All These Medications

“It’s difficult. I take a low dose of lithium nightly. I take an antidepressant for my fatness because prayer isn’t enough. My therapist hears confession twice a month, my shrink delivers the host, and I can stand in the woods and see the world spark.”

– David Lovelace, Scattershot: My Bipolar Family

If you haven’t read Madness by Marya Hornbacher, I highly recommend that you do so. Especially if you suffer from bipolar disorder. She’s not Stephen King, but the book is as equally terrifying as anything he has written.

As someone who does suffer from the illness, I look at the book, which is a devastatingly honest memoir, as a shield. It’s far from comforting, but it is a book that captures Hornbacher’s long and torturous journey.

There is a section at the end of the book about different facts about the disorder. Many I knew. Others could be terrifying footnotes to an already terrifying book. Hornbacher even lists her medication regimen in the section. I noticed we shared a few medications and it got me thinking.

About all these medications.

Over the course of seven years, I have been on countless medications, which I am currently paying for. I have always been consistent in taking my pills. I have never gone off my meds. I have never had any reason to. But I’m beginning to wonder if the damage done by years of taking numerous medications is just as bad as not have taken them at all.

I know, I know. That’s dramatic, but still. Pills that were supposed to help my brain function are now having if not an opposite effect, a disappointing and new one. I’m not experiencing the basic “blah” one might feel on antidepressants. I’m experiencing total loss. Of conversation. Of thought. My doctor is even wanting to wean me off some of my necessary meds because of some of the issues I am having. It’s just not possible.

There are so many different medications for bipolar disorder. It’s insane. I know everyone is different, but why not try and fix a medication that “doesn’t work” or has “flaws” instead of creating a new one with new problems?

Big Pharma, baby.

There is no cure or direct known cause of bipolar disorder so it’s impossible to create a universal drug to treat the illness. However, there must be a more stable medication or clinical treatment.

And they that’s Lithium. The problem? The same: the doctors throw a handful of other pills on top that.

Multiple medications are necessary in the treatment of bipolar disorder, but not all the ones that are typically prescribed.

On average, it takes someone with bipolar disorder 10 years to receive the proper diagnosis. That’s a lot of different pills.

If it it’s a 10-year journey, I’m three years out and am keeping my fingers crossed.

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