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The Fear of Starting a New Medication

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It’s that time again.

A new medication.

A new med with the potential to either really help me or really hurt me.

I stare at the medication nervously. Trying to work up the nerve to take it and find out whether it will be helpful or horrible.

I’ve been staring at this med for two weeks. A medication I practically pleaded with my doctor to get. Something to help me sleep. Nonaddictive. I’m not sleeping. I need help.

Yet, here I am, still in that unknown place, not knowing how it will affect me, because I haven’t tried it yet. I also haven’t slept much yet, either.  Insomnia wasn’t cured by staring at sleeping pills. Imagine that!

Thankfully, my doctor is very understanding about this. More understanding to me than I am to myself.

I sheepishly admitted to him that I haven’t tried it yet. That my health has been so much worse and I’d be more comfortable trying it when it settles down. I told him I know myself. If I take it when I’m doing poorly and then I worsen, my mind will equate it to the new medication. Even if maybe it wasn’t the cause. I admitted I’m afraid I’ll have an allergic reaction. I told him I’ve been so sick that the thought of adding side effects on top of it has been making me hesitant.

He replied that of course I feel this way! Of course I’m worried! It’s rational. He said it’s rational for you because with your history, it’s true. You’ve had such severe reactions to so many things, including medications. You are being sensible. He then said that he thought I had made the right decision, that it is best to wait until my worsened health improves a bit.

It was a relief. I hadn’t realized how much stress I was putting on myself each day, trying to force myself to take it even though I was dealing with multiple health issues that were worsening. I put so much pressure on myself. Plus I really want to sleep, so I have been disappointed in myself. I thought my doctor would be disappointed in me, too.

Knowing he understands and thinks it is rational has really helped the stress fade away. When I’m feeling a bit better I will try this medication and my body will let me know when it’s a good time.

I’m writing this for anyone else who might feel silly about being afraid to try a new medication. You aren’t silly. There are risks and side effects and it can be really nerve-wracking. You aren’t alone.

I know I will work up the courage to try this. Hopefully I get some great sleep and not much else from it!

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Thinkstock photo via diego_cervo.

Originally published: November 15, 2017
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