The Mighty Logo

Coping With a Stressful Day of Picking Up My Schizophrenia Medication

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

For me, the most important day of the month is when I go to the veteran’s hospital where I get my medication. I wake up before 8 a.m. to make sure I get a parking spot. I immediately go to the blood lab where I get blood work done to ensure that I am not experiencing any adverse reactions to my medication. After my blood has been taken, I go to my appointment with my doctor.

This would be a typical schedule for me. When things do not go as planned, an interruption in the routine can create stress. Stress can be a trigger for my schizophrenia. I take deep breaths and deal with other triggers like needing a cup of coffee or something to eat from being hungry. After a large cup of coffee, I go to the mental health waiting room where I wait to see my doctor.

The appointment can vary depending on whether or not I am experiencing symptoms. When I get in to see my doctor, she always begins by asking me if I might be a danger to myself or someone else. Also she asks if I am experiencing symptoms. After seeing my doctor, I get my monthly injectable and pick up any other prescriptions.

This is as smooth as a trip to the veteran’s hospital can go. Typically, I would be leaving around 10 a.m. — on my way home to wait for another month to pass, and then I repeat the process all over again.

However, many things can happen to disrupt what should be an ordinary day to see my doctor and pick up my medication. It’s quite possible there could be a traffic problem, and either I or my doctor are late for some reason.  Impatience doesn’t help anyone, and complaining to the receptionist that my time matters doesn’t quicken the process. I tell myself that doctors have lives outside their job at the veteran’s hospital, so of course, they are late sometimes. I have found that the more patience and understanding I can show, the better my chances for getting the help I need. I think about my life, and getting my medication is the most important thing I have to do. For the most part, I have no plans for the rest of the day, so being irritable will not speed things up.

Recently my doctor was late; she usually comes in around 9 a.m. When I first saw my doctor, I asked her if she was OK. She assured me that she was, and I could see her relax. Sometimes my doctor forgets to tell the blood lab that I am coming. Upon learning this, I have to go back to the mental health waiting room and wait for my doctor, so she can give the order. The doctor places the order for the blood work, and I go back to the blood lab to get my blood work. Even though interruptions occur, I can’t just walk away or give up. The alternative to giving up and leaving would create more stress because I would not get my medication.

Once the veteran’s hospital ran out of my medications, and I knew that I only had a few days of meds left at home.  This was extremely stressful for me since I know I cannot go without my medication. Realizing that freaking out wouldn’t be constructive and would probably put me in the psych ward on Christmas, I sat down and got something to drink. The pharmacist was willing to send the rest of my medication in the mail to my home, but I realized I would not be home, but with my parents. However, the medicine could be delivered in the mail in one day to my parent’s home. I learned that even during a break in the routine, other answers can be found.

Problems can be solved. Sometimes I need to sit in a quiet place with no distractions to think through an issue. I’ve learned that it is OK to ask for advice from my doctor or pharmacist. They are there to help me.

I try not to take interruptions personally. Sometimes, with my paranoia, I think people are conspiring against me, but if I take a deep breath and remind myself that my doctor and pharmacist are there to help me and not to hurt me, I feel less stress.

Even though I am in recovery, I still need to ask for help occasionally. Events in our lives like medication changes or dosage changes can stress me out, and my feelings about these changes can fluctuate.  However, I know I can trust the professionals on my treatment team to know when it is time to regulate my meds.

Change is certain in life, even small changes, and my emotions can go up and down because I have a mental health diagnosis. Not giving up when my schedule gets interrupted and not being afraid to ask for help is teaching me that my problems can be solved and worked through.

Photo by Kelvin Balingit on Unsplash

Originally published: February 4, 2021
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home