Along with our daily regimen of medication for schizophrenia comes something that can be debilitating for a lot of people, the side effects.
Of course the benefit of the meds far outweighs the trouble we have to go through as a result of the side effects but still, it’s a sad situation that we have to go through these things at all.
I can remember, near the beginning, when I had just gotten out of the hospital and I was on a med called Abilify. While it worked pretty well for the delusions and the voices it gave me a horrible condition called akathisia where I felt like I was unable to sit still.
I had to constantly be moving my body in some way or else it felt like I was going to explode.
I had to relieve this incessantly so I’d take long three hour walks and walk on the treadmill at home constantly, because if I didn’t, I would feel like I wanted to crawl out of my skin.
The doctor said it go away eventually, but I suffered for a good two months before I had to finally stop that med and try to find something different.
Another thing they don’t tell you at first, is that finding the right combination of meds for your particular brand of crazy can be a years-long process.
It’s trial and error of finding something that both works well enough on your brain to be sustainable, as well as something that works with minimal side effects.
It must have taken me five or six years before I finally found a combination that worked well for me.
In the process I ran the gamut of everything from horrible rashes, to sleeping for 12 hours a day, to gaining nearly 80 lbs.
Even still, seventeen years out, we (my psychiatrist and I), have to make periodic adjustments in med dosage to maintain the level of stability where I can feel comfortable.
I still face challenges as well, things like high blood sugar and insomnia that I’ve had to learn to accept as trade-offs for feeling ok.
Many times I’ve remarked that the side effects can be just as bad as the illness itself.
This, however, is not meant to scare you away and discourage you from taking meds though, as I believe anyone with major mental illness needs theses meds to even survive.
This is meant as a sort of preparation for the realities of living with a schizophrenia.
I won’t lie that it’s a very hard life, but you will get used to it, you will feel better and it will become easier as time goes by.
The amazing thing about humans is that we have the ability to adapt.
Even to what seems to be horrible situations we adapt and we learn to get through it.
It makes us incredibly resilient as a result.
We are battle tested and we become ridiculously strong minded.
There’s not a whole lot that life can throw at us anymore that shakes us because we’ve been through the ringer and have lived to tell about it.
At least that’s how I look at it.
Sure it takes time, sometimes a lot of time, but the fight is worth it and once you’re on the stable side you’ll be one of the most incredible people anyone would have the pleasure of meeting.
I’m here to tell you right now that you are not alone in this fight, there a millions of us out here fighting alongside you and we can provide support.
It’s ok to reach if you need help and it’s ok to feel everything you feel as a result of living with this stuff.
It will get better, I promise you that.