It is just over 11 years since I was first put on medication for my mental health.
In fact I remember it exactly because it was my 19th birthday. Yes that’s right, on my 19th birthday I was diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. I was prescribed anti depressants.
Over the next few years I went through a lot of anti depressants. They either didn’t help, or some sent me manic.
A few years later I was prescribed a low dose of an anti psychotic to try and help with my depression. Again it didn’t do much.
I was referred to a psychiatrist and I was prescribed an anti psychotic for my psychosis and also prescribed a daily medication for anxiety, plus went on a high dose of the anti depressant I was on.
Things went up and down for years, trying various medications and various combinations. A mood stabiliser was added and still things weren’t right.
In 2018 I was sectioned and sent to a private hospital in Bristol. There the psychiatrist asked what medication I felt would help. I mentioned trying lithium as a mood stabiliser and opted to try a relatively new anti psychotic as well.
And it helped. It was so odd to me that medication was helping. I am still on lithium 2 years later and I have not had a full blown manic episode since starting it, and my hypomanic episodes are less.
The anti psychotic also helped but side effects got too much and I changed to a different anti psychotic.
I am now on 5 daily psychiatric medications and 1 PRN med.
I’m on: an anti psychotic, a mood stabiliser, an anti anxiety, and 2 anti depressants.
Plus then a PRN medication for anxiety and sleep.
These medications combined are the best and most helpful combination I have been on. It’s certainly not perfect and I still struggle daily as a severely mentally ill person, but these medications have saved my life.
If I was not on them I know that I would either be dead, or long term sectioned.
I now have much reduced psychosis and much reduced manic symptoms.
Yes psychiatric medications have side effects, but so does every single medication out there.
It can also take a long time to find the right medication or combination of medications. It’s taken me 10 years!
I’m now very open about taking psychiatric medications and why I take them. The more open I am then it slightly lessens the stigma.
When I first went on anti depressants l was ashamed. I hid them and didn’t tell people I was on them. I was so embarrassed and felt like a failure.
Now I know that my brain chemistry is wonky and I need some help in the form of medication to try to balance out the wonkiness that is my brain, and help me to be able to live a better life.