Finding the right medication or combination of meds can be a long and tiring journey.
The journey begins with making the decision to saying YES to trying medication and sticking to them!
Then it can be a long process of finding what works and what really doesn’t.
Bipolar disorder varies greatly from person to person, and so does the right medication. What works for one person may not work for another. My GP decided to start with what medication to prescribe based on the symptoms I reported to him and then make adjustments from there.
It’s very important to be open and honest with your doctor so they are really able to help you. You should tell them about any side effects you experience, and whether or not really did take your meds and if you think they working and why!! From my GP I was passed on to the Mental Heath support team, where I was assessed by a psychiatrist and psychologist twice a week to start with.
I went through all 3 stages when I got my bipolar diagnosis…
- DENIAL > I’m not ill, there is nothing wrong me, I’m fine. I don’t need medication. I used to flush them down the toilet!! I was angry and hurt.
- ACCEPTANCE > Nobody chooses to have bipolar. Nobody is to blame. Maybe this is why I have always been different? What if these pills will help me live a relatable normal life?
- RECOVERY > Knowing that I do need medication to be “well” along with certain lifestyle changes means I have not been sentenced this lifetime of suffering.
So yes, medication can help but it’s no magical cure, self-care, meditation, therapy and sleep are also so important. Tracking your self-care and moods will help you notice the earliest signs of a possible relapse.
I have been on medication now for 8 years yet I still have a problem with it, I tend to hide the fact that I have to take medication to be well.
I’m actually scared of what I would be like, who would I be if I wasn’t on them. But I have come to terms that I would rather take medication and feel “okay” than to be riddled with pain, dark & suicidal thoughts and anxiety every day.
My point is, NO I don’t believe in pushing someone into taking medication is the right way, but to say that its important to be open to treatment, there’s no need to suffer in silence or to be proud. Just because you take medication it is not a sign of weakness.
The bottom line is the right treatment can help restore some of your quality of life and allow you to feel healthy once again.
I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to all of you who email in, I do love reading your letters. Just remember that you are not alone in this! I write on personal experiences I have come across over the years, I am by no means a professional or a doctor, but if I can help and make just ONE person not feel so alone with this uphill battle, then I will, of course, carry on writing. So please keep writing to me or follow my Facebook page @mswillowbipolar where you will be able to read this and past columns.
Lots of love,