All of Those Side Effects

We’ve all been on medication and we’ve all had them, the side effects. And let’s face it, some of them can be pretty horrible. But where do we draw the line between being horrible and being worse than the actual illness. I’ve been through a lot of medications, about thirty, but that’s because they weren’t working. I can count on one hand the number of medications I’ve come off of because the side effects were worse than the illness. And that number is three. So let’s talk about these first.

Number one was a mood stabiliser that wasn’t very stabilising. It caused a mixed episode from hell and I ended up in hospital. Number two was an antidepressant which I was put on while in hospital which caused such intense psychotic symptoms that I had to be segregated from other people for two or three days. And number three, another mood stabiliser, it made me so sick that I literally couldn’t eat.

So those were the three that went above and beyond. But what about the rest? Well. First there’s the antidepressants. Except for my one MAOI I’m not allowed antidepressants, period. They make me manic, even on mood stabilisers they can still break through and cause mania. So no antidepressants. But they weren’t necessarily worse.

Then there’s the other mood stabilisers and antipsychotics. Honestly, just reading through the lists of side effects should make any sane person run a mile. Good thing I’m not sane. Seriously though, there’s some pretty nasty things on these lists; rashes, diarrhoea, tremors, vomiting, weight gain, blurred vision, hair loss. Just to name a few. My personal experiences have been hand tremors (seriously, you should see my hand writing, it’s horrific), blurred vision, tiredness, dry mouth, lack of concentration, memory problems, restless legs, acne, dandruff, excessive thirst. And that’s just the ones that I can think of.

You might think that that sounds like a lot. That surely it’s got to be worse than living with the illness itself. But it’s not. You learn to live with it. I’ve learnt to live with it. If the medications that I take, make living with Bipolar Disorder even a little easier than I’m all for it. I’ll take the side effects. I can live with the side effects. It’s easier than living with Bipolar Disorder alone.

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