Anyone else scared of psychiatric medication?

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Candid

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Re: Anyone else scared of psychiatric medication?
« Reply #45 on: September 17, 2017, 11:03:53 AM »
I was definitely wary of medication before the head injury, but since then, I'm terrified to interrupt whatever healing remains, and I can't bring myself to trust doctors.

Indeed, sister!  For years I took various anti-depressants on a short-term basis, dropping them cold turkey because I perceived no positive result, and feeling better (as you say, more empowered) off them than on.  For the past year I've been homeless but not on the street, my meagre personal belongings in storage, and in a fraught domestic situation.  In that time I've taken four or five prescribed drugs, the first ones ADs that served only to make matters worse, more recently two Z-pills that failed to knock me out in safe doses, plus an over-the-counter antihistamine that usually flattens me and that the psychiatrist said was harmful to the brain :roll:.  That one I still take when I'm desperate, because as you will appreciate, weeks of getting at best five hours -- and often none -- makes literally everything fall apart. The AH prevents lying awake in anguish over lying awake, but it's a dreamless black hole that leaves me reeling in the mornings and well under par mentally until I face the issue of bedtime again.

I believe the fastest way out of my current acute insomnia would be a couple of weeks in a luxury health resort with good food, congenial company, gentle exercise, sumptuous massages and a comfortable bed in a well-ventilated room.  Dream on, Candid!  I had a week in such a place three years ago (a close friend paid for us both) and it was fantastic while it lasted -- but obviously you need a decent environment to go to afterwards.

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when I experience anxiety and/or depression I often feel like my brain just needs rest and quiet. The thought of flooding it with chemicals, when it feels like I need a break from overstimulation, is pretty unappealing.

I agree.  I recently did a Living With Brain Injury course and it was repeatedly made clear to us that sleep was vital to healing from stroke or traumatic brain injury.  They told us -- none of whom was working -- to take a nap every afternoon.  As it happens, today is the second anniversary of coming off my pushbike while careering downhill, and landing on the right side of my head.  Two years ago I was in hospital, and had still to face the decision for surgical reconstruction that could have blinded my right eye but didn't, soon to be followed by psychosis that put me in hospital for three months. During that time, not only was I filled with inappropriate  drugs; I was woken several times through the night by Suicide Watch, which would continue during the day if I went back to bed.  Most of the other inmates slept through it, but hypervigilance ensures no one can ever catch me asleep no matter what I've taken.  For example, I was writing in bed by torchlight almost immediately after surgery under anaesthetic.

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I'm still planning to meet with a psychiatrist at an integrative facility, and hopefully they will be able to prescribe treatment (either conventional or alternative) that suits my needs.

That sounds wonderful :cheer:.  And expensive  :'(.

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It's comforting and empowering, however, to know that I have the option to refuse treatment if it doesn't feel right, and I don't have to accept diagnoses from doctors who don't take my concerns seriously.

I have that too, and I'm running through the options rather quickly.  The latest assessment (by a psychologist I liked straight away) said that while I had been through a long list of major traumas, I showed no symptoms of PTSD and was being discharged from the Trauma Service in which I'd been waiting for help since February.  The woman knew about CPTSD and agreed I had it, but in her written report to my GP she didn't use the C once, and made only a blink-and-you'll-miss-it reference to ACE.  I don't know what will happen next, but I strongly suspect... nothing. 

Both she and a female GP (I see a different one each time I go to the same NHS surgery) expressed great concern when they saw my haggard face and heard me say I was 'sleeping' with my eyes open and while walking around, including crossing busy roads.  The psychologist was nearly two weeks ago and the GP some time before that.  Since then I've done the first of eight weeks as an intern, which may or may not lead to paid work that would eventually get me somewhere to live, and I'll be on the job again tomorrow. 

Possibly I'm still too coherent for anyone to believe that the past several weeks have been like one very long day with occasional brief naps.  I've emailed the neuroscience department of the nearest university, outlining my situation and offering myself for whatever research they might be doing on cerebral activity.  That was 10 days ago, and no reply.

I think it would be a shame, to put it mildly, if I segued straight from this into early-onset dementia in a nursing home  -- but with no solution in sight I can't rule that out.

My self-talk includes: Hold on, little soldier.  Never give up.  You'll get out of this by your own efforts alone, and the triumph will be all the sweeter for that.

Re: Anyone else scared of psychiatric medication?
« Reply #46 on: September 19, 2017, 02:45:58 AM »
I'm so sorry to hear about your situation, but I admire you for having the strength to encourage yourself and keep going. 

