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How Antipsychotic Medication Helped Me When Nothing Else Has

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

Throughout high school, I had a diagnosis of depression but the diagnosis never felt right. I was on antidepressants for two years. After about a year, I reached a point where I was so happy, overly ecstatic and so motivated I tried to accomplish everything and anything I thought of in a short amount of time, and I had so much energy I thought I could jump over the moon if I wanted to. I was told feeling elated was a good thing because it meant I wasn’t depressed. Though I was overly happy, I never felt I was in control of myself. Last year, I received my bipolar disorder diagnosis.

At the second year mark of taking antidepressants, things only got worse. I started hearing voices, seeing strange people peer around corners in my house, and believed people were spying on me through the walls, trying to gather as much intel as they could to incriminate me. I learned to live with them for two years before I started taking antipsychotics.

In the summer of 2015, I spent a ton of money, lost the fantastic loving relationship with my bosses, and I got fired from my job of five years. This was my first true manic episode. I had never felt more out of control than in that year. Towards the end of summer, I stopped taking the antidepressants and for a few months I actually felt the most in control I had been in years. But then October came and I had the worst depression of my life. It was so bad that I almost failed out of college that semester. I felt helpless because I didn’t think my family would forgive me for wasting a semester’s worth of tuition. The voices wouldn’t let me sleep or do homework, and then I attempted suicide.

The following semester, I was once again elated, driven, energetic and loving life. I once again spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on things for others and myself without hesitation. The summer of 2016, I went to my psychiatrist and told her I didn’t feel right, but that the antidepressants made me feel even worse. This was when I received my bipolar diagnosis.

My psychiatrist suggested antipsychotic medication, which I was hesitant to try because only “crazy people” take antipsychotics, right? Wrong. I have never felt better in my entire life. I sleep great, the volume and frequency of my hallucinations have decreased, I am able to regulate my mood, and I have the perfect amount of motivation and energy. I feel in control. I feel “normal.” I genuinely enjoy being on antipsychotic medication. The only way I can explain the feeling I have towards antipsychotics is just pure appreciation.

I know, for a lot of people, the idea of taking antipsychotic medication is scary. I know many people feel as though taking antipsychotic medication would somehow make them lesser or mean they have reached a low point in their life. I know antipsychotic medication causes a lot of side effects for a lot of people, but luckily I am not one of those people. Antipsychotic medication is nothing to be scared of, and for some people, like me, it can be an amazing gift.

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Getty Images photo via federicomarsicano

Originally published: February 1, 2018
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