As a rule I don’t normally talk about medications as they affect people in different ways and each person can have similar or dissimilar reactions to the same medication. So I’m not going to lecture anyone about the pros and cons of taking medication for mental health, or other, illnesses. I wanted to share this experience with you all about forgetting to take the medications that have been prescribed.
I have a condition called cyclothymia, which I take mood stabilisers for, and fibromyalgia which is unmedicated. On Friday night I forgot to take my mood stabilisers, a big mistake. Not only did I not sleep properly that night, but on Saturday I felt the full effects of withdrawals. I could not eat, and did not eat. I had cold sweats even though it seemed the hottest day of the year so far. I was manic and couldn’t sit still, enjoying the bouncing around the flat to lovely music. I couldn’t control my thoughts or what I was saying to people. I admit I said and done things that I really do feel ashamed for doing.
Anyway, knowing that it would be best not to take the meds once I had realised my error, I rode the withdrawals out until my Saturday night does was due. Usually it takes an hour or two for them to knock me out for the night; they contain a sedative in them. Within half an hour the meds were affecting my mood and body functions. The fog fell over my thinking and my body was telling me to get to bed as it didn’t want to let me walk anywhere for the remainder. My knees felt as though they were on fire, swollen and difficult to bend. My legs felt numb as though heavy weights were dragging them down. My whole body hurt until I finally fell to sleep.
Today, Sunday, I woke up in a majorly depressed mood, feeling lonely and unwanted. Even though I know it’s depression talking, it’s still hard not to listen to the ramblings in my head. My body hurts as the fibro has kicked in, with my knees still swollen and causing immense pain. I feel rotten and in a dark place that I have not been in for a long time. Slowly my mood is lifting.
I regret not taking my medication and this is why I am sharing this with you. I don’t want anyone else to feel the same as what I have over this last weekend.
My message to you is; if you are prescribed medication then please remember to take it. If you are low on your supply of medication then please get fresh supplies before you run out. If you want to reduce/stop taking your medication for any reason, talk to your healthcare professional before taking action into your own hands. Medication can have nasty side effects, but seek professional help if you are having any problems.
I missed one day and am feeling the effect two days later, and I know that the fibro is not going to be forgiving for at least another few days, even a week. Please don’t make the same mistake I did.
I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.
I was proudly pledged by Sheri who can be found here at Reality Hide and Seek who blogs about mental health, in particular bipolar disorder and also her love of baking.
My own story follows years of struggling with mental health though having a recent diagnosis of cyclothymia, a form of bipolar, has enabled me to live my life the best that I can. I have been through the mill a little with homelessness, drug dependency, domestic violence, fibromyalgia all at the same time as dealing with my mental health. Since my diagnosis I have found the medication and therapy which suits me and have successfully turned my life around. I am just about to complete my first year at Med School, an achievement I never thought possible before diagnosis, and have the pleasure of working with Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity.
My goal within my blog is to show the world that you can live a fulfilling life with a mental health diagnosis and that you can still achieve your dreams. Although I have had more bad times than most in my life, I have been able to make the best out of it. By blogging about my experiences I hope that others will see that they too can achieve something worthwhile. By openly talking about mental health we can all work together to end the stigma and discrimination associated to it.
I would like to pledge five of my dearest blogging friends to this project as they do a worthy job of working towards removing stigma. Here’s to you guys.
Garry Williams AKA The Depressed Moose
Fiona AKA Fiona Art Fighting The Stigma
Anna AKA In My Own Little Bubble
Charlotte AKA Purple Persuasion
Mental Health Cop @ Mental Health Cop
Blog Topic: Obsession
I wanted to try something different with my blog so have decided that every week (uni work permitting) I shall pick a mental health topic, or you guys can suggest one, that I’ll research and explore. I want to find out what actually causes these illnesses and how they affect people’s lives, so I’ll be looking in my usual haunts for perspectives, tips and how people manage with them. I would love to have your feedback as to whether this is a good direction to go in, so please feel free to leave comments below. Good or bad, I will take them all on board.
Today’s topic is obsession. This was chosen by my obsessive thoughts and wanting to know why I feel them and what I can do to reduce them. My obsessive thoughts are;
“Wanting someone or something that you can’t have yet it’s all you can think about” – anonymous
“Can have devastating consequences on the subject or the obsessed.” – anonymous
I have no understanding of where this obsession comes from for me. I crave hugs to the point that all I don’t want to go to bed with a man for sex I just want to curl up close with a certain person each night and fall asleep in his arms. It could be that I had loads of hugs in my childhood and I don’t get them now, but I never had hugs as a child so how can I miss them. All I can rely on is knowing that I have a big cuddly hippo that gives unconditional hugs as and when I need them.