I believe the fastest way out of my current acute insomnia would be a couple of weeks in a luxury health resort with good food, congenial company, gentle exercise, sumptuous massages and a comfortable bed in a well-ventilated room.  Dream on, Candid!  I had a week in such a place three years ago (a close friend paid for us both) and it was fantastic while it lasted -- but obviously you need a decent environment to go to afterwards.

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when I experience anxiety and/or depression I often feel like my brain just needs rest and quiet. The thought of flooding it with chemicals, when it feels like I need a break from overstimulation, is pretty unappealing.

I agree.  I recently did a Living With Brain Injury course and it was repeatedly made clear to us that sleep was vital to healing from stroke or traumatic brain injury.  They told us -- none of whom was working -- to take a nap every afternoon.  As it happens, today is the second anniversary of coming off my pushbike while careering downhill, and landing on the right side of my head.  Two years ago I was in hospital, and had still to face the decision for surgical reconstruction that could have blinded my right eye but didn't, soon to be followed by psychosis that put me in hospital for three months. During that time, not only was I filled with inappropriate  drugs; I was woken several times through the night by Suicide Watch, which would continue during the day if I went back to bed.  Most of the other inmates slept through it, but hypervigilance ensures no one can ever catch me asleep no matter what I've taken.  For example, I was writing in bed by torchlight almost immediately after surgery under anaesthetic.

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I'm still planning to meet with a psychiatrist at an integrative facility, and hopefully they will be able to prescribe treatment (either conventional or alternative) that suits my needs.

That sounds wonderful :cheer:.  And expensive  :'(.

Without going into detail about my personal political ideology, everything you described just reaffirms for me that quality of life is deeply class-segregated. I'm grateful to have a roof over my head and a crappy but more or less steady job, but am still living below the poverty line and without health insurance in the US, so whatever treatment I get will unfortunately mean taking on some debt. I'm hoping it will be worthwhile. It's appalling to think that even in a country (presumably the UK?) with universal health care, you still have to account for the opportunity costs of simply being mortal. I've also had doctors make useless recommendations that I simply couldn't afford, so I ultimately couldn't get meaningful treatment for the complaint that brought me to them in the first place. There are also plenty of people here who go bankrupt or die because they can't afford treatment - for example, the father of a friend of mine nearly died from an easily treated dental infection because his insurance company refused to pay for it, so my friend took out a personal loan to pay for the surgery.  I'd like to hope that my generation and younger will help to build a society that recognizes the societal and moral costs of monetizing health, and provides meaningful care for everyone who needs it.

Your self-talk is inspiring, and I sincerely hope you find rest, shelter, and well-paid work very soon. Thank you so much again for sharing your experiences.

Re: Anyone else scared of psychiatric medication?
« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2017, 03:21:53 AM »
Thank you for sharing your experiences, Lilfae. I totally understand where you are coming from, and I appreciate you including the fact that you live in a country that regulates pharmaceutical drugs strictly. I'm sure most people outside the US are aware of how bad it is to be sick here, but I think this is a really important distinction to make, as pharmaceutical companies can advertise pretty freely on TV and in print, and often give doctors expensive incentives like vacation vouchers, tickets to sports games, etc. to prescribe their drugs. My parents are medical professionals, and to their credit, always refused these kinds of 'gifts' from pharmaceutical representatives. Pharmaceutical companies also have one of the biggest lobbies in the country, and have a fairly clear influence on our politics.

All of these things, plus my own personal history make me pretty afraid of psychiatric drugs, but I do understand that there are people (including many of my friends) who benefit from them. Most friends I've spoken to feel that the benefits outweigh the costs or side-effects for them, and I would never try to lecture them or tell them to stop.

 
I don't really remember if they had any affect on my depression at the time, but it reduced my suicidal tendencies. And they lowered my anxiety levels to a manageable state. 
 
When I finally got my mind "turned on " again I refused medical treatment except for Sobril. I was too ashamed of my body and I couldn't handle it getting any bigger. I've got a hormonal imbalance that affects my ability to lose weight.

But I do know people that needs medication. They do not function at all without them. And at times even barely functions with them.
And I can get behind the thought that medications should only be used for short amount of time, to give you a buffer through the darkest hours.


Yes, I can absolutely see how the medication helped to give you a 'boost' to get out of the depression - this is something my therapist has suggested to me several times. What I struggle with a lot is knowing if my anxiety/depression is "severe" enough to necessitate medication, or if I'm just in denial about it. My hope is that a short period on medication would be the most that I need to help with my anxiety, and that after that, I'd be able to manage it on my own with continued therapy, diet, and exercise.  It's really encouraging to hear that you were able to stop taking the meds, although, like I said, I don't fault others for taking them long-term if it gives them relief and allows them to live productive and happy lives. Thank you so much again for sharing your experiences.