There’s a distinct feeling of unease today. That sense of forboding like something bad is going to happen. After the high of yesterday (I got and accepted a job offer, very pleased indeed) I came home and started getting paranoid.
It makes me wonder – would I be better off with meds?
I have this conversation with myself, and my psychiatrist on a fairly regular basis.
My problem with medication is the benefits are often convoluted, distorted and don’t seem to outweigh the cost of the side effects, at least for me. Your brain and body adapts to the medication, meaning, like with most things, you build a tolerance and have to increase the dose.
Also, I really don’t think that medication is targeting the things it needs to target.
I’ve been told many things about medication – the official lines vary from ‘preventative’ to ‘restorative’, but the science just doesn’t seem to add up. Can we coerce the brain into functioning better with the aid of medication? Is it as simple as that? Since the vast majority of people on meds either stay on them, or like myself, can’t bear to take them, how can we tell what really works for psychosis?
All these treatments are relatively new, some untested over the course of a lifetime and all come with an abundance of health problems. Apart from the immediate and common side effects such as weight gain, lethargy, restlessness, shaking, blurred vision it seems we face a plethora of trade-offs on our future physical health. Increased risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease – even sudden adult death syndrome…
Is monitoring ‘physical’ health enough? We know that physical health is often ignored with mental illness, patients are even dismissed as paranoid when they bring things to their practitioner’s attention.
And what about clinicians – would they take these medications that are often over-prescribed? I know some people who do very well on meds, and some who decide to go med-free, but I sort of see current medication as a false panacea. It gets people stable enough to not need constant attention on an already stretched healthcare system. I think of the revolving door scandal with beds in the NHS that was in the papers a few years back, that is still a problem, and it’s the same thing.
What I’m saying is there must be a better way.
Diet, exercise, lifestyle can only take you so far. The frustration I feel at not being able to spend a moment alone without having to concentrate and push my voices away is palpable. I often try to look at where I see myself in five, ten- fifteen years ahead and the thought is, frankly, depressing. I don’t want to have to struggle everyday.
Maybe that’s just childish railing though. Maybe this is my lot in life, and I have to push that little tantrum to one side and just accept that as much as I can change my life there are things about me that I cannot change. Perhaps it’s because I have the memory of what life was like before – my life was by no means better, but the comparison of not needing to meditate, of being able to go to sleep without being shouted at, of waking up without a voice in my ear.
Some people have it so much harder. But I want better. I think we all do.