Hey everyone, I may have mentioned this elsewhere, but I wanted to talk specifically about my recent experiences with my medications. Recently, I upped my meds from 40 mg to 60 mg, which is the highest possible dose on this medication.
This was only one of the alternatives available to me – I could have changed to another medication altogether, which may have been a bit more applicable to my mental illness. However, this would have meant lowering my current dose down to 20mg, and then going off it completely, before being able to start up on a new medication. The last time I was off medication was two years ago, and to be brutally honest, this is not something that I wanted to experience any time soon. So, I decided to try the higher dose, even though it is not guaranteed to help. In which case, I would have to lower the dosage and try something else.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with SSRIs, it takes about 4-6 weeks for the medication to really start taking effect. However, in those first 4 or so weeks, you still get the (often unpleasant) side-effects. It is a common experience that you actually feel worse after you’ve gone on medication than what you were before. And because I’ve upped my meds two times before, I was expecting that. (When I first went on my meds, I had terrible lethargy, nausea, and increased suicidal thoughts. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone in the world.)
However, this time was a bit different to anything I’d experienced before. Whilst going on SSRIs for the first time, I had restless legs and kept grinding my teeth. This time though, the restlessness went even further. I’ve been feeling really jittery – constantly bouncing my legs up and down to the point of exhaustion. A couple of times I woke up in the morning with uncontrollable full-body shaking. And the other day, I had the uncontrollable need to twitch. (I feel a bit like it now, just talking about it.)
This in particular was really scary for me because I’ve never had a side-effect that could occur in public. Sure, I’ve cried and had a bit of a panic before in public, but that I can mostly hide. For some reason, the twitching felt different. It felt like I was losing control of the narrative of my mental illness. Before now, I could decide who I would tell, and what details to share. With such a physical manifestation, this was taken out of my hands. I know that I need to change my attitude about this, but I’m still really shaken. It really made me question my underlying thoughts about myself, and made me realise that I have a lot of unconscious biases about mental health that I still need to challenge.
The past few weeks have definitely not been easy. But hopefully soon I’ll be feeling a bit better, and really start tackling those biases. I’ve got work to do.