Taking Medication Doesn't Make You Less Creative

Taking Medication Doesn’t Make You Less Creative

This is a lot of debate around medication for Mental Health. I’m a proud taker of Citalopram, it’s something that keeps me healthy and that’s that. There’s an idea that having a mental illness makes you more creative – I’m not sure that is exactly true. But why is this coming up? 

Recently, Kanye West went on a Tweeting spree, within his many, many he states  ‘You don’t make runaway on medication’ and he was ‘six months off medication’. I was pretty worried after reading this. 

While medication is 100% someone’s choice, the idea that you can’t be creative and well frustrates me. For many people, medication saves lives every single day- just like insulin does for a diabetic. The idea that your creativity, your creative worth is tied to you being mentally ill is sad. 

Everyone deserves to feel well and the problem when you are mentally ill it can make you feel that either you are not worthy of feeling better or that you are not ill – you are fantastic, you have every single idea and why would you want to slow down…before you crash.

It is true that beautiful things can come out of these times we’ve seen Art and Music and ideas born from mania but it’s not sustainable. Living in that way is not sustainable and more than anything it worries me that people will think it is, especially those in mania. 

Taking medication doesn’t make you less creative. There are medications that don’t work and can make you feel worse BUT there are a lot you can try while you find one that works for you and makes you feel like yourself. 

I hope that Kanye can get the help that he needs. Mental illness is hard to deal with and I cannot imagine what it is like in the spotlight. Do I agree with the things he does and says all of the time? No, but he’s human and I do have compassion for others. 

It goes without saying that I’m not a medical professional – if you want to change/come off your medication please, please talk to a doctor before doing so. It can be incredibly dangerous to go cold turkey on these meds. 

Take care of yourself and those around you. 

 

What’s Up With Me?

I’ve been a little bit quieter recently on the blog, on my Twitter and in my general life. Now, I don’t feel that I have to explain everything to everyone but it’s been bothering me slightly. I haven’t written about mental health in a while now, partly because I didn’t know what to say, partly because I’ve been mixing with new people and I didn’t want the first thing for them to know about me was my history rather than the person I am now.

So what is up with me? It’s been a really weird month. My Great Nan died at the beginning of the month, so there was also a funeral. I’ve had some hospital appointments and a week off. So it’s been a mixed bag but even with that, something felt off. Something within me felt strange and I just blamed it on things in my life and feeling tired. Standard stuff.

That was until last night, I’d just had enough of feeling crappy and exhausted when there wasn’t anything that I could pinpoint anymore that was making me feel this way. I’ve been going through areas of my life and couldn’t understand what was going on and I was worried. Then something clicked. Something had changed.

About 2 months ago I changed some of my medication and I was told it would be a straight swap, one for the other but it would help with my back pain as well as serving as an antidepressant that I was already on. There was a catch though…nobody told me the dosage would change to be a lot lower and therefore offset the chemical imbalance again. Not fun.

And that’s the thing, I have a chemical imbalance, that’s all this is. It’s just like a Diabetic I can’t help my illness any more than they can. So I spoke to my doctor, we’re trying out some other options and it was a huge weight off of my shoulders to understand. Living with Depression is all about ups and downs.

I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something is up and trying to work around it. I haven’t been crying every day or the typical Hollywood version of depressed but everything just felt a lot heavier and like it was more effort, that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.

So, that’s what’s been up! I’m pretty proud of myself for clocking it and then doing something about it.

 

Have any of you ever experienced this? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday Seven: Catching up on Mental Health Week 2017

Now we’ve come to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 and the end of my week of mental health blogging. I wanted to remind you what I’ve been up to this week, just in case you’ve missed it.

Sunday – Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Week 

Monday – My Mental Health story so far

Tuesday – 10 thing you need to know before taking medication for mental illness

Wednesday – Q & A working in Mental Health 

Thursday – So, what’s it like living with a mental illness? Bloggers answer – part one.

Friday –  So, what’s it like living with a mental illness? Bloggers answer – part two.

Saturday – I took some needed time for myself because I practice what I preach.

Let me know in the comments below what you’ve enjoyed and make sure to look out for much more mental health posts coming.

 

10 things you need to know before taking medication for Mental Illness

There is a lot of debate over medication and mental health. As someone who takes medication, I wanted to put together 10 things I feel you should know before taking medication.

