Medication for mental health problems tend to get a lot of bad press, or inaccurate press. There are lots of stories of pill shaming, reasons why medication is bad and it puts guilt upon those who have to take these medications. Yes, ‘have to’ because I know that I do not function without medication. Do not worry about me getting addicted to my antidepressants, worry about me taking my life or ending up getting detained under the mental health act if I don’t take them. There is also the coverage that portrays medication as ‘happy pills’ and simplifies them into popping a pill and being okay, that isn’t the case either. I find that my medication makes life manageable, makes my illness manageable. It doesn’t make my life like a fairytale and neither does it make me happy or recovered. Whilst my medication does positively impact my life, I, like many, struggle with side effects.
It’s always worse when you start a medication, often side effects appear and disappear within the first two weeks of taking a medication and they take shape in so many forms. I have been dry heaving and crying in the bathroom after the sickness side effect of a medication that led to me becoming too afraid to take any tablets for a long time. I have laid in bed squeezing my eyes shut, fists gripping the duvet and praying that I wouldn’t be sick. I had one medication cause restless legs, it was meant to help me sleep but I spent the night awake with aching legs that I HAD to move constantly. The headaches, the dizziness, the racing heart, the hunger. I can hold my hands up and honestly say that going onto a new medication can be horrible and it can be very difficult to trust that the side effects will go away, it’s just a case of tolerating the side effects until they disappear. The benefits of the medication far out way the side effects though, it was worth feeling a bit unwell to feel so much better mentally and to be able to function as a human being. I still get the occasional headache and the nausea but I am at home and living my life rather than in hospital so it is worth it. I can tolerate a little bit of horrible stuff in order to have a better quality of life.