Though obsessive thoughts can be attributed to a range of different subject matters, for example hand washing, eating, impulsiveness and perfectionism. They can also manifest differently from person to person. Let’s look at impulsiveness, which personally I can relate to with my bipolar, where there may be an urge to go shopping for a specific item and then getting rather angry when the shop doesn’t sell that item or that after purchasing you realise that you bank really didn’t want you to do that. Or it can be related to the need for sex and will go out of your way to find someone who will help you complete the act; regardless of safety and other consequences that may follow.
“[The act] ceases to be enjoyable, becoming something you ‘have to’ do.” – anonymous
What actually causes these obsessive thoughts; is it psychological or chemical? Starting with potential psychological causes which could be put down to ensuring that something bad doesn’t happen again. For me I become obsessed with making sure all of my bills were paid, especially my rent, as I was once upon a time homeless and refused point blank to become homeless again – not so bad. Though for some;
“It’s when it starts to have a detrimental effect on your life” – anonymous
Imagine that you can’t leave your house each day to go to work without checking that you have locked the front door; for some this may mean they have a ‘safe’ number where it must be checked specifically that amount of times and if interrupted they have to start again. For this person it could be seen as a ritual and is part of their life; that they allow extra time to leave the house for this to take place. Another example being:
“All coffee cup handles have to face the same way when making drinks” – anonymous
So how can you help someone whose obsession has a psychological cause? Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) seems to be the favourite form of treatment where a person can discuss the reasons why the behaviour takes place to learn that their fears may not be true.
“Thoughts are not facts” – My CBT therapist.
It also allows the person to discover gradual desensitisation or flooding of the obsession. These methods work by allowing the person to either be ‘weaned off the behaviour’ or face the fear head on. For example, a person who has an obsession that birds are going to attack them while they walk down a street can go through the flooding option where they walk down a street heavily crowded by birds and stay there until they feel calm and relaxed. This does work, not always first time around, as the body goes into fight or flight mode upon reaching the birds but it can only be sustained for a certain amount of time as the body cannot continue to create the adrenalin for long periods of time. Gradual desensitisation works in a similar way though by only introducing the birds slowly as opposed to a full on bird street party.
There is another theory behind obsession and that is relating to faulty neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are little chemicals in the brain with pass messages from one neurone to the next which help with actions, behaviours and can control voluntary or involuntary actions. Communication between neurones is responsible for you moving your hand away from a hot object to stop you from burning yourself, or they send messages from your brain to your lungs to tell them when to breathe in and when to breathe out.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for many things, it is more commonly known as the ‘Happy Chemical’ as it is related to a person feeling depressed. When serotonin cannot pass from one cell to the next it causes the serotonin to be taken back by the cell sending the message instead of the cell meant to be receiving it; known as reuptake.
“Some [cell] receptors are thought to block serotonin from entering the cell” – BBC Science
In brain terms, it is the occipital cortex which notices that there is something wrong and informs the thalamus that something needs to doing to rectify the problem. As the thalamus is the control centre of the brain it tries to send impulses to other areas of the brain requesting that something is changed to take away the problem. However, this rectifying signal has to pass through another region on the brain called the caudate nucleus which does not work well if it’s receptors are damaged stopping the uptake of important neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This fault in the caudate nucleus and reduction in serotonin stops effective communication and allows the occipital cortex to become overwhelmed; seeing the problem as being bigger than it actually is. Hence why someone with a cleaning obsession, as an example, see germs that are not there and have to clean to remove them until the occipital cortex calms down.
This problem can usually be rectified by taking anti-depressants; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), they enable a better flow between cells and making sure that more serotonin is being absorbed by the cells that need it. The more serotonin the happier we should be, the less we should obsess.
But is it really as easy as identifying the potential causes of obsession that would make us ‘recover’? It takes a lot more than that. It’s like the adverts say about giving up smoking; yes these quit smoking aids will help reduce the cravings but it requires will power – and from my experience(s) of giving up smoking a hell of a lot of will power is required.
