Over the years I have had a love hate relationship with medication.
But before I go on I must stress that medication in a roundabout way has saved my life.
Before I became involved with mental health services as a patient I was very anti medication
and so were influential people around me. I believed that everyone was taking pills when
they didn’t need them and it was an ‘easy option’.
Stopping taking mediation has always been at the back of my mind. However, I would not
dream of doing that anytime soon or without the advice from mental health services. This is
down to the potential catastrophic consequences it may cause. But part of me thinks, why
do I need to take these pills to lead a normal life?
Part of the answer lies with brain chemistry, I take a drug called Olanzapine, Olanzapine
rebalances dopamine and serotonin which are chemicals in the brain. When I was unwell
these chemicals in my brain were obviously out of kilter. Therefore, if I stopped taking them
the chemicals in my brain would potentially become unbalanced again leading to serious
problems, potentially leading me into crisis.
Now here is another major question. Why were they unbalanced in the first place? In
short, I believe my own thoughts, the world around me and my outlook on life effected the
dopamine and serotine levels in my head.
Part of me believes that because I have changed certain aspects in my life then even
without these drugs my chemicals would be all nicely balanced.
But I don’t necessary believe that to be the case, each time I have reduced my intake of
medication I have relapsed. Resulting in 2 hospital admissions and another time resulting in
an admission into a crisis house run by Rethink.
So, the lines are blurred and my outlook too is very unclear. Would my chemicals be
balanced without my medication? Or do I still need them? Why take the gamble anyway?
When I was in hospital following an attempt on my life no drugs would work, I was on
maximum anti-psychotic and maximum anti-depressant. The last hope for me was Lithium,
this is a very powerful drug and carries many side effects.
In the end, out of sheer desperation I took the drug. Within 6 weeks I was far far better and
commenced leave from hospital.
My point is, drugs are so powerful. If you use medication and talking therapies then the
results can be magical. I think there is an underlying reason why peoples brain chemistry
becomes unbalanced, taking medication alone can sometimes mask the problem but
masking the problem may suit some people for where they are at in their lives.
If you are seeking advice on medication it is essential to obtain professional advice from
mental health services. The points above are my experiences and by no means advice on
what you should do. Medication has played a major role in my recovery and without it I
may still be inside a psychiatric hospital or even worse.
If anything can be taken from my experience it is this; if I would have reached out for help
and spoke about my difficulties before they turned into a crisis then I may have not
needed to go down the extreme route which I went down.
Quite simply; talking saves lives.