When I was diagnosed with depression nearly fifteen years ago, I was prescribed medication. I didn’t agree with it at the time, but I felt I didn’t have much of a choice considering the involuntary circumstances of the hospital stay where I got an official diagnosis. The meds made me feel intensely more suicidal, which I felt I couldn’t express without being considered a risk to myself and thrown back into the hospital. (Side note: It wasn’t understood that anti-depressants affect the brain differently if you’re under the age of 25.) Not that it mattered because I ended up back in the hospital anyways after trying to commit suicide on the pills I was prescribed a couple months later.
There were two things from that hospital stay I found shocking:
- The revelation that not having a full bottle of anti-depressants was what saved me from having permanent brain damage.
- The doctor wanting to immediately get me on something else despite the fact it hadn’t even been a full day since I tried committing suicide on the last thing he prescribed me and I was still walking like a drunken sailor due to the effects of swallowing 40+ pills the previous afternoon.
I questioned him on why he would want me to get in a different med so soon after the drastic outcome of the first med he prescribed to me and just hope the next pill works out. “It feels like you want me to play Russian Roulette and that’s bullshit,” I told him. I decided I wasn’t going to ever take medication for depression ever again.
Since I couldn’t afford therapy and wasn’t on a medication regimen, I just shoved everything down for about 12 years. I figured a lot of my depression had to do with my living situation with my mother, which was true, but the depression and anxiety never completely went away even after moving out of her place for good. There came a point in 2017 when I finally had to admit that I needed help, which ultimately meant getting on a medication regimen.
I learned that my body does not react well to medication and I’m playing this game of medication Russian Roulette that I was against playing to begin with.
Perhaps a visual would better explain just how many medication switches I have had.
This isn’t even all of them—just the ones I haven’t gotten around to properly disposing of. This isn’t including the meds I’m currently taking. Most of these were prescribed within the last couple of years. Not every bottle represents a different med–many are dosage adjustments (typically, we’d go lower to see if that helped with the side effects and higher if we felt it was working but could use an extra boost)
It’s so frustrating having a body that doesn’t adapt well to medication. If they have any effect at all, I have to see if I’ll end up having side effect that are so nasty that they defeat the purpose of being on the medication in the first place or are so concerning that I have to get off them immediately. I’ve been through so many of the generics for depression and anxiety that I had to print a formulary for my doctor to show what my insurance would cover.
Playing this game of medication roulette gets so tiring and I would like to go several months without having to make any adjustments or med changes.