Starting or stopping a new psychiatric medication can often mean having to adjust to a new normal.
This new normal might involve adjusting to a new sleep schedule, or doing things like drinking more water to counteract side effects, or requiring routine blood work to make sure the medication remains at a healthy level.
There might be things like side effects to get used to, nausea or headaches or tremors, and if you’re coming off a medication it might be losing the side effects and returning to a state of less physical agitation.
Let’s not forget the big kahuna and the reason for these life adjustments in the first place; our mental state. Having to adjust to changes in our mental state might mean facing a change in mood or symptoms we haven’t experienced for a long time (for better or worse), or a change in things like our anxiety level, or even more pressing matters like suicidality.
Adjusting to the new sorts of actions that accompany medication changes, as well as the physical changes we must monitor can be very overwhelming. On top of that, adjusting to the mental changes that may (or may not) come with a medication change can leave one feeling exhausted.
That isn’t to say that the point of all this adjusting is, well, pointless. In fact, it serves a very important purpose, and the vast majority of people who engage in this manner of adjustments find some kind of relief.
Really the point of what I aim to say is that it can be a taxing process, and that is why it is so important to take care of yourself, and to go at your own pace.
Many doctors often lose sight of the fact that the patient must to so much adjusting to medications, and, at least in my own life, I’ve seen them prescribe medication after medication after medication without so much as allowing me to find my footing before launching into the next.
Right now my psychiatrist has prescribed a new medication, but I don’t think I’ve really adjusted yet to life without Geodon. I can’t help but feel that without knowing what my new normal is, how could I possibly know if the next medication is making a difference, for better or worse?
I think I just need to allow myself a little time to get my sea legs before jumping into a new medication again and allow myself to ask, what’s my newest normal?