anxiety attacks that come out of left field. It's all part of the process that I am addressing through therapy, practice, mindfulness, and a lot of trial and error. It's really shitty that taking medications for things like depression are so shameful. People who fight these silent battles already feel shamed for being seen as weak. Add more shame to their way of treating the illness. Many people take many medications that literally save their lives. Some people would not be as functional in their everyday life without a little help from some medications. I will continue striving for my goal of be medicine free, but in the mean time I will continue doing what I am doing.

This was a pretty vulnerable post to write and to share. Please don't judge me.

                                  An inspiring quote to start your morning!:

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