  1. It’s not an easy fix – These aren’t ‘happy pills’ as people like to joke. For me, taking medication was similar to a fog rising, it didn’t instantly make me happy but it gave me the strength to make changes and help myself.
  2. Medication isn’t for everyone – It works for some, but not for others
  3. Your body needs time to adjust– In my experience, and that of most people I’ve spoken to, the first few weeks on new medication can have negative side effects. I had a week of feeling really poorly BUT it was worth it. If you can, see if you can get through that period.
  4. If you don’t feel it’s right, go back to your doctor – That said, if you really are struggling and don’t feel you can carry on or after a while feel your medication isn’t working as it should, go speak to your GP. I had three adjustments in a year on the same medication.
  5. You’re not weaker or less of a person for taking medication– There is so much BS about there about not being your ‘real self’ while on medication. If ‘not being my real self’ includes feeling better, not feeling exhausted and unbearably unhappy, I’ll take that, thanks.
  6. There are so many different types! There are so many different types which are used for different symptoms and reasons.
  7. A lot of people are ill-informed, don’t let them scare you – I’ve found two types of people in this category. The first type, people who’ve had a bad experience on medication. I don’t think they mean any harm but no medication is the same for everyone, just because it didn’t work for them, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. The other type of people don’t know anything about medication and just have, in my personal opinion, uneducated. Do what’s right for you.
  8. You can still have children if you’re on medication – This was something I was really concerned about because there are quite a few side effects and as a woman you have to be extra careful if you want to have children. I have been reliably informed that medication can be managed and monitored, hooray!
  9. You might need to try different medications to find the right one – This happens with a lot of medication, it’s no different when it’s for your mental health. There are so many different types for different issues. Keep going until you find the right one.
  10.  You’re the only person who matters – Everyone has an opinion, but that doesn’t mean they control your life. If you find medication helps you get through the day then you do you, this is your body and your health, no one else’s.

What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @chloemetzger

Spine Update

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on my spine. For some of my most recent followers (there are now 400 of you who receive emails from me!!), you may not know what I’m talking about or why my spine is so important. Back in April 2015 I took a tumble off of a friends horse and long story short I ended up a compression fracture (think a crumble) of one of vertebrae and possible damage to three others. The treatment I received wasn’t great, particularly from the emergency team when I was bought in in the ambulance, who also didn’t find the fracture for 2 weeks, meaning in that time I could hve easily done more damage and been paralysed. Fun. So I’ve been in spine recovery since then and had multiple appointments, doctors and 5 different hospitals in London, it’s all gotten pretty normal to me.

Tonight, however, I got to meet my first GP for the first time. The pain in my spine has been particularly unbearable in the past few months because I’m now working full time and commuting, meaning I can’t take super strong medication. I knew something wasn’t right so off to the doctor I went. I’m used to it being passed off, ignored or being given ANOTHER stack of medication to try, although I was pleasantly surprised.  She was brilliant and took it incredibly seriously listening to my concerns and what I would like done. I’m now on medication that is better for me in the long run, am booked into an x-ray tomorrow and will be sent to a specialist back clinic to see where to go from there. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so optimistic about my back.

As always I’ll keep you all updated about anything that’s going to be done/is discovered. For everyone that has sent me messages or commented thank you so much, those messages keep me going on bad pain days!

Sunday Seven: Seven Things You Should Know About Depression

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I wanted to write about depression tonight. It’s an illness I’ve had since I was a teenager and it’s definitely misunderstood, especially in young people. So here are seven things I think people should know about depression.

It impacts everyone differently. 

Depression is a very personal illness. For come their depression makes them feel irritable, teary or numb. For others their depression may mean they will work and work to make themselves better. Everyone has different triggers and emotions and everyone has different routes to recovery and feeling better.

It’s exhausting.

Mentally and physically depression saps energy. Whether or not you suffer with insomnia, which I do when I’m incredibly stressed, it can impact the quality of your sleep. So even if you’ve had a perfectly chilled day, you can still find yourself wanting to sleep for hours, or being tired at odd times.

A lot of people have jobs and lives whilst having depression, other people don’t, it’s not a competition. 

There’s a common misconception that people with depression stay in bed and don’t leave the house. Sometimes, that is true, personally I’ve been at the point where I’m so sick I can’t get up or haven’t gotten dressed for days. Some days I have to fight those feelings because I have a job and I know that I need to just look after myself a bit more on days like that. Like I said before the illness impacts everyone differently and it doesn’t mean anyone’s depression is better or worse, it just means that people have different ways of dealing with it.

