Tips for Starting Medication
Find the right medication can be difficult for people with Bipolar Disorder, I'm only going to speak about medication for that condition as that the only one with which I have any experience, so here are some practical tips when you start new medicines.
1. Have someone to check in with to see if the new medications are making you go full-tilt bozo. Sometimes you can have adverse reactions to new meds including triggering manic or depressed symptoms. Have someone with whom you can check-in for a more objective opinion. Although communication with these people can sometimes be difficult. Here's a quick guide to translate a sane person's language.
"Shut up!" - You're exhibiting signs of Hypomania.
"Just stop" - You're either depressed, anxious, manic or all of the above.
"What happened to the old you?" - Your friend is insensitive.
"Snap out of it." - You're depressed.
"Nothing is wrong." - You're anxious.
"I can't believe you." - You're unbelievably talented.
2. If you're taking Lamictal or some other sorts of mood stabilizers, buy some Biotin supplements. Your hair might start falling out and you might cry about in the shower because for years people have told you it's one of your most attractive features.
3. Read up on what you're taking. Don't act a fool and just take whatever your doc gives you. It's annoying but do some reading. I hate reading. It's the worst thing about writing, you have to read what you wrote.
4. Trust your doc. A lot of medication is trial and error, trust the process and you'll be fine. They have a degree in medicine, you most likely don't, and if you do you can't prescribe yourself anything which is I think the worst thing about being a doctor. That and the death thing.
5. Think of medication as medicine. Think of a mood stabilizer as Zicam or Emergen-C to prevent a mental-cold. You are using these medicines to prevent getting sick, not to alter your personality. Although sometimes an alteration is warranted, medication is like going to a psychological tailor, let's just take it in a little bit.
6. Don't be afraid to speak up to your doctor. You should trust them, yes, but if a medication is making you feel worse just tell them. They're there to help you find the best fit for you. An open line of communication is key. Here are some helpful phrases to use with your doctor.
"I just don't know anymore." - I'm depressed.
"I don't need medication." You're manic.
"I think I'm in a mixed state with elements of rapid cycling." - You're the doctor.
7. Keep a journal. Record your moods, there are plenty of good apps for this. Think of it as an old-timey journal and you are on an expedition and need to track the events for future generations. (Read: yourself.) Also, it helps to journal in the morning to see where you head it at. A lot of my morning journaling comes down to, "Boy am I tired."
8. Think of it as taking drugs. We can all agree that taking drugs is Super Cool it's what rock stars do after all. So, maybe you want to think of medication as a cool thing that you do. It's pretty righteous for you to take meds because you are a one smooth mother-just talking 'bout meds.
9. Just let yourself feel things. If you prevent yourself from leaning into how you're feeling you'll never know if the meds are working. If you're bummed feel bummed, if you hype feel hype, if you think the walls are talking to you, please see a doctor, etc.
10. Write a list of tips so you feel better about the process. I cannot stress this enough.