What If Your Happy Pills Were Haribo?
I take lithium for my bipolar disorder.
I wouldn't have said that very easily some time ago let me tell you!!
Prior to lithium I had tried various mood stabilisers which just hadn't worked for me. It was my last hospital admission in 2016 where lithium was brought to the table and it scared the shit out of me!
To me this was a whole new ball game, this meant I was crazy, only people who were really mentally unstable took this right????
It terrified me on more than one level. Lithium does have some stigma attached to it. It is the oldest psychiatric medication that was used way back in the day of "lunatic asylums" and the people that took it acquired the wonderful name of "lithium zombies"
Even some people around me when I told them said "Why on earth do you need that? Surely there are more modern methods of treatment??" (This also included a GP and a nurse)
In some peoples minds lithium = CRAZY and so i had managed to pick up these misjudgements and attach them to myself.
The fact of the matter is lithium is still going for a reason, it's the most effective drug for those with bipolar disorder and it has proved it's worth.
Yes it's a pain in the arse with the blood tests, having to be careful what you eat, what you drink, it plays havoc with your thyroid (and mine was screwed anyway so this has made it doubly fun!) Most of all when I'm ill or have pain I BLOODY MISS IBUPROFEN!!! As you can't take it while taking lithium due to it screwing with the lithium levels (too high a lithium level is toxic and dangerous)
I always feel a little on edge at thought of it going high and so i have blood tests more often than they should be done just to satisfy my anxious nature. There have been times I've thought "SCREW THIS!!!"
It has helped me more than anything else has and I know without it I stand the chance of going back to the life I had before it which massively outweighs the inconvenience of the lithium itself.
This doesn't just go for lithium.
There is stigma somewhat attached to psychiatric medication in general, by others and also by ourselves.
How many times have you thought that you hate the fact that your happiness relies on a pill? Yep. Me too. Have you berated yourself for having to take an antidepressant? An anti anxiety medication? A mood stabiliser? Or any other form of tablet that enables to to function more effectively? Yep. Me too.
If you have a headache do you berate yourself for having to take a paracetamol? If you're in a lot of pain do you berate yourself when a dr says you need something stronger? co codamol or say morphine? Do people say "Why on earth do you need morphine for that operation you've just had...try paracetamol instead!!" ? Do we feel weak when we have the flu and drink some lemsip?
What's the difference??
They are all treating some form of illness or pain, they are all helping up to function more effectively and if it helps does it REALLY matter what it is? What the name of the medication is? Why are some names looked on with fear?
I also take quetiapine which is......wait for it..........an antipsychotic!!!! Aggghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! You can all run for the hills and hide because that means I'm crazy right?? Erm......no. Well.....some may say it's debatable ;)
Lithium and antpsychotic medication.......If you say that to a lot of people they will want to get the hell away from you sharpish, through lack of understanding, stigma and quite frankly not knowing how to respond to it.
Again they are just names for different types for different medications used to treat different parts of mental illnesses....the same as you'd have different medications to treat other psychical health problems, but no would want to run at those so why should this be any different?
If you are taking medication don't beat yourself up for it!! It does NOT make you a lesser person, it does NOT mean your'e crazy, it does not mean that you are not normal....What's NORMAL anyway??? Next time you have these thoughts make sure the next time you have a paracetamol you tell yourself the same thing.....and laugh about it because that is exactly what we are doing to ourselves just in a different context!!
If you were told that for your mental illness your medication was to have a Haribo a day would we beat ourselves up for that? ..............................
If it helps, it helps, Haribo or "happy pills" what does it matter?
What matters is that we are WELL, that we can live, function and carry on with our lives without pain so to YOU reading this, pop those pills with pride knowing you are helping yourself, that you are on the right path....and of course pop a few haribo for good measure if you so desire ;)
Medication for mental illness is often necessary
We need to stamp out stigma in regards to having to take medication to keep ourselves well. There is no shame in it.
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