Medication is a personal choice and not for anyone else to judge.

It works for some and not for others, depression is an illness and some illnesses need medication, I don’t understand why it’s judged so much. Would you judge a person for having an inhaler?

There doesn’t need to be a reason. 

A lot of people think there needs to be an event or trauma for depression to happen, but this isn’t always the case. My depression was started by bullying at school but I was also more prone to it anyway. Life can be going incredibly well and you can still be depressed, it’s just a part of the illness.

There are good days and bad days.  

Some days I will be in a great mood, chatting, laughing and going out with friends. Other days I need to cancel all my plans and have a day to myself because the slightest thing is too much. It’s all about good days and bad days.

I’m still me. 

No matter what a person with depression is still the person you know and love. They may be a little lost for a while or not act like the person you know but try not to treat them differently. There are quite a few people who have deemed me a bitch or not wanting to bother when I’ve had a particularly bad time, not understanding that it’s just a rough patch and I’m still the person I always was, just struggling.

Mental Health Awareness Week: The Medication Debate

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Medication is a huge debate whether you have a mental illness or not. It’s something that definitely needs to be spoken about more, in fact I think it’s one of the biggest reasons that people are reluctant to talk about mental illness. There are some people that are of the opinion that those who take medication are taking the ‘easy way out’ or mean that people don’t want to try, as someone with experience neither of these are true. The other extreme belief is that all medication turns you into a zombie, someone who can’t think or do anything for themselves, again an image of simply giving up.

From my own personal experience and the experience of every single person I’ve spoken to about medication it is definitely NOT the easiest solution. While it’s right to say that medication is not for everyone  and some people don’t want to take them, that’s fine. For me I’d tried so many other things counselling being the main route, trying to sleep properly, nothing was working. I was emotionally and physically exhausted when a doctor asked me if I just wanted to try and see how it goes, because I looked completely at the end of my teather. That was the first time and I freaked out about the stigma surrounding them and I just quit, I was done. Then a while later I got at a low stage again and decided to give it a go, the side effects were horrendous. I didn’t sleep for three days, I felt sick all the time, I was sick, I called my doctor to ask if this was normal (it was my first experience of insomnia) who said give it a few more days and see. Luckily this time I carried on, after a few adjustments, reviews and such I eventually settled.

There are a lot of horror stories and it’s rare for someone to go on medication and it be right for them instantly. There’s usually a lot of adjustments, a lot of change. A lot of people ask me why, why put this in your body? For a long time I struggled, who was I, why did my stupid body need these tablets? I really beat myself up constantly. I didn’t want to be someone who relied on medication to function, I didn’t feel normal. That said I could see changed after about a month, it’s hard to describe online, hell it’s even hard to describe in person. It’s like for a long time I was walking around with this fog in my head, everything I did felt wrong, heavy and even when I was happy there was something in me that constantly tugged at my happiness. When the medication worked I wasn’t fixed, but the fog cleared and I could finally think and see things clearer. After I took my medication I started to go back to who I was before the depression took hold of me and I started trusting myself again.

It took a long time but my mentor reminded me of this quote:

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I wasn’t scared of the medication, it helped me after years of just feeling like I was drowning I had some calmness. No one would ever dream of telling a diabetic not to take insulin because of the fact ‘it changes their body’ well, yeah that’s the point. While there are some negative aspects of medication and again, it’s not for everyone BUT it can help. Who has the right to dictate whether or not someone should take something if it does make them feel better, if it enables them to tackle the day or makes the tough days a little bit easier.

It’s the same for me with anything medical, if it’s not your body then you can’t really dictate anything. I truly believe that unless you’ve been through something you can’t judge someone else. Stigma related to taking a medication that makes you well doesn’t really make any sense to me. Like I said, it’s not the easy way out, a quick fix or anything like that without going to see a mentor once a week for a long time my medication wouldn’t have been very effective. People need to work through their problems or the root cause of their depression, sometimes medication makes it a little clearer and a little easier to talk about.

I refuse to be ashamed of treatment for a health condition, neither should you.

 

As always let me know your comments, questions and just generally chat below!

 

Today’s MH Update: Felt a little overwhelmed today and did have a bit of a crumble BUT now feeling very positive and happier!

 

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