I know this sounds like it's going to go to a funny, kid kinda post - but it's Mental Health March over here at the Jenn-ism.
Mental health issues take on many forms and sometimes, you don't know it's happening to you. You're following doctor's orders.
This is my experience. My experience of unanticipated illness as a result of prescribed drugs.
Let's rewind to August 27, 2007. The day my brother committed suicide. This was the beginning of my emotional frenzy for many reasons...
1) My brother
2) We weren't speaking.
3) This was the second suicide in my close family.
On top of that my son, who was 14 at the time, was REALLY giving me a run for my money and things in our household were tense, at best.
I cried all the time. I couldn't handle life at that time, so I went to the doctor and he prescribed me Lexapro to get through the shit.
The medicine was weird for me to get used to, but became fine for a few months. Eventually I wanted to be off the medicine and live life as I had before. Without medicine. Just coping. I weened off. No problem.
About 6 months later, I noticed a HUGE red patch above my right breast. The first thing I though was cancer. I went to my GP who examined it. The redness was not ON my breast, but above it. It was big and round about the size of a softball, as if I'd been hit by one and hot to the touch. Infection? They sent me for another mamo to be safe & then on to a dermatologist who did a biopsy.
I was diagnosed with the skin form of Lupus & was further referred to a rheumatologist, who prescribed me Prednisone. Now, if you've ever been on Prednisone, it's psycho and weight gain in a bottle. Especially the dosage I had been prescribed. That took care of the skin issues so I no longer had to continue the medication. For a bit, anyway.
Within a few months of treatment, my body soon started to shut down a little at at time. My hands would no longer close. I didn't even have enough strength in my hands to open a can of cat food. My extremities had begun to swell and I was in a great deal of pain. Walking became difficult. I went to my GP and I cried as I told her that I was entirely too young to not be able to walk. All I wanted to do was be able to walk my children around the block for Halloween and Trick or Treat. She prescribed me Mobic for the pain and sent me back to the rheumy. More Prednisone, X-Rays & a few other treatments that did not work.
In April 2009, I was diagnosed with SLE - the systemic form of Lupus. I didn't understand completely, but after being given the signs, symptoms and effects of the disease - suddenly other things in my life began to make sense.
I was prescribed Plaquenil. This was supposed to be the thing that helped most Lupus patients. Most. Not me.... My system began to further shut down.
On the Bronx Zoo field trip with my daughter in May, I had begun to itch uncontrollably. Mostly on my scalp. I panicked because lice had been running through the first grade and asked another mom to check my head. The pain began to course through my body and within days I could no longer walk. I couldn't lift my head off the pillow and I had giant purple patches all over my body. My fever was very high, my blood pressure very low. I was brought to the hospital where I remained for 7 days. It wasn't until a week after I was discharged that it was discovered that the Plaquenil was making me worse. At this point, I couldn't even get up off the couch. I slept all the time. Everything was difficult.
I was again, referred on to a "super specialist" who put me on a full medication regimen. Mobic, Prednisone, Zoloft for anticipated anxiety, Synthroid for my thyroid and Methotrexate to keep my immune system at bay. I was sick all the time.
My moods began to worsen. I had very little control over my emotions. I was the spectrum of emotion from weepy to angry bitch from hell. You never knew which Jenn you were going to get. Mostly I could control my behaviors around other people, but at home - the walls were down. I was angry all the time. So unlike me.
I won't get into all of it, because mostly - it's a huge embarrassment.
Something I've not quite gotten over.
The reader's digest version is that I had an emotional break down. I embarrassed myself and others that I care about - in public. I broke down crying, emotional, stupid mess and I don't even know why.
It was a situation that I never wanted to occur and can't fix. It was also the one thing that stood out in my mind to make me further aware that there was a problem. I could no longer control my moods or erratic behaviors. Suddenly all of the times my husband said, "Calm down - why are you so angry?" made sense to me. I was no longer myself. I had no control over it.
It was in this and my continued behaviors that I decided to take action. I spoke to the doctor - he didn't think there was anything wrong. He said it was in my head... Well, DUH - I knew THAT! It was the in my head stuff that I needed to fix. I KNEW that I wasn't myself. I knew that all my personalities were exaggerated. I knew I was a shadow of my former self in some ways and a comic book character of myself in others. I hated it. I didn't know what to do - so I went back to what I knew before I got sick. I stopped taking my medicine. You can read about that by clicking HERE if you wish to read my journey weaning off my medication.
This happens to so many people every single day. It shouldn't happen to anyone. I was lucky that I just embarrassed myself. I could have become a prescription drug addict. I was taking more than 50 pills a week.
50 pills! Holy crap!
I share this story today because I was one of the lucky ones. I was able to notice that there was something wrong and I was able to correct it. Not everyone is. Some people get sucked into the hole of medication and can't get out.
Please - know your body. Remember how you used to feel BEFORE the medicine. I was genuinely afraid to stop taking my pain medication. I took it every day - twice a day, without even knowing if I'd have pain that day. I was following the directions of the doctor and the prescription.
Guess what... when I stopped, there was no pain to numb.
It's been a year now and I am now almost 100% RX free! I do still need to continue to take my thyroid medication because mine doesn't work - but no other drugs.
I was a complete and total mess and it wasn't my fault.
It wasn't my fault.
Thank you for reading my blog!
If you are suffering at the hands of prescription drug abuse, or suspect that you are having a problem or know someone who is - please contact: