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I Need to Stop Searching for That 'Magic Medication'

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I’m twitching again. My eyebrows, my neck, my jaw. I was so excited about this brand new medication, I didn’t want to face the facts: Seroquel is the only antipsychotic that works for me right now. Sure, it makes me exhausted. I’ve gained weight, and I have digestion problems. But… I don’t twitch. I don’t have muscle rigidity or insomnia. I don’t have jerking movements or restlessness. But I do… on any other antipsychotic. Rexulti, Latuda, Geodon, Risperdal, Zyprexa. Probably more. I’ve basically tried everything. It feels like my chest is a pinball machine. My body keeps shooting up a pinball, and it dings, buzzes, bangs inside me. Akathisia is what it’s called. It means someone suffers from agitation and restlessness. It’s unbearable.

I thought I hated my last medication. I thought I hated sleeping all day, being depressed. I was wrong. I hate this. I can’t sit still. My thoughts are scattered. I can’t read or watch TV for more than two minutes. Even writing this is difficult. I keep having to take a step back from the screen every 30 seconds to breathe and shake it out, all this pent-up energy. It’s like I’m holding my breath. I tap my teeth together, over and over, trying to keep all this energy from spilling out. When no one’s around, I jump up and down, I do jumping jacks, I grind my teeth together, hard. I have too much energy. Running around the world couldn’t get rid of all this energy. Riding my bike doesn’t even put a dent in this much energy. I feel like my body is a prison, and I’m banging around inside my skin, trying to get out. So this medication isn’t the magic med, even though I was positive it would be, just like all the other medications before it.

It’s funny because my aunt called me the other day, and I told her I was doing great, that I was about to finally get on the right medication. And the thing is, I’ve said that for years, but I really believed it. Like I always do. And my aunt said, “August, you have to stop waiting for the perfect medication. It’s never going to be perfect. You have to put in some of the work.” Honestly, I was taken aback. I was quiet. Didn’t she know I was trying? Didn’t she know how bad I wanted to get better?

But the thing is, the grass will always be greener on the other side. A brand new medication right off the market will always seem better, brighter. My aunt is right. As I sit here, twitching, restless, with all this unbearable pent up energy, I know I will have to tell my psychiatrist I have to be put back on Seroquel. Because Seroquel is the only medication that works for me right now, and that’s OK. Seroquel is my home, my outdated, shag-carpeted home, but my home. And I have to make the most of it.

We have to stop waiting for that magic medication, the $500 one, the brand new one that just got the FDA approval. We have to stop waiting for that point in the future, that point where we will finally be happy. Because if we think of life that way, that point where we will finally be happy just gets farther away the closer we get. Make the most of your life, here and now, in this moment, and the next. I don’t think I’ll ever find that perfect medication. But that’s OK. I’m doing fine. I’m holding on. I’m home. In this rickety, dusty old house, I’m home.

Editor’s note: This piece is based on an individual’s experience and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice.

Originally published: September 15, 2016
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