Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Fantastic Four: My life and the medication that saved it.

There was a joyous time in my life where I took the occasional pill for headaches, prenatals when I was pregnant and sleeping pills for my insomnia. That time seems so long ago now. Once I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder… that all changed.
I call them the Fantastic Four.
Yes the combination of Lexapro, Trileptal, Welbutrin and Ativan is the stuff of champions.  I can’t make it through a day without them. I know there are some of you that feel one should not be dependent on prescription pills to make it through the day.
That is what I believed at one time in my life. I tried just therapy first and we soon discovered that therapy just might not be enough…at least that is what they told me. I was skeptical. I didn’t want to take pills that would change me.

I saw a psychologist that informed me that I needed medication for my anxiety and depression. I filled the prescription but I cried when it was time to take them. My life revolves around my creativity and writing is a huge part of my life. I wondered how much would these pills change me? Maybe I needed to be a little crazy to do what I do? Would the characters that I write about talk to me anymore?
I have heard stories about people who take medication and become zombies. They lose themselves. They can longer do what they used to do. Artists in general. That terrified me.
I sat on the edge of my bed and I cried. My husband kneeled in front of me. He didn’t want to see me cry or have to take medication but he was there on the outside looking in and he knew how I struggled.
He was witness to me staying up to 4 in the morning and then getting up at 7:30am getting the kids ready for food. He witnessed me not wanting to leave the house because of my Social anxiety. He was there during my random crying fits and he was there when I wouldn’t shower for weeks because I was so depressed.
He did not want me to have to take medication…but he wanted me to get better and if these pills would do that then I at least needed to give them a try.
So I began two of the four and I began to feel better. Lexapro and Ativan helped me so much. Then we discovered other systems. Excessive shopping to the point where I was spending money we did not have and it was close to tearing me and my marriage apart. My irritability reached new levels and I couldn’t control it.
That is when I talked to my psychologist again and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II. Then I was given Trileptal and Welbutrin to focus and give me energy.
I have been on my medication for a couple of years now and I feel better than I have ever felt before.  My goodness, I wake up in a fairly decent mood. I don’t yell or feel irritated as much by life. I want to get off the couch in the morning. I shower regularly.  I write more. My creativity is still there and I even have more energy to complete a novel in a month.  Who I am has not changed.  I am just a better me. I’m not a zombie.
Everyone around me is happier because they don’t have to worry about me as much. As long as I take my medication I feel like I can live a normal life. I can take on the world.
I admit, there have been some side effects for me. Some medications have been adjusted to find the proper dosage that works better for me. But with all that said, the good feeling I feel every day makes it worth it. I weighed the pros and cons  and the cons come nowhere close to the good and amazing things the medication has done for me and for my life.
The reason why I wrote this post is to implore you. If you are taking meds and they are working, please don’t assume you just got better and the pills had nothing to do with it. If you want to get off your meds work with your doctor to wean you off slowly and safely. I care about you and I do not want you to just stop taking and spiral down into a worse place. Long term medication may not work for everyone but if you are on them please, please take them until your doctor says it is okay for you to get off them. Be Safe.


  1. I'm glad you've found the right prescriptions to help you. Taking medicine is no fun, but if it helps you get better and enjoy life, then taking it is more important. :)

  2. Thank you. I agree. I hate taking all the pills but it makes all of us have a better quality of life.

  3. Right on. For some of us, these medications are a matter of survival. My 2 latest blog posts (ordinaryjer.blogspot.com) address the physical reality of mental illness, and what anti-depressants are and what they are not. Good advice on not quitting a medication without the close guidance of your doctor. I tried weaning myself off my SSRI with my doctor's guidance... and it wasn't pretty. I had to resign myself to the fact that some people must take heart medications for the rest of their lives, to survive, and I must take an SSRI. I don't like it, but there it is.