It is believed that by increasing Omega 3 levels can help improve brain power. Though when I first heard about this I did think it would increase my IQ. That’s not quite how Omega 3 works. They work by helping the cells remain healthy enough for messages to pass through them, ensuring the stability of the cell structure, and by helping reduce any inflammation the cell may be experiencing. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which means that it is a fatty acid that the body does not produce naturally so needs to be taken in through diet or supplements to make sure we have the correct levels within us. These fatty acids are mainly found in oily fish and some nuts, which if you’re a vegetarian like me may find the fish thing a little hard. Luckily you can also get this supplement in capsule form to be taken every day. Here is a study that has been carried out on the efficacy of Omega 3 with anxiety disorders, which lists obsession as one of them.
Though, light heartedly, and I say this only after researching the bigger picture of obsession, as long as my obsession doesn’t get in the way of my life, which I believe it isn’t, then what harm is it doing? I know that I need to stay in control of these emotions and feelings so that no one gets harmed. I know that if it ever gets to the point where I need professional help I will seek it and embrace it with both hands.
You are the judge of whether your obsession is affecting your life, or others’ lives, so ultimately you can make the decision as to whether you need help. Though remember that the first step to recovery is accepting that there is a problem that needs changing. You can then do something to bring about change.
For the last few years I have felt pain throughout my body. My limbs would feel as though lead weights were pulling them down and I couldn’t move them, when I tried sharp pains would seep through my muscles making movement impossible. I would plan when I had to go to the bathroom; make a drink, grab a snack and refill the hot water bottle (though not in the bathroom, I have a kitchen for that). When I woke up in the mornings every part of my body felt as though I had been running for my life in my dreams and I was recovering from whatever I was fleeing from. Some days the pain would be indescribable where I would never have the energy to talk or think. I was alone on these days; I couldn’t reach out for help.
Whenever I felt this way I always put it down to my medication, not that the pain was side effects but that they were doing their job. I am on mood stabilisers for my cyclothymia and my own logic told me that the pain was the depressive days and the medication was blocking the psychological pain but not the physical. I believed this was true for so long and it made sense to me. It wasn’t until I started talking to other people that they told me this couldn’t be so, though it still took me a few months to realise what they were saying was true.
Eventually I took note and waited until I was in this pain to go to my doctor to discuss it. To say that I crawled would be an over exaggeration but it took all my strength and breath to make it there. My GP is less than a five minute walk from home on a good day, this day it took nearly 20 minutes with stopping for breath wherever possible. I described the pain and he was kind enough to poke some pressure points on my bad. Anyone who has had these pressure points pressed when they’re in pain know that I’m being overly kind here, I wanted to hit the bloke for causing even more pain than I was already in. He told me that I might have fibromyalgia, something I had heard of before but I knew nothing of the condition. After blood tests to rule out any other illness the diagnosis was confirmed and my originally theory was thrown out the window.
The news was a shock to me as he had said that it isn’t a serious condition, if compared to cancer, but it will make life a little harder. With cyclothymia under my belt already I couldn’t help but laugh and thank him, sarcastically of course. Though even having the pain confirmed as another illness I didn’t really take it in, I didn’t accept it and carried on life as before.
After three months of going to university, studying and holding down a part time job the choice to accept the illness was taken out of my hands. I know there is some discussion of what constitutes as a breakdown, though I believe I had a small one. I was at work one Saturday morning trying to do my role the best that I could, though something didn’t feel right. It may sound strange but it felt as though I could reach inside my brain and pull squishy goo out, that my brain was a slimy mess inside. I couldn’t do jobs that I have done for years, like sorting post out for the people who had received some. I knew they had a letter but I couldn’t tick a simple little box to let this person know to come and collect it. Coffee, my usual wake up juice, wasn’t even touching the spot as though I was drinking a brown sludge with no caffeine effects at all.
I knew that I needed to stop and have a break from life, just two or three days of the world stopping still and allowing me to catch my breath. So when I went home I tried my hardest to stop and relax, to regain energy that I lost over the last few weeks. That’s when the breakdown really hit as I literally couldn’t move. My body was like a statue frozen in time that no matter how hard I tried it wasn’t moving for anyone. Everything was stiff and in pain, the thought of trying to move hurt even more. I ended up just lying on the sofa crying my heart out. I needed to reach out for someone but the energy to talk, to explain, let alone the energy needed to move and pick up the phone was lacking in great proportions. I just cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. My world had stopped for me.
I took some time off work and uni as there was no chance of even trying to get to where I had to go. The time to myself was an opportunity to realise that fibro had got me in its trap and wasn’t going to let me go. I have to make changes for me to survive, to carry on and reach my dreams of becoming a psychiatrist. The first thing I had to do was give up work, which I do feel lucky to be able to do as I know so many others can’t afford to do that or even get work at all. Though it was all based on research as to whether I could financially afford to do it. Thankfully I could.
