The Importance of Taking Meds … Even if you feel well!

The Importance of Taking Your Medication Even if You Feel Well

Medication management!  What is it?  Maybe you are newly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder or maybe you have had your diagnosis for a long time.  For me, personally, my diagnosis came when I was 21-years-old.  That was over 20 years ago now.

For me, after my diagnosis initially, I would stop taking my medication if I felt well.  I didn’t understand at first that I had to continue my medication management in order to maintain any type of normalcy.  And I realize that a sense of normalcy is different for each patient.  So, after consulting with my psychiatrist several times he finally talked me into taking my medications every single day versus only when I wanted to.  Then, only to quit taking them again. Plus, I would end up either crashing or going up into a manic high landing myself right in the psychiatric unit of our local hospital.  It took several times of me falling on my face before I learned.

Medication management is vital to staying stable.  Everybody’s version of stable is different.  I am sure we all have varying degrees of the illness itself.  For me, I have required more medication as I have gotten older.  Medication helps us stay sane!  Literally!  We need to stay on our medication in order to function at all.  I don’t think I am just talking about myself here either.  I have met many patients who struggle with medication management.  I believe it’s normal.  However, after I got married and had my three boys did I realize that I HAD to stay on meds in order to function as a wife and mother.  I am not perfect by any means.  I have crashed, been on highs and landed myself in the hospital.  Sometimes, medications are NOT fool-proof.

Staying on your medications will help you in the long run.  Hopefully, when you are stable on your medications you can learn what your triggers are so you don’t have to go to the hospital or have medication dosage changes.  However, dose changes happen all the time.  I have been unstable since September of this year.  We have been working on getting me back to my baseline regarding my mood.  It is not uncommon to crash or have highs while on meds, too.  It’s part of the Bipolar game. Is it fun?  I say a resounding no to that!  I have been experiencing hypomania for quite some time only to change to a mixed state this last week.  Medication changes have happened numerous times and I am still cycling all over the place.  I have been able to feel like I have some power by keeping myself out of the hospital.  I was determined not to go there this time.  However, I don’t recommend that if you do not have adequate support.  My husband was right by my side helping me stay out of the hospital.  I am now in a mixed state and see my Doctor the beginning of January.

One thing I have learned is that education is power.  Educating oneself on the illness, medications, and treatments available helps a person take control of their diagnosis.

Another thing that patients struggle with is side effects.  I hate them!  Every single medication I take right now causes drowsiness!  So, I wake up in the morning feeling snowed. I know they stink and aren’t fun!  After that snowed feeling wears off I can function.  If the side effects are too disturbing be sure and discuss them with your Doctor.  He/she needs to know how you feel.  If your Doctor isn’t one that listens to you or isn’t interested in your well-being, I suggest you find another practitioner.  Keep trying and keep taking your meds.  Don’t give up!

Medications?  Vital part of being stable!  You can do it!  Keep it up!  And once you are stable and you are taking care of yourself, pat yourself on the back.

We Bipolar patients more than deserve it!

One thought on “The Importance of Taking Meds … Even if you feel well!

  1. My boyfriend of over a year, was diagnosed about 6 months ago, as bipolar. He started taking meds and for a short while they seemed to help. He decided that he didn’t like the way he felt on meds. That he didn’t like the “flat” feeling. Shortly after he crashed…. went into a severe depression and almost couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Nothing mattered is what he would tell me, that nothing he did made a difference. Finally he realized that he couldn’t do this line, so he talked to his doctor and she put him on a different cocktail of meds. Now, we hit another wall. He felt like “he wasn’t crazy enough” to be taking 3 different meds daily. I try to talk to him, explain that I don’t believe he is crazy at all, he just needs a bit of assistance in controlling the extremes. He agreed that he would take the meds. Then started adjusting them himself. In our long talks about this what he misses are the highs, on meds he can’t find that feeling of “euphoria” which leads him down the never-ending search for it. Together we have been through some pretty rough times. I have done extensive reading on bipolar to try and understand. In all the reading and research I have done I know now I will never understand. I can only love hum and support him through everything. As of today he has been off his meds for two weeks, stating “I feel better this way”, “I’m more in control of myself”. This he is not, not pin control, not able to realize what he is doing to himself or others. I really try very hard to not make it about me because its not. I struggle at times with presenting the facts logically…. rather than emotionally. That’s when he pushes me away, and stops talking.
    We have been through many (for lack of other words) situations that are difficult to handle. I have reached out to many people looking for answers. I know there are no answers to any of my questions only an understanding. He has pushed me away and told me he didn’t love me anymore, he wanted to be alone, that I keep him feeling bad. Turned to other women to find that “euphoria” that he seeks. The other women were only online, but he did at one point say he was moving to another state to find out the truth. That all passed and he opened up and started talking to me about his thoughts and feelings. Giving me a chance to assist in giving him the support he needs. I am getting pretty good at identifying, his mood changes. And usually we can talk and change it before it happens (when he is on meds). Right now not on meds I am helpless. Everything I say or do presents a battle between us. In talking to him, I’m damned if I do…. and damned if I don’t.
    I know I cannot make him see that he needs his meds, nor can his doctor. He needs to be the one who realizes and makes that decision. But when? After he loses his job? Lands himself in the hospital again?
    I love him, I love us….. but with that said there is only so much I can do for him. On a good day he knows that, believes that. On a not so good day he doesn’t know why I stay with him, and does everything in his power to break it. I need help, advise… on how (if) I can gently coax him back into taking his meds.
    Thanks so much for anyone who can give me any further insight.
    Have an amazing day.
    Sincerely, Kerrie

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