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!