I have a love/hate relationship with my medication; I’m almost bipolar about it really. On one hand, I love how much easier it is to practice tools learned in therapy when I’m taking it. I love that I can function better under stressful situations and more importantly the “less” stressful ones that previously caused severe anxiety. But–I hate the side effects. I’m currently on drug cocktail 13—which would be pretty ironic if it ends up being lucky 13 for me. While each change aims to lessen side effects, or improve effectiveness, with each change comes a time of adjustment—and for me, that means feeling very sick. This current one has been the worst—as my body has been going through withdrawl symptoms.
I’m frustrated. I’m tired. I’m about to give up.
And I know my support team is tired of hearing me complain about it.
Each time I start a new medication cocktail I think “this is it—I’m going to make it”. And each time it’s not, a little part of me starts to give up. Until I’m running out of hope….
However, today I was reminded of a story in the business book Good to Great about the famous Admiral Stockdale who spent eight years in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp before being freed. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great spent an
afternoon with Stockdale and recounts this story:
I [Collins] asked him, “Who didn’t make it out?”
“Oh, that’s easy,” he [Stockdale] said. “The optimists.”
“The optimists? I don’t understand,” I said, now completely confused.
“The optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”
Another long pause, and more walking. Then he turned to me and said, “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
And this gives me hope—hope in the long-term outcomes of this medication journey. Not necessarily this particular combination. Each combination has taught my “team” and me more about my body and its reactions/needs. And if this combination does not work—well I will move on to the next one. And faith in end, not this particular battle, is what I am striving for. (Or at least what I’m trying to strive for…)