Keep Taking Your Meds!

Today, something reminded me that when we, people with mental illness, are feeling better, we still have to take our medication. We can not think “Oh, I am feeling fine, I don’t need to take my medication anymore!” Because the reason we are feeling better is because we are taking our medication. If we stop, we will start to feel bad again. If we stop our antidepressants. we’ll start feeling bad again, if we stop our mood stabilizers, we may become manic or depressed, and for people with schizophrenia, if medication is stopped, they might become psychotic (out of touch with reality) again.

So please remember that your symptoms have abated and you are feeling better because you are on your medication. Again a comparison to a physical illness will illustrate this: If you have diabetes and you’re taking insulin and your blood sugar is in the normal range, that’s all well and good. Now, would you think “Oh, I’m feeling fine, I’ll come off the insulin”? Well what would happen if you do stop taking insulin? Well your blood sugar would go sky high again! So what happens when you stop taking the medication that is helping keep your depression and other mental illness symptoms at bay, if you stop, they will come back!

So friends, fellow bloggers, readers, please stay on your medications. If you are having problems with side effects, please talk to your doctor. Don’t just come off the meds, because then the symptoms you were taking the meds for will resurface.

Just some advice.

Then there was the time when…


I was feeling really bad recently, it was all about my son being so far away from us. How we sold our home and moved. My mind kept telling me that parents aren’t supposed to do that, parents are supposed to stay put, kids are the one who are supposed to move away, and then when they want, come back home for a visit. I guess that is generally how it works. But when we decided that my husband would accept the job offer in Louisville, my son had been accepted at Albany Law School. We, at that time had thought that he would be going to Law School in Albany, so no one would have stayed behind in Buffalo. But as things turned out, SUNY at Buffalo Law school called him in Albany and told him he’d been taken off the waiting list, so he resigned from Albany Law and I went and got him from Albany. We scrambled to find him an apartment because there was a housing shortage in Buffalo and we were moving to Louisville in November. And then I got very sick, out of touch with reality mania 😦 So those were the circumstances that led to us leaving my son in Buffalo, which had been our home for 20 years. I had actually mostly lived in Buffalo since I was 11. It was where my son grew up, in our beautiful home in East Amherst.

Recently, thoughts of our home, thoughts of leaving my son behind, even thoughts of how my son is not here to east the dinners I cook, all those thoughts had me sobbing, feeling guilty, thinking about all the mistakes I’d made with my son and how I’d never be able to correct them. Basically, I was miserable, living in the past, heartbroken and acutely re-experiencing empty nest syndrome. Every morning I got up sobbing, feeling like my heart was breaking (that’s what empty nest syndrome feels like, a broken heart that your precious child has flown the coop), just negative, depressing thoughts. I wrote to my e-counselor and even she got really worried about the tenor of my email. She told me to call my doctor. I forwarded him the email and asked him for help. At this point, I was beginning to see that this is not just negative thoughts, this is a depression. After my doctor read my melodramatic email, he said the best thing to do is to keep talking to my counselor, this was not a psychiatric issue, it was a psychological issue. I was dumbfounded. I told him that I was so disappointed with his answer, that it basically meant he was not going to help me. After a few emails back and forth, after I insisted I was going into a depression, and these thoughts of abandoning my son, empty nest (again) and all the negative thoughts were actually attaching themselves to my depressed mood, he agreed to help me with my medication and gave me a few options of what to do and I chose increasing my Seroquel from 50 mg to 100 mg. And now, since I did that, I feel so much better. Yes those thoughts are still there, but now they are not destroying me, they are not breaking my heart, the intensity of the sadness and suffering has decreased.

Just a couple of points why mental illness is so difficult to deal with:

1) Imagine having to convince a doctor that you really had broken your leg, and you were crying from pain, not some nebulous psychological issue.

2) Imagine going to a cardiologist, who misdiagnoses you with coronary artery disease, and you look at your own symptoms and tell him the correct diagnosis is a tumor of the adrenal glands leading to over production of epinephrine (haha) leading to tachycardia, and you are right!

I realize that symptoms and descriptions of symptoms, and people’s opinions can be different, and that is exactly why mental illness is not only a bear to live with, it is also a bear to have treated.

Not Just Others.

not just others

Not just others, it is we who have and suffer from mental illnesses. Yes it is more difficult to know what a person with schizophrenia experiences with their illness. The following link to a video shows what a schizophrenic person hears in a psychotic, which means out of touch with reality, phase. And it is literally terrifying. The voices, the words, the tone of voice, how could anyone function like that? They can’t. I have a friend who suffers from schizophrenia and while I did know that neurons in their auditory cortex fire and make these voices, until today I did not know their experience was so horrifying and their mind had turned on them in such a cruel way!  (

People with BPD 1 (bipolar disorder 1) also can be psychotic, that doesn’t mean they are psychos, again it means someone out of touch with reality. Oh so fortunately, people with BPD 1 do not hear voices. Thank goodness, the only voices I’ve heard are real voices, thank goodness a thousand times for that. People with Schizo-Affective disorder do hear voices, this is a combination of BPD 1 and schizophrenia. Some psychiatrists think this is just plain schizophrenia. So while we people with BPD 1 can get suicidally depressed, insanely manic, we still have the lesser of the two evil diseases.

There are a plethora of videos that show people who are manic and depressed. And yes they show how we are acting on the outside, talking 100 miles per minute, jumping from topic to topic, having delusions of grandeur, all in mania; crying, being hopeless, anxious, expressing suicidal ideation, all in depression. They do not show how we are feeling on the inside. Depression is especially painful, it is like someone literally broke your heart into pieces and it hurts. And pure mania is exhilarating and joyful. If your thoughts weren’t so scattered, you might actually come up with some brilliant ideas. Mixed phases aren’t so much fun because anxiety predominates in these. I unfortunately have mostly mixed phases, but that may have been because I was on SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and now that I’m off them, hopefully I won’t have mixed phases, my hope and prayer.

Anyway, the point of this post is to of course reiterate that it’s not others who have mental illness and also to give my readers an idea of what it feels like to have these extremely awful diseases. Maybe now people will respect and understand people with mental illness as strong people who are fighting battles daily with their illness and hopefully winning. That is the intent of this post.