Medication and Schedules – They’re Important

Medication and Schedules – They’re Important

Good evening. I hope that this fall evening is treating you well and that you’ve had a good day. Tonight, I offer you a Balm of Gilead, a flower which in Victorian times meant healing.

Let’s Talk Medication Now

Balm of Gilead
This beautiful flower meant healing to the people in the Victorian era.

Not all people with mental illness take medication. Sometimes a support system is enough, sometimes therapy is enough, sometimes they simply refuse it and deal with their symptoms as they come.

Those that do take medication can take any number of variations. Sometimes they need just an anti-depressant, sometimes they need anxiety medication. Others still need antipsychotics.

For me, and what I take, It’s 225mg of Effexor XR and 10mg of Zyprexa, and 50mg of Vistaril. This is what is currently working for me. That said, it’s taken a very long time to get this combination of medication.

I started out on Citalopram, moved to Paxil, Wellbutrin, Abilify, and probably more that I can’t remember just off hand. In the hospital, they’ve given me Ativan, Klonopin, and Trazadone. It’s taken years for me to find a combination of therapy, medication, and social support.

Now that I’m on medication, my symptoms are more manageable, but there’s always going to be break-through symptoms.

Let’s Get to the Point

What I really want to talk about regarding medication, is not just patience in finding the right medication or combination of medications, but the importance of taking it and taking it on a schedule.

As I said, it took a long time to find a medication that really works. I’d be on one medication for a few weeks and if the side-effects were too much – like Citalopram which made me so completely numb I was almost nonfunctional or Prozac which left me so photosensitive I couldn’t go outside – or if I felt no difference in my depression and anxiety.

It’s so important to be patient with yourself and with your doctor or ARNP. Everybody’s body chemistry and symptoms are different. You may be lucky and the first medication you try works great, but it may also end up being then 10th medication you try. You may need a combination like I do, and that’ll take even longer.

I know it can be frustrating and even embarrassing and disheartening when you’ve tried so much, and you still aren’t feeling better. Be patient. Be patient with you, be patient with your doctor, and be patient with family.

You are not defective.

Listen Close Now

Next, and this is really, really important. Take your medication as directed. Seriously, I mean it. In the hospital medication times were 9 am, 3 pm, and 9 pm. Your medication may be once a day. Pick a time that’s relevant to your medication – i.e. I take Effexor in the morning and Zyprexa and Vistaril at bedtime – pick a time and stick to it. It’s so important to the function of your medication.

If you’re taking your medication every other day or one day in the morning and the next in the afternoon and then the next at 4 am because you were up and thought of it, stop. Just stop that. Pick a time. Set an alarm on your phone. Stick with it. Your medication will work better if you take it every day at the same time each day.

Not only is keeping a medication schedule going to make you feel better because the medication is consistently in your system, but for people with mental illness, and really anybody, keeping to a schedule is really important. Get up at the same time. Eat at the same time. Go to bed at the same time. Exercise at the same time as much as possible. Lord knows, I need to practice what I preach, but I can say that they schedule they kept us on in the hospital was very effective and even somewhat comforting. I try to maintain it, at least regarding my medication, as much as possible.

Find what works for you, both in medication and in life, and try your best to stick with it.

God bless you, and may you find peace and healing.

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