Medication / by McKenzie Roers

My heart, it's dressed with sympathy and shaking with empathy, for the individuals that do not have a choice when it comes to medication. 

Mental health is a battle nonetheless, but it's a different type of fighting, one that catches you off guard when you least expect it to. 

I've tried three different times now: anti-depression, anti-anxiety, and now a mood stabilizer. 

The first one robbed my creativity in one scoop; the second made me want to run my car head first into a brick wall at a speed that would eliminate us both; the third, the third one just made me sick. 

I took the first dosage of 5 mg, the week-long trial period of the low dose, around 10:30 am that day. I was nervous, I was excited, I was hoping to notice a change. Well, change is what I got alright. My anxiety came in first, full swing, followed by a headache/loopiness that took me off the hill after riding two laps. I couldn't keep my head up long enough without feeling like I was going to puke or straight up collapse into a little weak ball. The nausea...god that was persistent but my hunger raged as my stomach growled and groaned just hours after eating something. After finally heading home from the bike park in defeat, I collapsed onto my bed and drifted into an uncomfortable nap, tossing and turning, eyes closed but where was the sleep? 

Okay, maybe I should take this thing at night to avoid some of these symptoms. I want to be able to ride tomorrow...so at 11 pm that same day, I took my second dose, another 5 mg tablet. That night, my body was layered in a cold sweat almost all night long, my brain was tormented by such a vivid nightmare, and I woke feeling like I had never slept. It was the most sleep I had gotten all week: 7 hours and 13 minutes (fitbit tracker, thank you). I was met with an immediate headache upon opening my eyes, the kind of headache that felt like my brain and been squeezed out like a towel and then left to dry like that. Chris helped me get out of bed, out of the misery. A walk outside. Breakfast, nothing too heavy. And caffeine, just a little for Ms. Queen-Sensitivity. I got through enough of the breakfast sandwich and downed my iced chai latte; the headache was dissipating but my nausea wasn't following suit as willing. 

First bike park lap wasn't ideal, I had a hard time tracking and keeping my eyes open enough, plus my brain wasn't matching the speed I was putting out. Second lap was a bit better. Third lap, better. Fourth, fifth, it all started to come together. The nausea came in waves at this point but the headache wasn't there. After coming down the mountain and snagging some grub for lunch, my headache came back with a vengeance. On the verge of tears, I was scouring the internet to make sure I could take acetaminophen with what I was prescribed and stumbled into numerous chat groups that discussed their experiences with Abilify. Some people had no problem, others were in the same boat as me, quitting in under a week's time due to the severity of the side effects. I decided that, for me to have five out of the seven major side effects that one could potentially have, that my body was not okay with me putting this in it. 

I haven't taken another dose and do not intend to either. For me, it was debilitating more than it was ever helpful. Many will have the argument that I did not try long enough to make it through the adjustment period, however to me that is the choice of ignoring what my body is trying to communicate with me. 

My next step is to try a more holistic approach. So far, CBD has been a great alternative and something that I have been comfortable with as far as experimenting with dosage and intake. I have been limiting my THC intake as I document more of the effects felt from CBD, just to get a more legitimate read. I also quit drinking completely with plans to refrain until further notice. The next change will be my diet as best as possible, as it is difficult to do so in a small mountain town with outrageous prices.