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To preface, this article comes from personal experience only. Everyone’s situation is different, your needs are different, the way your body metabolizes medication is different, and the way different issues you have intertwined with one another will vary by person. If you have concerns about the medications you are currently taking, you should speak with your doctor and not rely on only the internet, even though it can be a helpful tool and has brought you here.

Without further ado, an open letter about my experience with mental health medications that have been prescribed to me by health professionals. These include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, and antihistamines, you know, the usual.

Starting medication for my health has had more positive effects than negative, but it is the negative side that isn’t acknowledged nearly enough.

The main thing being, you start to feel like you’re losing yourself as a person, even if you’re not. Every time things change, I feel as if I’m starting to lose myself as a person and it becomes hard for me to try to re-ground myself and become comfortable with my mind and body again.

This isn’t applicable for everyone, but these medications will likely impact the way your body reacts to alcohol or marajuana. My alcohol tolerance was lowered extremely and changed every time my dose or medications changed to the point where it was easier to not drink at all, even though I would only drink in social settings.

One side effect that I hadn’t even thought of until I saw it on TikTok (gotta love the mentally ill side of TikTok) was short term memory loss. I had noticed my memory got progressively worse but hadn’t realized it could be due to my medications. This doesn’t seem so bad until it comes time to write or talk about a book that you read or until you can’t remember whether or not you took your medications.

There’s also the interactions and the anxiety that comes with being on several medications. Having to constantly try to figure out which over the counter you can and can’t take while also getting stressed any time a new prescribed medication is added out of fear of an interaction or of it decreasing the effectiveness of another drug.

And, the anxiety that comes from starting a new medication in general, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve googled “side effects of…” or “how long would it take for a weird reaction…” or other various questions that only make me more stressed out and may cause my body to have these reactions even if it isn’t because of the meds.

Finally, medications can only do so much. Before starting treatment, I thought that therapy would be an optional experience, but, after months of medications and medication changes, I realized they can only do so much and the rest is up to me to better myself.

I’ve come a long way since starting mental health medications, but it has not been an easy journey. It got worse before it ever got better, and I have had some tough realizations, but now that I know how helpful they can be, even with the side effects, I am able to better understand my disorders and come closer to living a normal life.

MSU Contributor Account: for chapter members to share their articles under the chapter name instead of their own.
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