It takes all types of people to make a successful support team. I think I have mentioned before that my dad is a retired Air Force colonel. So as you can imagine he is not the “emotional breakdown” support team member. However, I am incredibly thankful to have in my life because he is the person I would credit most with my medication compliance.
I’ll never forget the first day of my first mental illness medication. I had been refusing each time my mom had tried to get me to take it for several hours. So later that night, I had some friends over and went out to the garage to get an “adult beverage”. I grabbed the drink and turned back around to head back inside and BAM! ran smack into my dad…..holing (drum roll now) the dreaded box of pills. Guess that military trains g wasn’t for nothing because after stealthily sneaking up on me he had strategically placed himself between me and the house. Using the element of surprise he removed the drink from my hand. Well Damn. Looking around and realizing there was no way out I used my next weapon, confusion.
Nicole: [wide eyed and innocent] Hi daddy! What are you doing? Would you like a Miller Lite–here let me get you one.
Dad: [hold out single, deception-ally harmless, white pill] I’m not letting you back inside till you take it.
Nicole: [Plant feet, lift chin]
Dad: You’re friends are going to wonder what took you so long.
And checkmate…well played dad, well played.
And so, I took my first lexapro with a raspberry flavored Smirnoff Not exactly what the doctor recommended but it did the trick.
Resistance to medication is so common, and we fight it for so many individual reasons. The largest feeling I remember preventing me from taking it was fear. I was terrified what it was going to do. If it could affect my brain and my emotions positively….it could be just as negative. I had heard the horror stories about what anti-depressants can do! I spent the first couple of weeks obsessing about it forever altering my brain and me going crazier than I already was. Symptoms of anxiety include catastrophic and obsessive thinking–I sure applied that to my medication!
I’m not going to lie and say those thoughts don’t still plague me from time to time. There are mornings when I stare at my medication for a few minutes trying to remind myself that it’s suppose to help me. There are times where random thoughts of it sabotaging my brain pop into my mind. And it has been a factor in a few of my medication “protests” (Like “hunger protests”…but with medication).
If you have the same problem, or are the medication Nazi on a support team, here are a few things that Rick did to help me manage this fear.
- Identify the truth: Specifically address the fears with your doctor. I trust my psychiatrist and I have specific memories of her describing numerous studies that show no long term effects. Have your team provide you with these studies….leading to my next point.
- AVOID THE INTERNET and even some books/magazines: The horror stories are out there–you HAVE to avoid them. I have never researched a new medication. I trust my sister and my mom to do that. No way would I take any medications if I read some of the scary stuff out there.
- Journal: Track how the medication makes you feel–that way you’ll be confident that if it’s “destroying your brain” you’ll notice. And if it’s helping, then you can see that too!
I’m so lucky to have such a wide variety of people on my support team–I owe a significant amount to my dad getting me to take that medication. I hate to admit it, but it does make a huge difference in my life. and like in everything in his life, my dad illustrated the three core values of the Air Force.
- Integrity first: While the blackmail and threats were questionable, he didn’t sneak it in my food!
- Service before Self: Made me take it BEFORE getting himself a beer…clearly a sacrifice
- Excellence in all you do: He succeeded right?