Just Beneath the Surface

Every ad for medications list a string of potential side-effects that equal out to being more horrifying than whatever it is supposed to treat. What is difficult to parse out in a potential medication is that any suspected side-effect must be reported. Did a person experience flu-like symptoms due to the drug, or did they have the flu while taking the drug? The examples could go on. It can be a gamble, particularly since a known side-effect doesn’t mean it will affect everyone similarly. It can be a trial to test out a medication and realize that it isn’t effective for yourself. Then again, there is also the chance that it does work as expected and that can be it’s own tribulation.

I am on Abilify, Lamotrigine, Sertraline, and Aripiprazole to control the symptoms of Bipolar 2 and anxiety. Years of tweaking has led to this combination and it works for me. I have a lifetime of issues with mild and major episodes with depression being arguably the worst. They have contributed to my nonexistent sex drive (something that may be horrifying to some) and increase my lethargy. It’s difficult to accomplish much when there is no energy to complete a task. There have been spells of this due to the depression, but it is now a nearly constant issue. I don’t really notice any other side-effects, but there is a curious thing that has come about and that is an awareness of a mental health episode developing, yet failing to manifest.

Typically a person is not aware that they are having an episode until long after it starts or until it has passed. That had always been my case, and occasionally having to deal with the repercussions of what had happened. Irritability, poor impulse control, paranoia, etc. can lead to significant problems. Now it is pretty much all on me, that is how well the medications have worked for me. However, like tonight, I can feel the occasional shift in my mental state even though it is held in check. It is unnerving to feel the bottom drop out of your world to a depressed state and find it gone within the hour. I suspect that these would have major episodes were I not under treatment. At other times I have experienced depression, hypomania, and/or anxiety in spite of everything. It doesn’t usually last long and has much to do with external factors such as dealing with relationship or career issues. Anyone with experience with mental health issues knows that it is complicated to explain it all, which is why I will cover bits and pieces of it as I see through my life. The point is that it can be discouraging to know that there is no perfect solution, but finding medications that help the quality of life are a considerable benefit.

Again, these are my thoughts on personal perspective and not universal truths. Maybe it will be of use to someone in need or grant insight to others. There are far more tools to research than just medication of course, and I will also return to these in time. Until then, thank you for taking the time to read my rambling writing and take care of yourselves, my friends.

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