Thought of the Week: Don’t Stop the Meds

All right, confession time: about four weeks ago I stopped taking my medications.

I didn’t actually intend to – it just sort of happened. It was all very complicated and messy, to be honest with you; a while back I got too much of one prescription, which meant I still had some when it came time to renew the other ones, and suddenly I wasn’t able to keep track of which ones were current, which ones needed refilling and which ones had no refills left. I got scared of going to the pharmacist to find out, and worse, I had to cancel my psychiatrist appointment, and with the mess of drugs I never got the courage to pick up the phone and make another appointment.

Eventually the meds ran out, and I just stopped taking them. I suppose I have to admit that there was also a part of me that wondered if they were actually having an effect anyway. And for a while, there was really little effect.

Then I got sick, and it everything got screwy. I can’t honestly say whether not being on the meds contributed to it, but I came down with a fever, and it didn’t break for seven days. I had to call out of work, I felt completely delirious, I spent all day in bed alternating between shivering chills and drenching sweats. I suppose I’m lucky that I didn’t get a gastrointestinal bug and actually could stay in bed all day, but it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time. I would wake up and be completely unaware of what time it was, or even what day it was. I would dream that I was late for work, and believe it when I woke up. I felt like I was permanently eating metal (does anyone else get that weird feeling in their mouth when they have a fever?).

Eventually it started to fade, and I was able to watch TV or go for a walk. It wasn’t another week fully before I was feeling myself again. Except, I wasn’t myself, because by then, the effects of going cold turkey on my medications were starting to kick in.

Believe me when I say it was the weirdest feeling I’ve ever had. The heat that had begun during my fever didn’t abate, and I would drip sweat sitting around in my underwear with the air conditioning on. I don’t think I started shaking (or rather, it didn’t get any worse – I was already shaking from the meds in the first place), but I know that my mood and temper went suddenly out of whack. I got angry at the weirdest things. I don’t mean things that wouldn’t normally upset me, but things that wouldn’t normally upset anyone. I remember freaking out driving down a road because the branches of the trees on either side of the street weren’t the same height.

And with all of this came a sudden drop in mood, a depression that I of course didn’t recognize. I stopped writing; I stopped caring. It was a classic return to form for me, and it was a place I hadn’t been in for a long time. It was a place I hadn’t really wanted to return to, and mainly because once I’m there, I don’t want to leave. Depression is an addiction for me, and something I need to stay away from, for my own good.

In the end, it all came out that I wasn’t taking my medication again, and with help I was able to go to the pharmacist and find out that I did, in fact, have renewals for almost all of my prescriptions. I got them; I got back on the drugs. And the result?

I’ve written three chapters of The Redemption of Erâth, Book Two: Exile in less than two weeks, something that is quite a feat for me (I’m a comparatively slow writer). I noticed a bounce in my step the other day (I kid you not – I was highly embarrassed). And things aren’t bothering my anymore.

And well, really that’s it. I went off the meds, suffered the consequences, and went back on them. I suppose if anything, it proved to me that I really do need them. I still don’t know if I need all of them, but at this point I’m not willing to risk the consequences again.

So lesson learned: don’t stop taking the meds.

~

Featured image taken from http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/education/pet-poisons-and-toxins/toxic-meds-for-pets.aspx.

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5 Comments

  1. Would it maybe be easier to just get rid of the depression instead of using the psych meds to cover it up?

    Reply

    1. I’m actually going to psychotherapy as well; the depression itself is a long, complicated battle for me. The biggest problem is that I *like* being depressed. The medications are primarily mood stabilizers – the depression is a battle of its own.

      Reply

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