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Fear to Openness about Medication

I am concerned that I may be slipping into depression that may get worse if untreated.

Prior to the birth of my child I never had a bout with depression, but as my body changed so did my hormones and my susceptibility to depression. A few months ago I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and at the time I knew I needed extra support from my my treatment team. I knew I needed to focus on my mental health because my anxiety level was up and down, it was difficult to concentrate, and I felt extremely overwhelmed and afraid my mental illness would rear its ugly head and try to destroy my recovery accomplishments. I spoke my therapist who contacted my doctor and let them know I was coming in the next morning as a walk-in, which I did and we tweaked my medication.

Now, its hard to focus and to carry out minor assignments, sometimes I feel anxious for no reason, I am extremely tired and sleep more than usual, and I feel like I am on a downward spiral. Yet, I have reason to be. I have a lot of personal stresses that may contribute to these new feelings.

Lately, I have been participating in more support groups than before. I guess my subconscious was aware of my need for additional support before I noticed I needed it. I go to two therapist-led support groups a week and co-facilitate one self-help group. The meetings really help me because I am able to get a lot of information from my therapist and peers. For example, I asked my therapist what are the common side effects for antidepressants and how long does it usually take the body to respond to it.

In the past, my doctor prescribed antidepressant medication that I filled, but did not take because I did not know enough about the medication and believed the depression rose. Now that I understand what the common side effects are and how long it could take my body to respond to it, I am more open to taking it with the new information I learned from my therapist. Moreover, my doctor said to start the antidepressant medication if I felt I needed them. I need them. I will start taking them today in addition to the medication I am already taking.

If you or someone you know is in need of treatment but is afraid of getting treatment for whatever reason, encourage educating self by asking a healthcare provider questions about treatment.

If you want to learn more about schizophrenia visit Embracing My Mind Inc., National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Choices in Recovery, and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).


Anonymous said…

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Chris said…
Hi Ashley,

I understand how you feel.

For a short while, I had to take an anti-depressant.

It's actually quite common that people with SZ need to take an anti-depressant as part of their medication routine.

I hope you can start to feel better.

You are brave and wise to consider every possible option for maintaining wellness. Yet you are also smart to get your questions answered about the effects of the drug and any side effects.

I found that taking the anti-depressant was much better than lying in bed all day.

Whatever a person with SZ needs to do to stay in the game of life, I can understand this.

Keep the faith, there's always hope.

Anonymous said…
Hi Ashley. Stumbled upon your blog while reading up on schizophrenia. Decided to respond to this post to offer my personal recommendations on coping with stress.
First, I hope you are much better since you wrote the post. I'd like to suggest meditation and a variety of new age thought for coping with any kind of stress you might feel. A lot of new age thought, such as power of positive thinking and intention, manifestation, etc - are about believing yourself to be in control of whatever situations you are going through. I find this a very useful coping mechanism, and a why to remain absolutely optimistic regardless of what's going on around. Also, they are compatible with any faith, so there's no need to feel as though you are violating any of your beliefs. Anyway, these are just my suggestion. I trust all is and will always be alright with you!
Anonymous said…

I sympathize with your struggles with medication. I myself am living with Schizophrenia and have spent years working on my own recovery with the help of family, friends, doctors, and my therapist. It's always important to keep an open mind, whatever you end up choosing to do. If you'd like to get to know me a little better, please check out my blog, Life in Little Words (wordpress). I wish you all the best in your journey

Unknown said…
hi ASH,

congrats on the birth of your baby! as a mom and a person with schizophrenia, i must salute you on how well your doing! my daughter is 2 and when i was 37 weeks in i got real sick and ran away from home pregnant to atlanta ga by myself with no money no clothes no cell phone no destination. and i gave birth to her and my parents rushed to be at my aid but my husband wasnt there. she was born at grady. and dfac started a case on me here in sc. after i got home i was post partum and sick mentally. i went to the mental hospital for 3 weeks and came out sicker mentally. then i went to jail 3 times. it took alot to get better and my energy level has taken a toll. i dont feel like doing nothing all day. but the blessing we have custody of our daughter she is no longer a case with dfac thank god! but i wanted to tell you my
Anonymous said…
Hi, My oldest brother died recently...He was an Alcoholic...I couldn't "Hold my Drink" so I smoked pot/tobacco and tried Cocaine and Methamphetamine (Crank)...I think I and my brother were born with Mental Illness...Our Grandmother on our mom's side we were told was "Crazy"...She had a Heat Stroke in her 60's and this triggered Alzheimer's supposedly, she died in a Elderly Home in her 80's...I used to have massive depression? I can't remember when depression stopped?I tried Anti-Depressants, but they gave me worse headaches than the pot and speeds? I think I've hemorrhaged because of Anti-Depressants? Yes, Bleeding in the skull ...I think my brother hemorrhaged also along with his liver going out, he didn't take Anti-Depressants I don't think?...So, a family history of mental illness's coupled with addiction is?
Anonymous said…
Hi,nice to meet you.
I am Japanese and I have schzo disorder,mixed anxous and depressive disorder.

I understand your feel.

Best regards,
SchizLife said…
I hear you about being hesitant about medications. I can tell you that they played a large role in helping me cut down on my symptoms enough to really begin functioning a lot better. Prozac has been great for my depression and anxiety. You can always give it a shot and then abandon it later if you want! But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!
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Rebecca said…
Thank you so much for writing this blog. I am so inspired by your recovery, honesty, and intelligence! I am struggling with managing this , my sister has adult onset and I am experiencing frustration with our conditional discharge with lack of after care treatment plan in our state.
It has takne 11 months to get a proper prescription ( no Meidcaid) and she was left outside with nothing but a garbage bag of clothes in 20 degree weather twice... this is after being assured her 'team' was managing her case, benefit apps and all.... SO I am no longer listenign either to her or her team about anything.... she was treated as if she was capapble of navigating this and putting it all together on her owm...without a phone, food card car or a winter coat. She also took a running car in an episode last year I found her by googling jail ;-) I will not let her fall thorugh the cracks and die.. as long as she is complying with her meds there is HOPE....
Momofthree said…
Ashley, I just recommended your blog to another psychiatric hospital! Now, I know you are just a normal person with an incredible recovery to share and continue sharing. But I don't think you will ever know how many people you have encouraged!! You've definitely encouraged me. My 19 year old son has been diagnosed with Scizophrenia just recently, August. And it hurts to see him slip away and feel so powerless to help. But God is good. He will never leave my son or me or you. God is always loving us and teaching us, even when life's lessons are so hard. Thank you for your willingness to share so honestly. Your blog has helped me more than any book or article I've read (& that's a bunch of reading!) God bless you and your loved ones! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Ashley Smith said…
To all those who left a comment over the course of a few weeks in response to this blog entry: I need encouragement too sometimes, and reading your comments really help me stay focused on recovery and self-advocacy. It is unfortunate that many of us are either diagnosed with mental illness or are family members, but I am glad to know that we are supportive of each other and can even share our stories to provide reassurance... I appreciate each of your comments and concern for me. I sincerely, thank you.

Warm regards,
Ashley Smith

We are all overcomers of something, I am thankful I have the support of my peers.

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