My Mental Illness Medication Journey

Part 1: High School

Let's take a journey back to the beginning of March 2017. Eighteen-year-old me is an absolute mess. Not even a hot mess; we're talking a volcanic eruption with molten-hot lava. Every day that I go to school, I pretend to know what's going on in class, but the truth is that I can't pay attention for that long. I feel anxious to the infinite degree, weighed down by depression and worthlessness, and I am just exhausted in general. With the help of my parents, we agreed that it was time that I see a psychiatrist. By the end of our first session, which is essentially you sitting there answering like 10 million questions, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Binge Eating Disorder, and ADHD (hyperactive and inattentive). I additionally received my first prescription: Vyvanse (20mg).

When I got this pill, I figured this was it, this was all I needed. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Two weeks into 20mg Vyvanse, it stopped working, so I saw my psychiatrist again. They bumped it up by 10mg. Once again, I assumed that this was it too. However, this process of working beautifully to not working at all repeated until I reached the maximum dose of Vyvanse, which is 70mg. And this, I was on for about two and a half years. It was life-changing, to say the least. I could concentrate in class, which took off a huge amount of my stress and helped regulate my sleeping schedule since I wasn't having to teach myself at like 2 a.m. what I was supposed to learn in class that day. I was losing some weight as well since the pill regulated my appetite. All in all, by the end of senior year, I was good.

Part 2: Freshman Year of College

Remember that one time I said I was good? Yeah, didn't last long. Turns out, college is stressful as heck. While my concentration was positively thriving, my depression and anxiety definitely were not thriving, at least not positively. With anxiety taking the forefront, my psychiatrist and I address this SOB first.

We began with me taking Lexapro. After about a month and a half of waiting for it to work, there were no results in the slightest. All Lexapro did was give me pounding headaches. So then, we tried Zoloft. The same thing that happened with Lexapro happened with Zoloft, except this time I had terrible insomnia rather than headaches.

After Zoloft, we tried Pristiq. Finally, I had a medication that worked and made my life feel so much calmer.

Did you think that I finally caught a break? How cute! I most definitely did not.

Turns out, Pristiq is addictive. After I ran out of my pills, I began going through withdrawal.

Withdrawal is one of the worst things I have ever gone through in my life, and quite frankly I am scarred by it. For about a week, I couldn't leave my room. I had horrible cold sweats, was extremely dizzy, pounding headaches, and was extremely sensitive to sound. I also experienced these weird electric shock sensations in my brain and my body. You know how it feels when you get shocked by a spark plug? It was that in my brain, but worse. And worst of all, in my opinion, was the extreme suicidal thoughts and anxiety I felt and experienced. I was scared to leave my room because I felt like I couldn't beat my thoughts, so I figured my room was the safest place where I have nothing I could use to end my life. This was the longest week of my entire life, but I came out on top thanks to my mom and my amazing roommate at the time. Safe to say, I never took that pill again.

Since then, I have been taking Buspirone, which at this point I was taking two times a day.

Part 3: Sophomore Year of College

Once again, college is stressful. Not to mention that this was the first year that I was an RA (Resident Advisor), so I added on approximately 500 tons of stress. My anxiety got so bad that I had to start taking my Buspirone three times a day rather than two, and I started taking medicine for my depression. I take Fluoxetine now, which really helps out my noggin. Fast forward to the second semester, and turns out my Vyvanse no longer works for me. So now, we have to start a new ADHD medication, which is the medication I am still on today: Concerta.

I don't want this journey to portray that my mental health is in a perfect state now, as it is far from it. However, it has drastically changed my life for the better. It is important to remember that it takes time to find your concoction of medications to fix your brain. Heck, I still haven't found mine. But I'm hoping to find it one day.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Taylar Banks

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