Motivating Myself Without Medication
Posted by rose-minded
12th Oct 2017

I'm so happy to have found a place like SANE that also supports mental health, suicide prevention, and reducing stigma in the mental health community. Allowing people to share their stories is so important, and I'm happy and nervous I get to share mine! Sharing your story can be really nerve-wracking, but I've had a little practice posting about my personal story dealing with clinical depression on my own blog. Here is my post about motivating myself, without medication.

Normally, I take psychotropic medicine. This means, I take psychiatric drugs that help with my mental illnesses. Many people do, probably more than you think, and I've stopped feeling crazy because I happen to take them. I used to be affected by the stigma surrounding mental health, even when it came to my own treatment and recovery, but I no longer worry about what someone might think if they find out I take medicine. If they don't like it, we don't have to be friends. Simple. I need supportive people in my life anyway, and I feel a lot of people who deal with mental illness feel the same way.

Recently I've had problems with getting my medication. I switched psychiatrists, and my pharmacy has caused me problems since Day 1. However, going without my Prozac is much more difficult than going without my Vyvanse. I was off my Prozac for about a month, and I felt the side effects from not taking an antidepressant about a week after I stopped. I stopped abruptly, because I wasn't prepared to switch doctors, and so when the time came and I ran out of my medication, I was left in the dark. I take responsibility for not planning ahead, and I don't blame any doctors or pharmacy for this problem, but the institutions in which I rely on for these medications were unstable at the time.

Going off Prozac was difficult. I wasn't prepared for the suicidal thoughts, emotional outbursts, and mood swings that would accompany my month without the medicine. I thought life wouldn't get better, and my usual positive thoughts (usual to me when I'm taking medication regularly) were replaced by thoughts of hopelessness and despair. I learned two lessons from this surprise medicine break:

1. I need to be more proactive in my treatment and recovery. I cannot rely on other people to always help me and give me crutches when work needs to be done. This is my mental health, and I need to take charge.

2. I need Prozac. Without the medication, I reverted straight back to my depressive episodes and symptoms of anxiety. I was a mess, and the break really opened my eyes to how much my antidepressant was helping me.

My next break in medication was extremely short, as in I went one day without my Vyvanse. If you're not familiar with Vyvanse, it's a stimulant prescribed for focus, attention, and impulse-control. Unlike Prozac, which can take up to a week to two weeks to begin working in your body, Vyvanse works right away when you take it. That's why the day I didn't take it, I noticed it tremendously. My energy was low, I felt asleep all day, and I couldn't focus in school. My doctors had accidentally forgotten to fill out something on my written prescription, and I had to wait a day before I could go back and pick up a new one. The last time this happened (yes, this has happened a couple times before actually) I was so affected by the lack of medication that I was too unmotivated to go pick up my medication, even when I needed it.

This morning, I slept through my alarms. Yesterday was the day I went without my Vyvanse. I never am late to school, yet this morning I was rushing through my room trying to make up for lost time. I couldn't focus in my morning class, and that's when I realized I have to take action for myself and my well-being. I drove directly from school to get my new prescription, and waited the 20 minutes at the pharmacy so I couldn't make any excuses not to go back the same day. I took my medication when I got home, and that is why I'm able to write this blog post. I had to motivate myself by learning from past experiences, and prioritizing my mental wellness, in order to get my medication and get back to focusing on my well-being.

Your mental wellness is always a priority, and there shouldn't be any excuses as to why you can't stress it's importance in your own life. Personal responsibility is a hard lesson to learn, but I hope everyone eventually goes through an experience that teaches the value in personal responsibility, because it will have a huge impact on your recovery. Thanks for reading!

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