D Kai Wilson / Mental wellness / Resources · July 13, 2011 3

Meds vs no meds

One of the biggest post requests that we’ve had, and something that is covered in the book (which is currently in its second edition and being set up as a self-published book, which will be available at $2.99 on Smashwords/KDP in November),  is about medication.  So I thought I’d answer a couple of questions and see whether some of it can be discussed in a calm way – the reason, so far, we’ve avoided this conversation is because we’ve felt and seen outrage in the community.

So, before I start, I thought I’d say one thing.
YOU CANNOT CHOOSE to take meds based on one blog post.  YOU MUST RESEARCH!

My meds

After ten years of being med free, last year, I had a horrible time when we moved.  Between moving and my university career (which got put back a year after struggling through all of it) I broke and spent four weeks incredibly depressed – I was put onto medication that made me very manic once it took effect, and then, finally, they decided that I have both a personality disorder (which explained why in part I hated myself as much as I did) and that I’m also bipolar.  So I was prescribed Seroquel (Quetiapine).  I was also given antidepressants, which I came off of when they interacted with my migraine meds.

What I learned

The first thing I learned was that I wasn’t as ‘aware’ of what meds could do for me as I thought.  I had chosen from earlier experiences, to refuse meds, and that may have been the wrong choice.  I also learned that I had a severe problem with anxiety, something that I thought was just ‘normal’.  When that lifted after two weeks on Seroquel, I was amazed and gratified.
But I’ve had to stop taking them, as we’re planning on having children, and I’ve seen studies that suggest Seroquel isn’t suitable during pregnancy.  My GP was a bit concerned about it, but I’m making that educated choice after researching.

On or off meds

It’s of vital importance to understand that being *on* or *off* meds isn’t something that you should do lightly.  Both are lifestyle choices, and both can change your life, positively and possibly negatively.  It’s critical to understand that you’ll have side effects, either mild or severe from most meds, even if that side effect is taking away your anxiety.  It’s also possible, in some cases that you will have unwanted side effects such as excess sedation.  I never grew used to how tired Seroquel made me, or, at least, I never learned when I could take them before going to bed.
You may also need to work with a dietician or avoid certain foods, based on interactions.  You may gain weight.  You may have other problems.  But the important thing to look at is whether it improves your lives.

Your thoughts

So – to open the floor to you – what are your experiences with meds.  Please keep the conversation calm, and let people know how you feel, but also respect others opinions.  I’d love to hear from you though.