WHY I’M WRITING THIS
I’m going to blog here as a way to keep up with my feelings toward my medications. I really can’t trust myself lately, and so far I have not found a medical professional that I can continue to see reliably to help me self-monitor so this is second best.
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT MEDICATING MY DEPRESSION THUS FAR
I have started and stopped medications to treat my anxiety and depression for eight years, and I’m tired of it. Until recently, I had decided that I never wanted to be on long-term antidepressants because I felt like under normal circumstances (no additional living stressors) with positive supports in place (exercise, diet, socialization etc) I can maintain a mental state that is not “average” but manageable as far as depression/anxiety is concerned. So I only wanted to use the medication during times of stress or when I needed a little help, with the intent on it being a short-term assist until I could get “back on my feet”.
WHY THIS DOESN’T WORK FOR ME ANYMORE
This system is no longer working for me. I recently lost another job. I was fired for making a mistake that I feel, if I’d not been depressed, I would not have made. I became complacent, I didn’t care about my job anymore but drug myself in because I felt so sure I couldn’t do anything else. I never looked for another position because I felt incapable and hopeless. I had had this job for three years. I was a PCA and I truly love the women I served. It was difficult leaving them. I feel that I lost control of my depression and anxiety. It crept up on me without my noticing, and I allowed it to affect my job in a way that resulted in my being fired. This isn’t the first time this has happened.
WHAT I HAVE TO DO NOW
So, this tells me that even if I am able to maintain on my own without medication, I lack the ability to acknowledge when it is time to get help again before it’s too late. And so, I need to be on medication long-term. This is going to have to be something I accept.
WHY IT’S HARD FOR ME TO ACCEPT LONG-TERM MEDICATION
- I don’t know if this is a cultural left-over from being in the south, or if this is an issue of my family culture and mindset but for whatever reason relying on medication long-term makes me feel weak and powerless.
- I truly believed that if I were able to live in a society with warm days, full sunshine, fun and engaging physical activity, a sense of community and a fulfilling job that I could be perfectly happy without medication. Believing that, accepting long-term medication means accepting that I will not/cannot have this lifestyle and that is so disheartening to me that I need medication to counteract it. (I find the statistic behind the high use of antidepressants to those living my type of lifestyle, mostly isolated and sedentary, verses the low percentage of people in tight-nit smaller communities needing antidepressants to be validation of this belief.)
- I don’t trust the pharmaceutical company. Medications are great when properly researched and applied. But our pharmaceutical company is run by mostly money-hungry companies who work to create and sell the next pill with few/limited research studies done, and mostly done by internal laboratories. I don’t trust their motives or their products and taking a pill, every day, moving up in dosage or changing as my needs change, accepting weird-ass side effects and never REALLY knowing what they’re doing to my body is overwhelming.
Because of these reasons, every day when I take whatever “flavor-of-the-month” antidepressant I’m on, it feels like little defeats. A defeat in my core goals and values of the lifestyle I would like to live, a defeat in my abilities to maintain a stable mood naturally, and a defeat in the diplomatic system I am helplessly entangled in. It wears me down until eventually I say “no more” and I go off another med.
WHAT I NEED IN ORDER TO CONTINUE LONG-TERM MEDICATION
I need a medical professional I could trust. A psychiatrist that could oversee my treatment and my wellbeing that I could rely on to be honest with me to check-in on me periodically to ensure I’m well. Not just ask me if I’m well, or have me check boxes on a piece of paper asking questions about my mood for the last two weeks, but REALLY talk to me and get to know me and CARE about whether or not I am well. I’ve been seeing a therapist for the last few months. She’s starting to seem like a well-paid friend. Each week I go in, she asks me what I want to talk about, I lead the discussion and she offers me some helpful advice about that situation and I leave. That’s nice… but not as in-depth as I believe I need.
WHAT I NEED IN AN ONGOING PSYCHIATRIST
- Honesty. Not just honest answers to my questions, but forthcoming honesty so I can trust that the psychiatrist will tell me anything I need to know and not leave wondering if I’ve asked all the right questions. Also, honesty in the realities of my situation. If I think or believe something that isn’t true I need someone who is strong enough to say, “I see why you’d think that, but it’s bullshit and here’s why”. So many times I’ve contradicted my therapist and she’s just gone a different direction. Getting her to say “you’re wrong” is like pulling teeth. I need this to not be difficult.
- Direction. If I knew how to solve my problems, I would do it at home for free. I need a professional that can lead the direction of the sessions and know what direction to head into.
- Confidence. I have HIGH HIGH HIGH anxiety. If I feel like my psychiatrist is not confident in their assessment or treatments I will take it upon myself to control the situation and I don’t know what I’m doing. BUT…
- Humility. If I feel mocked, looked down upon, or treated as if my opinions or suggestions are worthless I will not return. While I don’t have the medical/psychological training required to treat myself, there is no one that is so well versed in my needs and concerns as I am. If I feel like a treatment, or psychotherapeutic path, is not right for me this needs to be addressed, discussed and respected by the person I trust with my care with honesty (see #1).
- Ease of access. This one is tough. If I am SOAKED in anxiety and depression and my psychiatrist is a 1/2 hour drive away, with street parking, suite 202 in a giant building, past a crowded waiting room with 17 receptionists, I won’t go. All of these decisions and obstacles to meeting up will cause me to become avoidant and without realizing it, I’ll start discrediting the value of the visit in the first place until I’ve completely talked myself out of the service.
This answer changes regularly with my mood and level of hope at the moment. But one motivation I can draw on regularly without fail is that I want to be a parent. I’m currently going through the adoption process to adopt child(ren) from foster care. There is nothing I’ve ever wanted more than to be a housewife and mother. These children need stability and a parent they can trust. They have been hurt and need a reliable adult to act as a safety net while they endure struggles no child should have to suffer through. So, I have to get my shit together and get my depression under control. I can’t bring a child into my home until this matter is resolved.
- Keep blogging. If this doesn’t work, I’ll take it back to a journal but I have to maintain a point of reference for my mood stability.
- Find a psychiatrist that satisfies my needs. (I’ll need some luck for this)
- Work, in psychotherapy, on my feelings surrounding medication so I can…
- Find a medication that works for me and then…
- Don’t stop it.
We’ll see how it goes.