Medication & Bipolar Disorder

Most of us have seen the movie the Matrix and can immediately remember the scene when Neo first meets Morpheus. It’s one of those “edge-of-your-seat” moments in movie history.

Morpheus gives Neo two choices: Take the red pill and Neo will discover what the Matrix is. Take the blue pill and Neo’s life will carry on like usual.

Live in ignorance or begin to explore the world of truth.

What the blue pill represents to you is making the choice of living your life with the choice of not taking your medication. You will live your life in constant fear of a relapse.

You will stress out and push away from you all the people in your life that truly matter.

And worst of all you will probably find yourself getting worse and worse with each and every episode you have.

Taking the red pill offers you hope.

Sure things will change but we’re all built for change.

The red pill offers you life and stability.

It gives you a chance to experience the miracle of the world once more.

Take Your Medication

This principle is the foundational principle for a healthy and happy life with Bipolar Disorder.

I can’t stress to you how important taking your medication is.

The only way for you to get better is to take your medication consistently, without fail, each and every day.

Let me say it again,

TAKE YOUR MEDICATION!

The sooner you do the quicker you’ll get better.

Playing the Medication Game

You have to take your medication.

There is no way around this fact.

If you want your life back.
If you want your friends back.
If you want your family back.
If you want your sanity back you have to take your medication.

Establishing the Habit of Taking Your Medication(s)

Taking medication is no easy task at first.

Why?

It’ll be a new habit that you’ll need to form. And the best way to do that is to establish some tools and tricks to get it done.

Take Your Medication Tip #1 Be Mindful of Time

Your medication needs to be taken daily at a certain point(s) in the day.

We’re supposed to stop what we’re doing, go get some water, grab our medication, and then take it.

Life is busy nowadays.

We get caught up in things. Work. Friends. Family.

Busy, busy, busy.

Who has time to take medication?

Well you do.

The first step to do this is being mindful of time.

What I did to help me be mindful of time and take my medication at the right times through the day was to buy a watch the had multiple alarm clocks on it.

One that I could program once and it would do all the thinking for me.

It was awesome!

I was already wearing a watch so why not find one that I could use as a tool to help me live the best life possible while taking my medication.

I could set an alarm for each time of the day that I needed to take my meds and even a reminder alarm if need be.

Take Your Medication Tip #2 Be Prepared – Always Have Your Medication On You

There were a couple of things in regards to my medication that I did right away when I got home from the hospital.

I got two prescriptions and had one in the cupboard and I put the other batch all over my life.

First I got a bunch of ziploc bags and put a days worth of medication into each and every one of them.

I then took those bags and put them into every possible jacket I might wear and every single bag I might take with me.

I did this because I knew how busy the day can get and I realized there’d be countless times when I’d run out of the house like a blue streak of fire and I would forget my medication in the process.

This trick ensured that I would always have enough medication on me throughout the day.

Take Your Medication Tip #3 Have Emergency Back Ups Everywhere

Since I had placed extra medication in every bag and jacket I owned I knew that I would have two sets of medication on me at all times.

So what I would do with the extra sets of meds is I would leave them at friends and families houses as backup.

Of course I would only do this with the people who knew about my diagnosis and who supported my full recovery through the use of medication.

Take Your Medication Tip #4 Transform the Process

Taking medication is not something that I would call fun. I wouldn’t call it not fun either.

It really just is.

Almost an automatic process sometimes.

The big distinguisher is your mindset each and every time you pop those lifesaving pills into your mouth.

So what I did in order to transform the process into something special was that I bought a beautiful little pill box to carry around my daily dose of meds.

Every time I pulled out that box I didn’t think about the meds that I was taking.

Sure that thought came in later. But my first thought would be how beautiful my pill box was.

By the end of my medication stint I had purchased about 5 very different, very beautiful pieces of artwork that I used to carry around my meds.

Medication and a Meaningful Life

When you’re diagnosed and given your first prescription to fill, it should come up at some point the types of side effects that are common with those drugs.

Some drugs that are prescribed for the disorder have some pretty nasty side-effects.

It’ll be one of those moments that remind you of all those drug commercials you see on TV.

You know the ones. There’s countless of them out there now. And they all follow the same type of format.

The commercial is all blue skies, and smiles and unicorns and cotton candy until the very end when they’re about to cut to the next commercial when you’ll hear some guy chime in rapidly speaking about the 101 sideffects that may arise from taking the medicine.

Of course this is at the point where you’re in a trance and are completely mesmerized by the pretty pictures floating by on the screen, and you’ll barely hear his voice, but it’s there telling you all the nasty things that may happen if you take these meds.

The first time you’re given your prescription for meds or during an initial conversation with your doctor in regards to which meds you’ll be on you will have one of these moments.

Your doctor will give you, or really should give you, pertinent information in regards to the meds you’ll be on and their side-effects.

It’ll be a very surreal moment.

Now I don’t want you to really focus on those side-effects because in the end they will matter little.

Of course you need to work with your doctor and find meds that work best for you but in the end the pros of taking medication completely out weigh the cons.

If someone wanted me to do a pros and cons report for taking say Lithium it would look something like this:

Medication Pros: SANITY AND A HEALTHY NORMAL LIFE

Medication Cons: Lethargy Weight Gain Loss of Focus The Shakes Feeling Hazy Nausea Sexual Dysfunction Headaches Diarrhea Loss of Balance Anxiety Blurred Vision

Even with how much taking and being on medication sucks sometimes the benefits of SANITY far outweigh any of these minor inconveniences.

And really all the above mentioned disadvantages of being on medication can be alleviated or reduced by changing dosage levels, switching to a different medication type or living a healthy and active life.

Living a good, healthy and happy life will practically erase all the side effects of medication.

The Guessing Game – Medications and Dosages

There are tons of medications out there and you can be prescribed any one of them. Or maybe more than one.

In whatever case always know that this isn’t an exact science.

One medication may work better than another for you.

8 Ways To Avoid Being On The Wrong Medication and Dosages

1. Always be sure to ask you doctor what are the options you have

2. Ask why they have chosen a certain medication for you

3. Do some reading yourself

4. Ask why they’ve recommended a certain dosage for you

5. Write down and keep track of any reactions you have to the medication

6. Bring these side-effects up with your doctor

7. Don’t be shy-You can adjust dosage levels. Work with your doctor to achieve this

8. When adjusting dosage levels use small changes

Do some reading about the medications your going to be on yourself as well. You don’t need to become an expert but you do need to know what’s going on here.

Remember this is your life and you need to have a vested interest in it.

These doctors are extremely busy so be sure to have your questions ready for them.

In regards to dosages, again this is a bit of a guessing game as well.

You and your doctor will just really have to tweak your levels to find an acceptable dosage.

Be sure to find one that gives you enough clarity and control.

Don’t be shy about this either. This is a trial and error process.

Don’t make big jumps but do be aware of how you’re feeling and what is the quality of your life on the dosage that you’re at.

You don’t want to lose yourself to the medication but at the same time you definitely don’t want to get lost again to the disorder.

Medication – Some Final Notes

I hope that you can now see and understand that taking medication isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Trust me, I know.

I know all the challenges that go along with the meds.

I’ve had all the side effects listed in the cons section of the above list and none of them are any fun.

Especially sexual dysfunction when you’re a young and easy on the eyes.

But you know what…?

You’ll get through it.

You’ll find a way.

Because life is too precious to gamble away with the reckless behaviour of not taking your medication.

Bipolar Buddha - Ian Paul Marshall
With much love!

Ian (The Bipolar Buddha)