Rx Life

Although therapy is vital in the treatment of mental health disorders, prescribed medications also play a key role. Many trial studies have demonstrated that these medications can reduce or eliminate symptoms. Patients must make an informed choice when it comes to taking psychiatric medications and learn the benefits or costs of taking them. Adhering to the regimen provided by the mental health professional can sometimes be hard, i have been there myself, not wanting to take medications every single day or thinking i do not need them anymore when i am feeling better. However hard it may be, it is vital that one stays on track with the medication regimen. Missing doses or suddenly ceasing to take the prescription can lead to relapse in symptoms, discontinuation symptoms, hospital stays, or even onset or relapse of co-occurring disorders such as addiction. Many people do not realize how mental health patients often have co-occurring disorders – or even that addiction is a mental health disorder. Addiction, just like depression, is a mental illness and as such needs to be treated the same. Unfortunately, psychiatric drugs are seen as wrong by many people. What they do not realize, or care to realize, is that medication to manage one’s mood is very different from a drug that alters one’s mood. Mental health patients without these medications can die from overdoses by self medicating because of how psychiatric drugs are viewed. Though psychotherapies can help mild or moderately afflicted mental health patients without the use of medications, for more severe disorders, medication is an important mainstay of treatment for patients with long-standing mental illness symptoms.
Along my journey i have had to deal with many symptoms of my mental illness. The symptoms were so strong, I never imagined any kind of medication or therapy could help, as most mentally ill do. All of the unwanted racing thoughts, constantly feeling uncalm, unable to focus or concentrate, feelings of worthlessness, suicidal ideation, so much lack of energy that i can’t even get out of bed, irritability, constant mood changes, isolation, fear, anxiety whenever anyone is around me along with many other symptoms. One day i was driving home and i remember myself about to turn down the road to get to my home, 20 minutes later i am about 5 miles away in the other direction with no recollection of how i got there, turning to go home was the last thing i could remember – yet my brain and body functioned and stopped at red lights and obeyed the speed limit, so strange and unbelievable to me, but a symptom nonetheless. Staying on a regimen laid out by my psychiatrist reduced or eliminated these symptoms. Seeing actual results took time, as the medications have to get in your system and be maintained. If you (or a loved one) would like to emerge from the darkness and agony you live in everyday due to your mental illness, medication and/or psychotherapy needs to be the first step – the support you can receive from your relationships and the community is the tool you need to get there. That is not to say it cannot be done by yourself, if you do not have the support you need, it is just extremely more beneficial to have supportive relationships. Mental illness does not mean you are weak, in fact people with depression and other mental disorders can be stronger because of what we endure every day of our lives. Just getting out of bed in the morning is a huge accomplishment for me most days, let alone what i go through just to get through the day. I am stronger now and the strength i have shown has given me the confidence to overcome many obstacles in my life and get through many painful experiences. Without that, i would have succumbed to the many symptoms i have had my whole life and possibly ended up on drugs to alleviate the emotional pain and symptoms, leaving me without hope, possibly without relationships (healthy ones anyway), unable to maintain work or a normal happy life, and generally in an unsafe circumstance. I suggest getting help from your local NAMI, if you are just starting your journey to recovery and have no support, as they can be a support in your life and educate you on mental illness and all that you need to see the strength that is inside you.
NAMI (The National Alliance on Mental Illness) is the largest grassroots organization in America. This non-profit has helped millions of mentally ill emerge on the other side of depression, me being one of those proud members, was very blessed to have found my way to them – the overwhelming support from them kicked my motivation into high gear. NAMI can be there for you too, all you have to do is listen to that little truth inside you saying “there is possibility for light in this darkness”. Once you see and feel that strength, you can accomplish anything – sometimes the depression and fear can make it cloudy, that’s why NAMI has support groups that can help you see clearly again and connect you with other mentally ill people who can help you feel like you are not alone – knowing you are not alone can leave you feeling relief, which provides the greatest strength of all. Continuing with the medication aspect, when you make those connections through NAMI support groups, some people may suggest medication to you that they have taken or are taking – unknowingly creating doubts in you about the treatment you are on. This is something you have to be careful of, because everyone’s brain is different, we are not all the same and you need to stay focused on the treatment plan that your mental health provider specifically plans for you. The world is waiting for you, the sun is out there, and the moon shines brightly for you. Emerge from your isolation, don’t let your illness define you. Every community is filled with mental health professionals eager to help, whether through therapy or medications or support. Your day-to-day doesn’t have to be agony and darkness. You can overcome.

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