So, the time came to hand in my notice at work. Of course there was no way I was well enough to work my notice period and my GP supported me by giving me a sick note to cover that time. My GP is an angel, really he is. He knows that I am self aware that if I had made the decision to leave work and wasn’t well enough to go back for four weeks then he trusts me. Saying that he knows when I go and ask him to take me off my mood stabilisers then it’s because I’m manic and doesn’t trust me. Double edged sword; but he knows me and that I would only look after myself when it really matters.
The decision made and the notice handed in I was able to relax and discover more about this illness and how I can improve my symptoms, to reduce the pain. I have been able to spot the early warning signs of when the pain is about to start (usually my right shoulder freezes up) and what I need to do to reduce the pain (Epsom salt boil washes are brilliant!). After researching the illness it appears no one has a definite answer as to the causes, is it neurological, psychological, the immune system or not getting enough deep recovery sleep? The search for the cause goes on and I stay up to date with all the research that goes on.
Regardless of the cause, I have had time to realise what triggers me and what helps reduce the flare ups. Sleep hygiene, healthy eating and exercise, where possible, have become a big part of my life right now and I have noticed a big improvement in the symptoms. I have had to make big changes in my life, though I know that they are for the good of my health. Sadly I have accepted that the dream of becoming a psychiatrist isn’t going to happen, though that hasn’t closed the doors on other healthcare professions working with the brain, neurologically and psychologically. The dream hasn’t totally gone away.
Recently I had a really good chat with someone about acceptance of illnesses and we both came to the conclusion that if you don’t accept an illness then how can you adapt and make it work for you? Ill health doesn’t have to be the end of a happy life; it can still be achieved by making positive changes and learning to live with the illness and not against it. Once the acceptance has been granted then you can move on and not get caught within the darkness that it holds.
I woke up this morning and I really did smell the coffee. It turns out I’m depressed.
Though what annoys me more that being depressed is that I didn’t spot the warning signs, even though they are the same every time. I can look around me now as I write this and say, “the flat is a bomb site, why? Because I am depressed” “the restlessness and not being able to sit still, because I am depressed” and so on and so on. These two things may seem like little things that could be anything to a person without depression, but to me when put together they mean something bad is about to happen.
My thoughts have been irrational, and when asked why I done something I really can’t answer why. I can’t explain myself. Though when I carried out those actions I meant everything I done, at the time.
Everything that needs to be done seems so much like a chore, like sitting and reading a newspaper or book. In my head it is too much hard work to get up, find the book, sit back down and read. The reading part is not the chore, it’s the getting to it that’s the problem. Then the sitting down hurts, I need to get up and about. Though it hurts and my head is telling me not to bother.
Sitting over analysing why someone my not be talking to me; do they not like me, have I done something to upset them, this is the end of our friendship for sure. It never gets in to my head that maybe they don’t have anything to talk about or they are busy doing other things. It is all about why they are not talking to me.
Though the strangest of all, I get my sense of smell back. I never knew that it had gone anywhere so when all of a sudden I can smell the freshly brewed coffee, and how nice does that smell, I know that something has or is just about to happen.
The sign that this strange thing that has come over me is about to end is when I cry. I cry for no reason. I cry to let out whatever demons seem to have taken over me. I cry until I can’t cry anymore.
Every time this phenomena comes over me and I realise what has just happened I promise, I vow, to myself that I will spot the warning signs next time. I never do. I notice that I’m restless or not motivated in the littlest things, but I never put two and two together.
This gets me wondering, am I the only one like this? Surely not. I want to explore how people recognise their warning signs and what they do to protect themselves, or even try to stop the inevitable.
Please share with me how you spot yours, I would love to learn how to spot mine. Maybe others will value your advice too.
Over the last few years I have discovered that my GP or Psychiatrist like to give me little Christmas presents. Previous years include depression and cyclothymia and they have not let me down this year. My present from my GP was a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
When I was depressed I always felt the physical side of the condition. Everything hurt, and I mean everything, my whole body felt as though it wasn’t mine anymore. That someone had taken out my bones and I couldn’t lift any of my limbs.
Friends had always tried to encourage me to go out and meet them so we could talk and try to find ways of dealing with the depression. When I told them that I physically couldn’t do that one by one they told me that there must be something else wrong. I put off talking to my GP about it cause I truly believed it was the depression.
