In December 2015, at the recommendation of my psychologist, I had my first visit with a doctor specializing in psychopharmacology. This doctor was an expert in prescribing medication for teens struggling with mental illness. For the first time in months, I had a newfound sense of hope. However, four months later I had been on various doses of different antidepressant medications to no avail. In fact things seemed to have gotten worse. The only drug that was having any positive effects blurred my vision, preventing me from reading for any extended period of time and making standardized tests nearly impossible. I felt disillusioned with the notion that I would ever find a drug or combination of drugs that would work for me. I wanted to stop trying, to accept defeat.
I often still experience episodes where even getting out of bed and changing out of my pajamas are daunting tasks. It is the guidance of my incredible support system that helps me function when my motivation and interest are so low. Having people whom you trust and who care about you is, in my opinion, one of the most valuable tools in dealing with any problem in life – whether it be mental health related or not.
It was because of my family and the combined efforts of my psychiatrist and psychopharmocologist that I didn’t give up on trying to find medication that would work for me, and I’m so thankful for that. Once I was on the right medication for me, suicidal ideation disappeared and my chronic exhaustion vanished. Parts of my daily experience that I had accepted as an inherent part of my personality – like spending each night in tears – changed. I’m thankful for the counsel of my family and doctors to continue searching for the correct medication and I’m optimistic for the future.
Medication is not the solution for everyone, nor the only solution. And for those that are exploring this form of treatment, the process of finding the right medication can be frustrating. Different people can respond differently to the same medication. It’s important to remember that there is no “one size fits all” antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication. It’s equally important to remember that just because you don’t respond well to the first medication or even the first ten, that doesn’t mean that you’re beyond help. In the face of failure and frustration, it is essential to remember your self-worth and not lose hope.
With the right doctors and support, it is possible. Because it happened for me.