There is much debate about the use of medication for BPD which I am not prepared to enter into right now. That’s not to say I won’t at some point because I will. I will also no doubt write posts about what medication has (and hasn’t) done for me in terms of body and mind over the years. Right now though, I want to focus on something I am going through and not only that, something I am sure many medication taking sufferers will also have to go through.
The joyous act of changing to and starting a new med.
This isn’t the first time I have gone through this process but in all honesty this is the first time I have felt it affect me as it is. I have known about the change for a while though and have in fact been wheedling down the old pill and dosage to make way for the new one. I think this is the problem as I am currently in that middle stage where one is wearing off but other hasn’t kicked in yet.. urgh! Anyway, rather than piss and moan about it, I thought it more productive to throw out some tips and tricks I have learned about this whole thing.
- Ask Your Questions– Before you even start, get the basics from whoever your prescriber is. Whip out a pen and paper if you have to and treat is as a quick fire interview. Forget feeling like a weirdo, you have a right to know about what is about to go in your body! What you ask is up to you because we all have different concerns but I tend to focus on side effects, how long before I can expect it to start working and whether I need to do anything special with the medication (like take it with food)
- Do Your Own Research – Truth is, doctors are busy people and they tend to miss things or maybe you forgot to ask a question? Once home take to google and have a look for yourself. Be mindful though, stick to medical sites or mental health forums for real life views and remember not to scare yourself. Any doubts at this point? Just give your doctor/psych nurse a call and ease your brain.
- Read The Instructions/Find Out The Rules – Once you are ready to start taking the new med, get to grips with possible side effects. Read the pamphlet within the box and get an overview of anything you should or shouldn’t be doing. It’s worth mentioning at this point that again, this advice isn’t meant to put the fear of God in you – I don’t worry about mild side effects but I do want to know if there is any chance I’m going to drop down dead!
- Take It!!– Yes, I am putting this in here because you know what, so many of us don’t actually take our medication correctly. Set a reminder on your phone, write yourself a sticky note or tell your neighbour to send you a telegram.. it doesn’t matter. Just make sure to pop those little suckers in your mouth and swallow.
- Fine Tune – Use the first few days as a learning curve. Listen to how your body is feeling and see if it is possible to make the whole thing easier/better by changing something. Medication making you feel sick or sleepy? Try taking them with food or switching to taking them at night-time.
- Give It Time – Make sure you are aware of how long it is expected for them to start working and don’t rush it. Unless you are experiencing some side effect that can’t be helped and is putting you in harm then time is what you really need. If you are feeling nothing positive after the first week or so then, of course, ask more questions and explain your concerns but the hard truth is that medication needs to get into your system for it to have any chance of working. Try to be patient.
- Keep In Touch, Stick Or Twist – As I’ve said throughout any worries should be taken up with someone professional. I am lucky in that I see my therapist weekly and it was her to initially suggested the switch but seriously, if you are REALLY concerned get on the phone. It is important that you feel as in control as possible throughout this whole process so no-one is going to deny you a few minutes to voice how you are feeling. Also, if there is no change or the new medication does make you feel worse, speak up and say so.. there are always other ones to try ( I should know haha).
AND NOW MOST IMPORTANTLY…
- Don’t Freak Out And Practice All The Self Care You Can – Looking after yourself during any change in your recovery is key so don’t neglect it now. Strip away the guilt of having a day in bed because you need it and tell yourself that there is an end point in sight. Lean on your support network when if your tearful or confused or feeling weird. Have long baths, break out the hot water bottles and if you wanna eat cake, just do it. As much as I stress that the new medication does need time to take effect, I am aware that for some that time is very unpleasant. Do whatever you can to make it less so. For me, it’s big fluffy blankets to ease the shakes, distraction through computer games and all the yummy teas I can drink.
Please Do Not Worry Too Much. You Got This!