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The Side Effect I Didn't Expect From My Medication

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I recently visited a new primary care doctor, and part of that process of filling out the piles of paperwork was to include any particular symptoms that may be currently concerning me. When I finished I had circled about 85 percent of the mental health symptoms and nothing else.

After we got through the general meet-and-greet and sorting through my more recent serious medical history of thyroid cancer, we turned our attention to those symptoms.

I shared the little bit of history I had with my mental health, which mostly was saying a counselor I met with a few times in college told me I probably had general anxiety disorder and that I hadn’t followed up to get anything confirmed or even attempted to ease my symptoms. I also shared how in the past year or so the symptoms have seemed to increase in severity, basically after I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

She asked me if I have ever taken medication or wanted to try medication as an option for these symptoms, and a thought that had been in the back of my mind for a while clicked in that moment.

I knew I didn’t like having to take medication for my thyroid, but I brushed off how becoming dependent on a pill to live actually affected me besides giving me the hormones my body needed.

I already had these anxious feelings to begin with, but that little pill had pushed me over my tipping point to a place where it’s much more difficult to get through my day, and I have a feeling other people with conditions that require this sort of daily reminder probably also experience similar feelings.

I wish someone had told me I needed to make sure I was emotionally and mentally OK to deal with what I had to do to be physically OK. I wish as I was going through treatment I had the foresight to talk to a professional, not about how my neck was feeling, but how my head was.

I think when someone goes through a huge medical life change (or really any kind of big change) it should be standard to have them talk with a mental health professional, even if they don’t feel like they need it. If you’re going through the hard work to make sure your body is working the best it can, you should also make sure your mind is too.

I now have some steps to take that will hopefully push me in the right direction.

There’s never a bad time to help yourself feel better, and now I need to do exactly that.

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Thinkstock photo by Gala2205

Originally published: December 26, 2016
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