I’m No Longer Human; I’m Just a Patient

Water lilly

The doctor saw me less than 20 minutes. In that amount of time, he prescribed me two medications and told me to stop taking one I had been given less than a week earlier. One of those medications cost nearly $150 with insurance even when using the generic instead of the brand.

He didn’t say a word about the cost. Just gave me the slip and sent me on my way.

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Ten Signs Your Medication Is Not Working

Stone gargoyle at Be Our Guest

You can feel miserable with the wrong medication.

Medication for depression or other mental illness is a tricky thing to manage. Everyone responds differently to it. Some people find that Prozac allows them to think clearly while others have racing thoughts with that medicine. Others love Zoloft despite the fact that others dislike it.

Just like our bodies are made differently, our illnesses have different remedies. Finding that right medication is the key.

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Is There One Cure-All for Mental Illness?

Sloth on tree

This sloth is sometimes how I feel when I am down.

Today I started a new one type of therapy. Although I am feeling optimistic, some apprehension has already taken root in me. The therapist stressed the fact that her treatment would help me heal from past trauma. With that vampire bat gone from hanging in the corner of my mind, I would heal from the rest of my mental illness – depression, eating disorder, and anxiety included.

Can that really happen? Does one type of therapy cure mental illness? For that matter, does one medication?

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Ten Things Not to Say to Someone on Antidepressants

Much debate surrounds medication including antidepressants. Some people say that diet and other holistic methods are better than Western medication. Others argue that mental illness is not a true disease but can be overcome by willpower. While medicine is over-diagnosed at times, neither of these responses helps those who are struggling with depression or another such disorder.

For the past few days, I have not taken my strongest and most helpful medication. As explained in my post yesterday, my mood has been very low. Last night, my mother convinced me to take my medicine again. Although life is still not rosy, I feel much better today if sleepier. This just proves the importance and potency of medication.

Still, as shown above, people continue to judge those who take antidepressants. Here are some comments that people have made which is hard for a person taking medication for mental illness.

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Recovery in the Media: #68. Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story

Henry's Demons

This story by father and son tells the truth about the struggles and recovery process of schizophrenia.

68. Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story by Patrick Cockburn and Henry Cockburn

Schizophrenia is a disorder that many people know about but few fully understand. People with it are characterized as crazy, murderous, vicious, impossible to interact with, etc. However, there is much more to these people than those negative conotations. Awhile ago, I wrote a review of A Beautiful Mind. For this Media Monday, I decided to focus on another recovery-focused work about suicide, this time a book titled Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story.

Synopsis: What can be worse than receiving news that your 20-year-old son followed the voices instructions and tried to drown himself? Patrick Cockburn and his wife experienced this with their son Henry, who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. This book, written by father and son, rides the ups and downs of this family’s life with this life-altering illness. Mother and father fight for their son to improve while he tries to convince the world that he is not ill. This and many other tensions fill this fascinating memoir.

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Coping Skills: #77. Preparing at Night for the Morning

Happy Easter Sunday

Waking early in the morning can make functioning difficult.

For those of us with early mornings, getting up and ready can be very difficult. Going to bed early, having coffee, and other tactics can be used. However, having the energy to prepare in the morning can still be a struggle.

A coping skill that I am finally applying is putting together everything needed for the next day before I go to sleep. This might be a hassle in the evening but sure saves me time the next day.

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Thoughts after Taking a Day off of Medication

Laughing with friend

Even with friends, I know that part of me is different because of my medication.

Because I saw the late night premier of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies last night, I did not take one of my evening medications which makes me very sleepy. The lack of it kept me riled up and awake until a bit after 4:00 A.M. Still, my alarm was set for 8:30 because I have so much work to do.

When I awoke this morning, I felt strangely perky. “You will crash in a few hours,” a friend warned. But I did not.

Without my medication, I sprung through the day with a strange energy. For the first time in a long time, liveliness pulsed through my body. It was almost like I was a new person.

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Deciding to Take Medicine

Choosing to take medication for mental illness is a difficult choice. People may ridicule your choice, side effects might be brutal, and you might need to go through many different dosages until you find what you need.

However, people who struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar, and other mental disorders can be helped by medication. That decision to take medication is between each person and his or her medical team. However, I encourage that you do not eliminate the possibility that medication can be helpful in recovery.

This video really inspired me. The faith element of it as well as the honesty really inspired me.

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Coping Skills: #60. Set Reasonable Goals

Path in Oxford garden

What path are you taking and what goals are you setting?

Yesterday, I moved onto campus and slept in my new room. All of today was spent at my university. This past day has been wonderful but also nerve-wracking and stressful. Escalated eating disorder symptoms have made that more and more apparent to me.

Just like in Oxford, symptoms that I rarely used are sneaking back into my life as are ones that were still present but tamer. Now, I feel flooded with urges that I either lack the will power to resist or seem more appealing than following my meal plan. Although I am trying to stay on track, this school year and eating is becoming an important issue that I need to address.

One of the ways that I have already begun to work through this issue is by setting reasonable goals. Writing lists and setting goals is one of my favorite coping skills. I enjoy checking off what I have done and thinking about how to accomplish what is left.

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Top Ten Ways to Adjust to New Medication

Many people who have struggled with health know the roller coaster ride of finding the right medication. Sleepiness, not knowing what dose is right for you, weight gain, decreased attention span, having to wait several weeks to see if your new prescription works – these are just a few of the challenges faced when trying a new medication or altering an old one. Sometimes, it does not even seem worth the effort, but finding the right one can be life-saving.

Flower heart

A flower heart that I left on the grave of J.R.R. Tolkien

Last night, I forgot to take my evening medication. At 1:30 AM, my brain was still racing which altered me to the fact that something was wrong. Seroquel, one of my pills, makes you extremely sleepy and helps me to make it through the night restfully along with calming my intrusive thoughts. Taking it late was not a big issue – until this morning. At 8:30, I awakened with my head throbbing as if someone had hit me with a sledgehammer. Maybe this is what it feels like to be hungover, thought my naive brain once it adjusted to the pain. All morning was a struggle to simply function. Walking, talking, and typing seemed like laborious tasks.

The reason that I bring this up is because it reminded me of adjusting to new medication. That process can be simple or painful and aggravating. Often, I wish that someone would have given coping skills and helpful tips to me. Sure, doctors explain all of the potential side effects or dangers. However, that is not the same as someone sitting down and comforting you through the uncomfortable journey.

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