Until three weeks ago I couldn’t face the pain anymore and I struggled even walking up the stairs to get to my lectures at university. The pain was getting in the way of life and I finally took the opportunity to talk to my GP about it. After a few presses on pressure points and a shed load of blood tests he confirmed that I had fibromyalgia.
He said to me “It’s not a serious condition, like cancer is, but it will affect my quality of life”. My response was to laugh and tell him “Don’t you think I have enough of that with the cyclothymia?”
As I sat down to take the news in I started to feel my heart break. I have worked so hard to rebuild my life from the darkness that surrounded me five and a half years ago. I got clean from drugs, got my own place to live (and kept it) and have worked in repairing my mental health. I even made it into Med School which is something I would never have dreamt of years ago. How on earth was I meant to carry on as before? How can I become a doctor in my own right with these conditions hanging over my head?
I found information from a support group on Facebook that listed a whole host of symptoms I haven’t been able to find on my own (though if you find them elsewhere then please post the link). They were symptoms that are felt by sufferers that they have to deal with every day.
It was reading this big long list that I realised I have had this condition for years and because I have never sought help it lay undiagnosed. I discovered that I have achieved these life changes while having this condition and I have carried on regardless. Why would having this new label stop me from achieving my dreams?
Though I don’t usually like labels, I see them as a way of finding out more ways of helping you when you are in dark times. This new label has given me the opportunity to find out what I can do to relieve the pain, to carry on with life and to succeed in reaching my dreams.
The medication route is not possible for me due to other medications I take and although I never attended support groups for my mental health or addiction, I felt that I had to find one for the fibromyalgia. I need to find holistic treatment for the condition.
My first visit to this support group, ran by the Facebook page, was at their Christmas party. Although there was the party in full swing, they all made time individually to welcome me to the group. They shared helpful hints and tips on how to manage the pain, including an Epsom salt boil wash (fibro or not try it!!!). While I already have my little mental health family, these new people in my life are definitely going to be my fibro family.
I am only three weeks into the diagnosis and I do worry about how it will take hold of my life in the future. But I need to work with what I have right now and I need to carry on with reaching my dreams. I will only stop trying to get there when I literally cannot go any further, when my body decides it’s had enough. So I will treat my body with the respect that it needs to let me keep going.
I have friends with the same diagnosis and I sadly admit that I never really took the time to understand the condition and what they are going through. I am truly sorry to all of you for this.
If you have friends or family members with the condition, or any condition, please make the time to go and learn something you didn’t know before about it. So that you can be there for them when they really need your support.
As, some of you readers know, and a lot of my friends reading this, that I haven’t had the easiest of lives. I have been to hell, literally, and came out the other side with so many proud achievements to my name.
Though it is when you have something or someone from that darkest period of your life that makes you seriously think about how things could have been so much different. I admit the things I have had done to me, and done to myself, I shouldn’t be here.
Six years ago I was a homeless heroin addict in a very violent relationship. I was beaten every day and sexually abused to the point that I can’t recall the memories anymore. They were so damaging that my memory has chosen to blank them out for me, which I am thankful.
I spent time in prison, which I did enjoy as it was an escape from my horrible life on the outside. While I was in there I met someone else who was detoxing off the heroin. In my eyes she was strong and cared for others. She looked after the first timers who were scared to death like a mother. I was proud to call her a friend during two of my visits to prison.
Since coming out of prison I have made big changes to my life. I have got clean from the drugs, secured a roof over my head, gained a mental health diagnosis with correct treatment and medication. The biggest thing I have done was gain a place at Med School to become a doctor, eventually a psychiatrist.
Though today I had the shock of my life, something that I don’t think I could ever have been prepared for. This woman, my prison friend, my ‘mother’ turned up.
She sat there in the chair scared, hopeless, helpless and not sure of whether she would make it being homeless once again. Telling how her life hadn’t been kind to her even though she tried to make changes in her life. This was not the person that I remembered.
Looking at her brought back memories of the decisions I had made and that if I hadn’t have been as strong as what I was to make such a difference in my own life, that I could still be in the same position I was once in.
As she left I looked her in the eye. The person looking back at me wasn’t her anymore. I was looking at me, from six years ago. Scared, helpless and hopeless for the future.
Right now I am stuck in a state of mind remembering how things were, and how things could have been. I could still be homeless, on heroin and in that horrible violent relationship.
