Before Reaching For A Pill, Make Some Changes!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, although I do have a history of bipolar depression with OCD-like tendencies. Like so many, depression runs heavy in my family.  I believe there is a time and place for medications and personally feel that so often medications are overused.  To many my beliefs may be controversial.  This post isn’t about being controversial.  It’s my hope that it will help people, even if only one person, to re-examine their life to see where they can make changes and become less dependent of medications. 

Let’s go back 15+ years ago. I had a zest for EVERY part of life.  Nothing anyone could do or say would bring me down.  I bounced back from any setback in an instant.  Barring my OCD-like tendencies (that I kept hidden from everyone) and my history of being a worrywart, I didn’t have many cares in the world.  Fast-forward 10 years, to 2007.  My OCD tendencies had become known, they were at an all-time high and my bipolar-like personality had me at my wits end….not to mention my husband too. We had a discussion and felt it was time to talk to a doctor.  I set an appointment, was clinically diagnosed with high anxiety and bipolar disorder, prescribed medication, and sent home.  Within 12 hours I had side effects of the medication.  I was unable to physically keep my head up and was unable to comprehend or complete the simplest of tasks.  After several days I called the doctor and was given a different medication.  The same side effects occured, this time, worse.  Finally, after several weeks I was prescribed a medication my body could tolerate.  Unfortunately after a months time of being on the medication I began to have side effects.  Although my anxiety had waned, I had the attitude of “Meh. I don’t give a shit.” In addition, my phenomenal memory was shot.  I couldn’t remember what I had done from one moment to the next, let alone long-term activities.  Talk about going from one extreme to the other.  At that point I decided anti-depressants weren’t for me and weaned myself off of the medication over 2 weeks time.  Even with weaning myself, the side effects were crazy.  I had the feeling that I’m moving fast but everything around me is in slow motion.  Thankfully, after about a week’s time the side effects were gone and I was free.  I will never go back.

From the get go I wasn’t a fan of anti-depressants, but figured I’d give them a try since my disorder was obviously effecting not only me but my relationships.  In no way am I symptom-free.  It’s a constant battle. One thing is true: Certain things I can’t change, but there are some that I can….so I did/do. It hurts my heart to see individuals suffering from symptoms, even while being on the medications; yet, by making small changes they could make big differences.  Let’s discuss….

Are you on anti-depressants?  Are you drinking alcohol? STOP!  This has got to be my biggest issue.  You’re depressed, are taking medication to fight depression, and yet you put a known depressant into your body?? Why waste your time and money by even taking the medication?  The medication is already fighting an uphill battle, why challenge it even more? 

What foods are you putting into your body?  I’m not going to preach a vegan lifestyle.  However, are you eating and drinking chemical-laden foods?  Stick with whole foods and you’ll see a difference.

Are you surrounding yourself with individuals that love and appreciate you?  If not, it’s time to ditch them and make new friends.

Are you doing what you enjoy?  If not, make time for what you enjoy.  Don’t know what you enjoy?  Seek it out!  Try new things.

Are you exercising? Do it.  But, you say it’s hard?  I know. But it’s worth it.  I’ve been running regularly for 4+ years.  I have had very few runs that come “easy”. Each one is a challenge in it’s own right.  Whether it’s a challenge to actually get out and make it happen, or my lungs or legs are burning…the list goes on.  But in the end it clears my mind and also makes me feel better about my body and myself.  And yes, keep at it, and it will get easier over time. 

Pretty much all of this goes for any medication.  High cholesterol? Taking a medication for it? Still eating high fat foods? Still not exercising? Why?? There are no cure all pills out there.  You can’t expect to live the life you’re leading, take a pill, and expect all of your problems to disappear.  Things don’t work that way.

Like W.L. Bateman once said….

Be Grateful and Keep Smiling =)


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