Did You Take Your ‘Crazy’ Meds Today?
Unfortunately, I’ve heard this question more times than I can count and every time makes me angrier than the last. But, in all honesty, usually, when I am asked this questions I haven’t taken my bipolar medication in a couple days or more. Is it a coincidence that I’m being asked this? Could they sense a change that I wasn’t aware of? Maybe. Either way, the use of the word, ‘crazy’, troubled me.
There have been times when I have been outraged after being asked this question. Replying back, “I’m not crazy!” while really thinking, am I? I have ofter thoughts to myself If I stopped taking my medication, then I could prove that there wasn’t anything actually wrong with me. Right? This has been one of the many thoughts I’ve had about stopping my medication. Now, however, I feel fortunate. Over the thirteen years of living with bipolar disorder, I have learned some reasons why myself and others are tempted to stop taking our medications. Because I understand this, I am able to negotiate with myself why they are important. I have come to realize that not everyone is that lucky.
Unfortunately, going off of medication seems to be rather common in the psychiatric world. Each reason to stop taking medication is different, to some degree, from person to person.
Through my experience, time in support groups and therapy I have come up with four of the most common reasons that people with mental illness stop taking their medication as prescribed.
4 Reasons People with a Mental Illness Stop Taking Medication:
1. We feel like we don’t need it anymore.
There have been many support groups that I have attended, someone suddenly stopped coming. We were told by our group therapist that he or she didn’t think that they needed therapy anymore because they were feeling better.
The issue with this is that medication works as a temporary fix to stabilize a large internal wound. Because there is no cure for the chemical imbalance of a mental illness all that can be done is to stabilize it.
Usually, it’s not the medication that is making them feel good, but we are over the hump of feeling ‘bad.’ When in actuality we are feeling better because of our medication and other factors like increased therapy and support system.
Why would you take medication anymore when you think you are cured? This is a question I used to hear other people in my support groups say frequently. The answer was always the same, “You feel ‘normal’ because the medication is working.” Then the therapist would follow up with the, “If you think that there is a need for medication or dosage change you should take to your psychiatrist.” While these answers didn’t always feel sincere or empathetic. Now after many years of struggle, I know they are accurate.
2. We can no longer afford medication.
The cost of medication is expensive in itself, and heavens forbid if you aren’t lucky enough to have insuranceInsurance can be expensive especial if you have a pre-diagnosed condition of a mental illness. Even government support can be unobtainable.
Before I was married and had health insurance, there was a point in time that I was paying over $250 for my medication monthly. This understandably stretched my funds almost to their breaking point. Unfortunately, there are mental illnesses don’t allow you to work, and therefore steady income and insurance are hard to come by.
3. We forget to take their medication.
Some illnesses, Alzheimer’s & Dementia, ADHA, Bipolar Disorder, to name a few, all have issues with memory. I have an issue with taking my medication regularly (find out what helped me). There can be all the want to take your medication in the world but when your illness takes over it’s hard to get back on track. There are a few lucky ones that are able to have the assistance of others to be reminded to take their medication. Unfortunately, those people who don’t have that option will likely continue to struggle.
Download this Medication Tracker and Inspiring Reminder Notes as a FREE PRINTABLE gift from me to you!
The stigma around mental illness sometimes forces shame on us needed it. We may stop taking our medications due to the pure shame of someone finding out. Being branded as different or weak. Even with the slightest chance of being ‘caught’ will detour people in need of medication.
There are many times in my life that I’ve ever heard some for of “They are crazy.” These are usually people that are ignorant to all of those that do have a mental illness and feel like we have to hide because we don’t want to be classified as crazy either. All we can do is educate people. That mental illness is a chemical imbalance in our bodies, and this is how we can maintain a healthy balance. Where these are the main reasons for changes in medications, each reason is very personal.
Together we can stop the stigma of mental illness.
In case you missed it here is the Medication Tracker and Inspiring Reminder Notes as a FREE PRINTABLE.