Medications & Mental Health
Have you been prescribed a medication that caused challenging side-effects?
You’re not alone. I too, have struggled with prescriptions intended to support my wellness.
Have you experienced any or many of the following? If you have, you’re not alone. Me too!
sleepiness, fatigue, and a slowing of mental functioning.
feeling agitated, shaky, or anxious.
feeling and being sick.
indigestion and stomach aches.
diarrhoea or constipation.
loss of appetite.
not sleeping well (insomnia), or feeling very sleepy.
How can we normalize the conversation and reduce the stigma to support each other when we discuss medications and advocate for ourselves if a prescribed medication doesn’t contribute to our well-being?
If you had diabetes, you wouldn’t hesitate to take insulin . Similarly, I’m grateful for those medications, which have supported my whole-body wellness, and I take them consistently to ensure I’m choosing self-care & journeying towards wellness. But what about when you struggle with a medication❓
Over the last seven years, I have struggled with too many medications
that weren’t a good fit for my unique body?
Every BODY is 💯different; and some medications just aren’t the good fit for our needs❣️
Jocelyn’s Tips for Self-Advocacy:
***All views expressed here are my own. Please always consult your doctor and/or trusted individuals that support your mental health and well-being.
1. When you’re prescribed a new medication, ASK QUESTIONS and RECORD the important details.
Ask about what length or duration you need to take the medication before you’ll see positive changes, and/or results?
Ask about side-effects that are frequently experienced, particular to the medication being recommended? You need to know what to expect.
Ask and make a follow-up appointment, and confirm when you’ll be able to check in and let your doctor(s) know how you’re doing and what you’re experiencing. Ask how they want or expect you to contact them if you’re experiencing unexpected side-effects, and if you’ll be able to make a same day appointment if you’re struggling.
Make sure you talk to the doctor and pharmacist about what other medications you may be on, (all of them) to ensure you won’t have any challenges with drug interactions. Carry a list of the names and current dosages you’re taking. This is especially important because when you’re cognitively a little fuzzy, its hard to remember. I take photos on my phone of each bottle, to help me remember, especially the ones with the difficult, hard to pronounce names.
2. Contact your doctor right away, and prioritize your health. Take with you a list of the side-effects you’ve been experiencing and assertively explain that the side-effects seem to outweigh the benefits of the medication.
3. Remember - Never quit a medication without your doctor’s and pharmacist’s support. It’s your choice whether you feel comfortable and will go ahead with a medication trial. If you decide, yes, and you’re willing to give it a trial, ask about if it’s possible to titrate up slowly, especially if you’re sensitive to medications, as I am. Sometimes if the doctor knows you’re sensitive to new medications, they’ll start you out on a lower dose and then increase slowly over time, so your body can adjust comfortably.
Make sure you ask if it’s possible to stop taking the medication all at once or if you’ll need to titrate down slowly to get off the medication safely. ***Many medications can’t be stopped cold-turkey, without serious, harmful side-effects, so make sure if you’re not comfortable on a medication that you seek your doctor’s advice before stopping
. If in doubt, talk to your pharmacist, where your medication was dispensed. They’re the experts on the medications. Again, Never quit a medication without support. If your doctor isn’t open minded to answering your questions, and supporting you to proceed cautiously, you may need to find another doctor, who knows you’re worthy of their time, care, attention and to have your questions answered. You deserve good quality care!
4. If your current health care partners: doctors, therapists, various specialists, etc... don’t support your health in a way that feels safe and trusted... seek new practitioners. It make take time, especially with doctor shortages, and waitlists to see specialists, but you’re worth it! For example, if a specialist treats you poorly, suggests you're lying, that it’s all in your head, and not like the intelligent, capable person you are. Say thank you, and goodbye! You deserve more, even if it takes time. Gain the care you deserve, so you’ll have a team of trusted care-partners to help support you with your medications. Take the time to be confident about medications that support your wellness... and prioritize YOU!
5. If you’re not feeling confident... take a trusted ally to ALL your appointments! Choose wisely, who you feel is ‘your person.’ For example, when I was struggling cognitively on medications and experiencing significant cognitive decline, I needed someone at each appointment to listen, hear, and remember details I could not. Take an advocate if you’re not feeling you can advocate for yourself.
Do you have a helpful tip to share? We’ve probably all had challenging experiences, however lets connect and share our successes... We’re #STRONGERTOGETHER❣️ Leave a comment! #share with your circle of peers. Together we can reduce the stigma about #mentalillness and #mentalhealth 🥰