Recently, on Twitter, there has been quite a bit of back and forth about medications among the mental health people I follow. Most people preface what they have to say with “This works for me, it may not work for you,” which I think is the way it should be.
I’ve noticed a lot of people also manage their own meds, taking and stopping without the advice of a med manager/psychiatrist (again there’s usually a disclaimer). If a med isn’t a PRN (take it when you need it), this concerns me, although it is really none of my business. I’ll get to what I did to remedy the med/no med issue instead of self-prescribing with the same disclosure that this is what worked for me, it may not be the solution for you.
At one point in my life I was taking eight different psych meds and I was really confused about what was reality. My ex always used to say to me that I was a “paranoid schizophrenic pathological liar (he took a semester of psych in school so he was of course an expert). I was so out of it that I decided the only solution and way out my distorted sense of reality and my abusive marriage was suicide, but at the moment I was about to step in front of an oncoming truck, I heard a little voice behind me say “mommy.” I turned around and there was my daughter unaware of what I was about to do, just wanting me for some reason. That made me realize that she almost witnessed one of the most horrific things I child could see. This was the impetus that propelled me to get more help.
I decided to check myself into a psych hospital for as long as it would take to get things sorted out. Previously I’d gone in for a few days, but always felt compelled to return home whether I was ready or not. This time, I decided to find a new psych and detox off all my meds. I was adamant not to go back on anything, but my new psych said after the detox she would have a specialist come in and run a series of tests to pinpoint the problem and then go from there.
After two weeks of painful detox (some meds are worse than others) in a safe environment, the specialist came in and spent 6 hours giving me a battery of tests. A few days later she came back and said to me what was music to my ears. “You are a seriously depressed individual with every right to be so.” I was having no manic episodes while I was there, so depression seemed to be the answer.
My new psych then prescribed one medication to me and after two more weeks I went home a new person. It worked for a very long time, I thought my manic episodes were just happiness. It wasn’t until several years later that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I am now fortunate enough to have a good psychiatrist that will work with me on my medications, explaining side effects and usages, talking to me as an adult not a lowly patient. It’s been a very long process to find the right combination, but as much as I seem to lose hope, there’s always that small sense of hopefulness niggling at the back of my mind whenever we try something new.
This was just one solution of many available that helped me safely detox and work towards finding the right solution for me (or at least find a reasonable way to that end). It worked for me, it may not work for you.