Talk about Your Medicines Month

medicines

I was invited by the American Recall Center to blog about my medicines in October, and I agreed– there is still such a stigma attached to taking medication for mental illness (and to mental illness itself!), and I think that talking about things reduces stigma.

I started my search for a medication for my OCD as soon as I was diagnosed, which was back in 2003 or 2004.  It took five years before I ended up with the right “cocktail.”

The five years included:
* 3 psychiatrists
* 1 physician’s assistant
* SSRIs
* SNRIs
* TCAs
* a beta-blocker that I was allergic to (which almost killed me)
* tremors
blocking/stuttering
* jello-legs
* drymouth
* lethargy
* vision blackouts
* rapid weight gain
* & a year in the middle when I avoided all medication due to the above.

But when I started meeting with my former psychiatrist (the now-retired OCD expert Dr. Suck Won Kim), he got me onto the right medication almost immediately. These days, I take a combination of Prozac (SSRI), Effexor XR (SNRI), and a teensy dose of Risperidone (an anti-psychotic).

Am I ashamed?

HA!

NO.

Am I grateful?

YES.

Do I rock the boat?

Not usually. Though my current psychiatrist (also a lovely, amazing man) helps me to feel confident in making slight changes to my regime as needed. For example, I now take Ativan for panic as needed.

Do I think medication is the right choice for all people with OCD?

No. It varies from person to person, and in EVERY case, I would recommend ERP as the first/best treatment. If I had to choose between my medication or my twelve weeks of ERP, ERP would win every time.

But isn’t taking medication like saying I don’t trust God to heal me?

What if medication is part of how God is healing me? Let me tell you a story about three boats

Want to join the discussion? Comment below about your medicines (or mine!).

Just One Dose

I had such a hard day recently– my anxiety levels were higher than usual (“usual” being not too bad for the last four years– thanks, ERP!).  I felt this strange depression, a strong desire to sleep, and a hovering sadness that wouldn’t lift.  My blood pressure felt through the roof, and the stress took a very physical toll on my body: by the time I crawled into bed for the night, my shoulders felt like cement blocks and my arms were throbbing with pain.

I realized that– while racing out the door that morning– I had not taken my Effexor XR or my Prozac.

Just one dose missed, and it was so terribly evident.

I have acknowledged that I may be on medication for the rest of my life, and I’m okay with it.  In fact, I’m quite protective over my right to take medication.

I read this awesome related post on the OCD Foundation’s blog recently.  And it turned out that Alison, the blogger, lives in Minneapolis … so we got coffee.*  Love my OCD community!

* And since then, we’ve accepted new roles at the Twin Cities affiliate of the International OCD Foundation (I’ll be the communications director)  … and have an event planned in Minneapolis for OCD awareness week!  Exciting!

prozac morning