Monday, January 23, 2017

Why the justification?

Why do people feel the need to justify their medication usage? Is there some shame involved there? Shame of having to be on those particular meds? Shame of really being what they call you? If a person were on Metfomin for diabetes, no one would bat an eye. But the second you mention lithium, Prozac, Ativan...people lose their shit. 

They seem to get especially mean when you mention the drugs Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, etc. Why is that? Hmmm, I wonder.  These are in the 
benzodiazepine family, and they're great drugs, but also super dangerous. 

What I feel so many people are overlooking, is that benzos are addicting...and that many people who start out taking them as prescribed, then start struggling with the the med not being effective, and then suddenly find themselves locked into taking more than prescribed. Unfortunately, I can absolutely relate to this scenario.

I've shared this story before but I feel it bears repeating, even with the risk of being told, "It's people like you that make me furious because I can't get my drugs because of you." 

I was once a happy-go-lucky 20 year old who happened to have crippling anxiety (and undiagnosed bipolar disorder among other things). My doctor tried the usual cocktails; SSRI's, buspar, vistaril, etc. None of them worked. Finally, my doctor tried me on Valium, and oh my gosh, it was as if the seas had parted and I was set free. It did that much good for me. I was able to go out in public, I was able to sleep, I was able to raise my children. 

But. (There's always a but isn't there?) But, fast forward 6 years, and I'm not on one dose daily of 5 mg anymore. I'm now on 2 mg of Xanax 3 times a day. And frequently took more than that to keep the edge off. I was a wreck. I finally had my wake up call, and realized I was, indeed, an addict. I'd gotten hooked from perfectly legal drugs, all perfectly prescribed by my doctor, for perfectly valid medical conditions. I started out taking the meds as prescribed, until they weren't working at optimal levels anymore, and that's when I started taking too much. 

Sooooo, these drugs are dangerous af. I've now been clean for almost 2 years, and you know what? My anxiety is better controlled by Neurontin than it ever was by Xanax. I'm so much happier at this point in my life than I thought would ever be attainable. Without benzos. 

Now, in regards to other psychiatric meds, I'm on 9 different ones, and I don't care what people think of them. Because of my experience with benzos though, I advocate heavily for people to work on coping mechanisms in therapy. I once thought coping mechanisms were bullshit and refused to even try learning them, and thought, 'well, why should I? I can take a pill and it'll go away', and that's 100% true...popping a pill is days more easier than learning ways to deal with anxiety, but ultimately, life is better when you're not dependent on a crutch like addictive substances. 

Before anyone starts out with torches and pitchforks to find me, I don't have problems with people taking meds for psychiatric conditions, but I do have concerns with people who take addictive substances for psychiatric disorders. 

These drugs are dangerous. They are lethal. They can hurt as well as heal. And I feel that the people who get so furious about your medication usage simply care, and they know just how dangerous these drugs are. I know how dangerous they are, and I advocate heavily for people to only use them as a last resort, and not the first line of defense. 

This is just one woman's experience of course, but after living that experience, I don't think I'd go near benzos again, not even with a 39 1/2 foot pole. 

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