What It’s Like to Suffer from Mental Illness
The Benefits and Risks of Medication
I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia in my late teens, and then bipolar disorder as a young adult. It is a terrible condition, which devastated me, and made me ill for years. It was a very emotional time for me and I had many thoughts of harming myself.
Medication is a good thing. Take it every day because it keeps you stable and well.
I take my meds like it’s the most natural thing in the world. It keeps you ticking, so you don’t forget to take it. It’s like when you first learn to ride a bike. You never forget.
That's what it is like to have mental illness. You know you need to take your medication every day without fail. Again, it’s like second nature to me.
I have tried three lots of medications and am now on two types per day, which enables me to function. Without it, my falls would be unbearable and the mania would set in, as well.
I would be unable to do the things I most enjoy, such as my artwork and writing poetry. They say that folks with bipolar are very creative, so bipolar has its up sides. But there are also the downfalls.
The lows are your inability to function clearly, which affects your everyday life.
Taking bipolar medication is the only way to take back your old happy stable self, as much as you are able.
It took a good few years for me to recover and become stable again. A person really needs this time to recover, but there are still parts of me that will take time a little longer to heal. It just does not happen overnight. It is a gradual process.
The medication I take has a lot of risks. Meningitis and the rare rash can be fatal, too. But I need this medication in order to stay well, so it’s worth those risks for me. Without these medications, you would become very ill with depression and mania, too.
When I was initially diagnosed, I spent a bit of time in a mental hospital. Now I see my doctor every three to six months for check-ups.
Having a doctor who listens is so important. I can be open with my doctor to explain how I feel in order for him to know how to treat me and with the right medication levels, and also what not to treat me with.
My first medication for bipolar made me gain weight. I went from size 11 stone to 15 stone, 7 pounds at the highest.
Now, I have switched to a new medication, which neither makes me gain weight nor makes me drowsy and is definitely the good side. I hate feeling drowsy, and I can lose weight again and feel and be healthier. I go to the gym, it really lifts my mood as well.
It’s very important that you be able to sleep well, too. People with bipolar need less sleep and medication can affect it, too. There are very many people with bipolar who take meds and have their sleeping patterns disrupted. This is very important. I try to sleep well too.
Bipolar was a struggle for me and the beginning was the hardest but the lows are very crippling and the highs are very emotional.
It’s like a rollercoaster ride—the biggest fastest ride you can imagine—and you never know what is coming.
It's how well you can pick yourself up after falling that takes a lot of courage — and to see that you are a very beautiful person inside.
People who care about things that happen in their lives are more vulnerable and fall more easily.
It takes a lot of guts and courage to recover. Honesty is important in recovery from a mental illness.
The ability to open up to your doctor and talk about yourself and your feelings as you express your feelings aids all aspects of the recovery process.
I will always remember my thoughts of harming and hurting myself. I will always remember the lows all my life, but it’s a thing of the past now that I am so much stronger.
Without medication I don't think I would be alive right now. It’s amazing what medication can do.
I will take this time to say that if anyone is suffering from a mental illness, seek help. It is never too late. Recovery is a nice feeling. I know at the end of the day that's it’s the medication that helped put me back together again and mended the broken pieces of my life. And, what is taking a few pills a day to feel well?