It’s bank holiday. Hoorah!
It’s also a week today since I started my new medication. I safely weaned off the old meds to try this one.
In terms of side effects I’ve had a few but they’ve not been too bad (touch wood!) Let’s see – in the ‘very common’ section is: insomnia, anxiety and getting jittery. Tick, tick and tick. It’s mainly the sleep and anxiety that’s been affecting my day to day. They’ve all been slightly mangable luckily, though.
It was really hard to try and find a ‘good time’ to make the switch. I tried whilst still in my old job as I wanted to ‘try before going into more change in case it didn’t work out’. As any frequent readers will know, that didn’t work out…I was ill-ly advised on how to switch and suffered the shakes, a sense of deliriousness and disassociation all whilst being showered in my own sweat (what beautiful imagery!). I then was scared of changing but also didn’t want to risk that in my first week of a new job (anxiety provoking enough as it is) so I waited a while and left it to start on a weekend where I had very little plans and was staying mostly at home in the safety net of my hubby to be.
It was ok, a bit daunting, but I did it. And here I type one week in. It’s not easy to do these things whilst working though…but I didn’t want to take time out of a new job to try. Luckily, I can work fairly flexibly which helps around the abnormal sleep patterns and random bursts of lethargy, but it doesn’t help you feel good about yourself. I couldn’t exercise in case I wore myself out because I felt quite drained and exhausted without doing anything strenuous as it was. ‘Exercise sometimes gives you more energy’ you may be thinking – except I literally couldn’t. I felt knocked out to the extent of the heavy weight in which depression knocks you out with. The heat didn’t help either. But there will never be the ‘perfect’ time to switch/come off meds, I just recommend having a few things in place if you can to make the transition easier:
For example, I told a few key people what was happening – incase there were any side effects they’d need to be aware of. This included my immediate support network and even some friends who don’t quite get it (because I’m trying to be more open and wishing that one day they may *want to* understand). It also included my manager. Working in a mental health charity you can assume it’s less daunting to confide and open up but I still have self stigma especially when I’m not myself and my self esteem weakens as I feel unworthy and unable.
I also didn’t make many plans after work incase I had side effects (I can still call people and connect in other ways). This was right to do as there’s no way after the working week i’d have had spare energy for being a social bean…”but that’s so sad, life is for living” you may think and my inner voice squeals out to me. Yes, I know. And perhaps I don’t quite have the balance right, but do I have a large pool of choice? I think not. Life is for living but I’d also like to make a living. When I’m well I’m also ambitious. The sky is the limit. I feel I have little choice but to stride on and hope that one day, one sweet day…I’ll find a medication (or live without) that works for me. That enables me to be me. (I often wander who that is when I’m under the influence of hormones and drugs) and thrive.
Despite this, I don’t seek sorrow. I’m actually full of gratitude and grateful for what I do have. A beeeeautiful large family (which includes friends), physical health as much as it can be without being affected by my mental, and my humour. Oh what I’d do without that!!
This week has also showed me the power of drugs. When I was on Sertraline I only had nausea side effects at the beginning. This one, I can really feel some affect to my cognition and after reading a lot more about mental health drugs and working in the field I’m curious yet typically anxious to see what will happen when I ‘find the right(ish) time’ to increase the dose where it’s supposed to do its job for my symptoms (double or triple).
Taking medication isn’t weak, it’s brave. It may not be for everyone, and I for one at first was extremely against it…but I’m open, and ready as I’ll ever be…
Abs X 💜