That was part of the slang while I was at the ward. Meds then beds. Slowly but surely being on regular medication has become a part of my life and daily routines.
It’s not something that’s completely alien to me. I’m on a thyroid medication, which has to be taken about ten minutes before you eat anything in the morning. For a medication that I have to take for the rest of my life, it’s pretty low-effort.
Nowadays I’m on multiple medications, including my antidepressants which I’m taking both in the morning and in the evening. They need to be taken into a full stomach. If I’m not hungry, bitch too bad because otherwise you will be testing how does it feel when all of your insides are attempting to do a group hug.
In the evenings I also take a pill to help me sleep, and that on the other hand is to be taken without food. So in the evenings I usually leave a window of about two hours between medications.
There is not much room for improvisation or natural occurrences that come with everyday life. I have found that routines really help me and breaking them comes with a vengeance, so I can’t really stay up late when I’m visiting my friends for example.
When I was younger, we’d stay up talking until four in the morning. Now that just isn’t possible anymore. If I were to do that, it would take me at least a week to get back into my sleeping pattern because despite the pills, my sleep is something that has been disturbed the most by my depression and I might find myself wide awake despite taking the medication. I’m much more boring than I already was.
If I go to work the next day, I take yet another pill to help with my trembles. This one is highly addictive, so I don’t take it unless I have to. My situation isn’t half as bad as some people’s is but there is a lot of fuss that needs to be seen to every single day. I can’t miss a single pill.
So it all requires a bit of planning. If I go anywhere overnight, I need to take an impressive amount of pills with me. Sometimes I’m out when I’m supposed to be taking them, so I need to come across some water and/or something to eat, depending on which pill I need to take. I always have a chocolate bar with me in case I need emergency filling.
I take my pills in a shot glass one of my friends brought me from Crete. These might be the only kind of shots I’ll ever have again, because I stopped using alcohol completely once I got ill. There just wasn’t any point. I could drink myself to the point of passing out without feeling at all drunk. Also I know that everyone does their own thing, but alcohol is also a depressant and I just didn’t want to risk making myself feel worse.
Luckily sobriety is coming into fashion, so you’re not just limited to pop and tonic water when out. There are a lot of elaborate non-alcoholic cocktails you can have if you’re worried about standing out. If you ask for a lime in your tonic water, it looks just like a V&T.
Almost all the pills I’m on have sedative qualities, so I’ve gone from a person who’d never nap into taking a nap, or at least resting my eyes for an hour. It has also slowed down my thinking. My work is very quick-paced and I might be working on ten projects at once, while someone would call me out of the blue and I’d have to instantly remember what I had been working on with them two weeks ago. Now that just isn’t possible. It’s like cutting something with a dull restaurant knife instead of a scalpel.
I get confused. I forget things mid-sentence. I’m forgetful in general. I swear depression has made me dumber because I might spend ages in front of an open cabinet thinking was I putting something in there or taking something out.
Of course it’s frustrating but what can I do? I much prefer this to how I was feeling when I wasn’t on medication of any kind. I have no clue how long I’m going to be on these medications for, could well be for the rest of my life.
I’m not too worried about that though. I’d do anything to be well again and if that means I need to be asleep by eleven and will never have a drink again, so be it. The benefits surpass the negatives by a landslide.
I can actually get out of bed now. I’m not suicidal anymore, and have been able to go back to work on a part-time basis. I have been able to go join outings and go into social gatherings, something that just wouldn’t had happened a few months ago.
I have spoken about the fears and prejudices people have about antidepressants and medication in case of mental health in general. I feel like this is such a shame because it’s nothing different to taking my thyroid pill. Something isn’t working as it should, so it receives some artificial help. Nothing wrong with that.
I think are worried that their personality is going to change with the medication. This is just a guess on my part but there has to be a reason as to why people have so much fear around medications like antidepressants. Do they think that altering brain chemistry artificially is going to turn them into someone they don’t know?
Mate, hate to tell you this but if you’ve got depression the chances are that it’s already happened. I know that depression changed me. I became even more matter-of-fact, dry, cynical. I had no patience for anything or anyone. Depression ate me from the inside like a flesh-eating bacteria, taking my thoughts, emotions, likes and dislikes, hobbies and even love for my friends and family members.
Antidepressants don’t make you magically happy. They help you feel more like yourself. My medication has reintroduced me to the person who I was before I got ill. She makes occasional appearances but before the pills I thought she was gone for good.
A while ago I went into a big bookshop. I have always loved bookshops, to me they are a place of tranquillity. I’d imagine that’s what religious people might feel about going to a church.
I didn’t have a specific plan. I was just looking. As I moved along the shelves, I’d find myself picking out books and not putting them back on the shelf. At the end I had a pile of them. I sat down and thought that I have to take some of them back, it’s going to be so expensive to buy all of them.
But I couldn’t. I wanted to read all of them. That made a single tear roll down my cheek, because it was the first time I had wanted something since I got ill. Reading used to be such a dear hobby to me, it was part of my makeup. It had been so long since I had even glanced at a book, let alone read one.
For that moment, on an armchair in the middle of a bookshop, I was visited by the person I used to be before a mind cancer turned me into a zombie.
That’s what my medication, along with all the other treatment, has given me.
Of course I bought the books. I have read one of them and the rest are waiting on the nightstand, reminding me that I wanted something once and it’s possible for that to happen again.