I know that I need to turn this into a positive and look at how far I have come in the last six years. I am hoping that this feeling will come once the numbness has left.
More and more I am being asked by people who have recently received a mental health diagnosis how I coped with my diagnosis and how I live with the side effects of medication. So I thought I would send a message out to fellow spoonies, new and old, to show that life does carry on and can be whatever you want it to be.
There always seems to be a high point too where you receive the diagnosis, you know what is wrong with you, you know the help you need, you know you need to be taking medication – yet 6 months after diagnosis the horrible down moods are still there as though this profound breakdown of labelling hasn’t done a thing.
You expect that once the label is slapped on you that you are magically better and that life will be bright and fluffy again. Unfortunately it doesn’t always happen that way
The talking treatments always have a waiting list, which it seems the wait is even longer than it used to be. All you have floating around in your head is that you need help and you need it now. Do these people not understand this? From my experience yes, they do. Though there are only so many therapists around that can help and you do have to wait – like most things in life.
There are things that you can do to help while you wait. Find a social activity, i.e. a drop in, where you can surround yourself with people that understand, they can help and support you with what may seem small to one person is a massive thing to you. If you have a ‘label’ that has a support group attached, like bipolar and Bipolar UK, then you can meet people who have been over this hill and found the flatness the other side.
Try holistic therapies, get yourself a massive, reiki or have a pamper day. This doesn’t need to be something really expensive, go to the pound shop and buy a face mask, bath salts and a candle – £3 spent which is purely priceless.
Look around your area to see if you can find a local facility that provides mindfulness, or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). It is the new up and coming way to recognise how you feel right here and now, allowing you to live in the present moment. It tells you not worry about the last conversation you just had that may have made you sound rather silly, or whether you can make it to the local supermarket for ice cream before the shop shuts. If there are no groups then read the books – it is so worth it.
Then there’s the medication that you don’t really want to take because tablets can have so many side effects and damage your organs; worse still they affect your brain in strange ways.
These mediations do take time to kick in and this period in time always seems to be the longest journey anyone could possibly take. The average time told by healthcare professionals is two weeks for the initial side effects to calm down and another two weeks for the tablets to be doing their thing – helping.
Oh what to do while you wait for this period of time to pass you by? If you have the energy to pick up a book or use Google, then research your illness and find out as much as you can about it. Don’t over analyse it and think the diagnosis is wrong and that you have something worse than you have been labelled with – this is easily done. You have what you have and you learn about what it is that you will most likely be spending the rest of your life with.
A majority of psychiatric medications have side effects and take time to kick in. Though what you must weigh up is how you are off the tablets to what you are like on them. Can you live with being solemn, teary and unable to function compared with a little, or a lot, of morning brain fuzz which clears up after copious amounts of caffeine?
I believe one of the major side effects with psychiatrics medication that puts people off using them is weight gain. Though I am unsure as to whether this is a problem to people because of the health aspect or the physical appearance. My personal point of view is that as long as you are healthy within then why worry about the weight gain – surely having medication that makes you ‘sane’ is the important part to think about.
How to cope with the effects of the medication is purely up to you and the affects you have. All medication works differently on one person to the next, though you may find similarities with people you come into contact with. How to cope with short term memory loss (really, it’s not as bad as it sounds), what about hair loss (my personal favourite), the concentration of a gold fish (theirs maybe longer to be fair). You learn to live life with the side effects and find new and imaginative ways to deal with them. Your life is not over because you develop a nervous twitch when you are not nervous.
Then on top of all of this, take yourself back to the basics – eat healthy and exercise. This may sound simple in theory, but when the whole world is on top of you and there is nothing but darkness around, eating your greens is the last thing you think of.
Try to get out every day, even if it is to the local corner shop to buy milk or a newspaper. A short amount of exercise is better than nothing at all. Then aim for a certain amount of fruit in your diet each day. Once you have the strength you can develop these into larger events and healthier meals.
Healthcare professionals recommend that you exercise moderately (fast paced walking) for at least 30 minutes three times a week and 5 portions of fruit and veg each day. Unfortunately carrot cake does not count as one of your veggies a day.
This may sound as though there is a lot to take in, so I think that the important thing to say is don’t lose hope. The old cliché of there being a light at the end of the tunnel does really say something about mental wellbeing and recovery. You can fulfil your life to reach your potential and it is a long and hard journey, but would it as satisfying if it wasn’t.
Who wants to be normal anyway? Normal is boring.
Who is a ‘spoonie’? (chronickatie.com)