**INSERT INFOMERCIAL VOICE** Are you feeling glum? Have you lost interest on your favorite activities? Are you up all night or sleeping all day? If all these symptoms sound like you, you may have depression. But don’t you worry… there are Happy Pills! These pills will make you happy in no time. All those negative thoughts and voices in your head will magically disappear. So what are you waiting for? Live the normal life you always wanted and take these Happy Pills!
Hahaha, I had to! I couldn’t pass up on a comical moment. I do understand this is not a laughing topic, I thought we can squeeze a little chuckle before getting into the subject. I think you can guess what’s today’s topic. Yes… MEDICATION!!! I figured, since I have discussed about therapy and finding a good therapist on Appointment With Harleen F. Quinzel, I might as well open the topic on meds.
First thing first, not everyone needs medication. Depending on the individual, medicine is not necessary. Some individuals are fine with just therapy. Others don’t need therapy, but needs meds. People like myself, needs both. Everybody is different. If someone suggest meds, ask an expert opinion from multiple psychiatrists. From there, you can decide if pills will be beneficial to you. With that being said, let’s proceed on.
Usually people who sees a psychologist can easily be referenced to a psychiatrist. The psychologist will let the psychiatrist know your “symptoms”. The psychiatrist will get a general idea of what you may need, but still needs to set up an appointment with you to get it from the horse’s mouth. The psychiatrist will ask various questions like how many hours you sleep a day and what’s your sleeping pattern. Your work environment, your daily activities, your weight, your mental and emotional state are more examples of what they will ask as well. Depending on the mental illness that the psychologist has diagnose you with, and the answer you have provided, the psychiatrist will prescribed a particular medicine for you.
Now you think to yourself, “I have the pills to make me happy. I will be great! My life will be perfect” Whoa nelly! Slow your ropes. That’s not how it goes. First thing first, it takes time for the meds to kick in. Let me paint you a picture. Imagine an empty plastic bottle. Now imagine that there is a small hole on the bottom of the bottle. Now picture putting a little bit of water in the bottle. You will see the water is leaking out of the hole. The bottle quickly empties out. Now imagine pouring water in the bottle. Then 30 seconds later, you pour more. Then seconds later you pour more. You keep pouring every 30 seconds until the bottle is filled with water. Is it still leaking from the bottom? Yes, but despite the tiny hole, the bottle is filled up.
That imagery I have provided is the process of how the medicine is going to work into your body. The empty bottle is you, the hole is your depression/mental illness, and the water is your medicine. Once you are filled up, the medicine kicks in full gear. This process takes time. Estimate/average time frame this to kick in is 30 days. Again, it depends on the individual.
However, during these 30 days there should be a slow progression in change of mood. Keep a journal to track it all. But please keep in mind of other activities that may affect your mood. If your usual routine is off please take in consideration of that. For example, the hours of sleep, the amount of meals you consumed, and any physical activities that were done. Pay closer attention if mood is off when you having a “normal” day. I highly recommend to bring your journal with you to your appointment with your psychiatrist. This would be physical “data”/proof of what have been going.
Now, let’s skip the 30 days. The medicine is fully into your system. Continue to journal, and pay close attention of your mental and emotional state. I can’t give exact examples, because it would all depend what mental illness the individual has. If the person has schizophrenia, the sight of different illusions should have disappeared or decreased. It also goes the same with hearing. If you have bipolar disorder, your mood levels should be stable instead of going in and out of manic and depressive state. If you have OCD, your compulsion should have been gone or decreased. Again, it all depends on the illness.
However, keep this in mind, self care definitely helps with recovery. Eating proper meals, exercising, and good amount sleep aids the process. Also, coping strategies goes hand in hand too. For instance, let’s say an individual has anxiety disorder. While this person is taking better care of themselves, going to therapy, and taking meds, the practice of managing your anxiety if it occurs is also helpful.
I know what you maybe thinking. “But Michy, why do I have to do all this work? The pills should make me feel better. I should just take them and everything should be perfect” No. That’s not how this works. Remember the introduction of the infomercial I have provided? Besides being humorous, there is another reason why I had that intro. There is this misconception on medicine. People think they will be immediately cured and there will be no work put into their recovery. That’s wrong.
Think of these pills as a boost; almost like coffee/energy drinks. You need coffee to give you that extra kick to get through the day. Could you get through the day without coffee. Sure! But coffee enhances you to the next level. Will coffee get all the task you have to do for the day for you? No. That’s on you. Same scenario applies with medicine. You take the medicine and it suppose to give you that boost you need. So if you’re suffering from depression and it’s hard to get out of bed and start your day, those pills may help. Instead of feeling a 5 out of a 100 in the morning, the pill boost you to 30. That kick is enough to get yourself out of bed and do what is necessary to get you to 100 and get your task done.
Okay, let’s say, worse case scenario the pills aren’t working. Does this mean you should stop taking pills? Not necessary. First, you have to give the medicine at least 3 months of a chance. If it doesn’t work well for you then the psychiatrist will either increase/decrease the dosage or try something else. If you get prescribed something else, then it’s the same process again. You must wait for it to kick into your system. Yes, every time it’s a new medicine you have to play the waiting game. This can be frustrating for individuals who has not found their right match on meds after the 3rd try.
Unfortunately, for some people it will take them a while find a match. Again, depending on the individual, they just need meds for 1 thing. Which makes the process go faster. However, if you’re like me, you may need pills for multiple of things. I know for myself, I need something for my depression, something for sleep, something for my mood swings, something for my compulsions, and something for the anxiety. Of course, finding the right pill to help with these issues is one thing, but finding pills that can play nicely together is another. You may find the perfect pill for you when it comes to anxiety, but that pill does not mix well with the other pill you have for sleep. For some people it’s a trial and error situation. This can last for year for some people. At the end, it’s totally worth it though. I have met people that have taken between 5 and 10 years to find what works well for them. Which leads me to this…
PICK YOUR BATTLES. I have seen this alot when I went to outpatient care a few times in my past. I have seen people who had “good pills”, but side effect is dry mouth, nausea, or constipation. Some of these people don’t want to take the medicine because of side effects, but most medicine comes with side effects! Even if the psychiatrist provide something else, it will be another type of side effect to deal with. If you have dry mouth then chew gum, suck on some candy, or drink water. Nausea? Drink ginger tea, ginger ale, or add slices of ginger in your bottle of water. Heck eat ginger! Constipation? Eat more fiber. Don’t get me wrong, there are more serious sides effects like erectile dysfunction, blurred vision, and dizziness. In my opinion, those are worth commenting to the psychiatrist about. The other examples I have provided, they can be worked out. But if having a dry mouth drives you up the wall, then fine, ask for a change. Just remember what I have said, every medicine with have it’s side effect. Pick your battle wisely.
If you are currently taking them, keep taking them as prescribed. If you miss a couple of days, don’t double up to play the catch up game. You will do more harm than good. But realize, you can only do well if you keep taking them. Many people have taken the pills and as soon they are doing fantastic, they stop taking them because they feel like they don’t need them any more. No, one of the reasons why you’re doing great is because of the pills. So please keep taking them.
As you see, meds aren’t as simple and fast as society perceives it to be. These “happy pills” aren’t here to solve your problems. They take time to affect your body and depending on your situation, it can take time to find the right one. It’s a process, but it’s necessary if you need that extra boost to carry on through your day and life. I hope my entry have provided an insight about meds and knock out the stigma behind it. If I left anything out or you have any questions, please comment or CONTACT me. Remember, you can do this! You just have to adult one day at a time.