Heather: Experiences with Medication Management

Scott has had an easier time staying stable with medication and sees his psychiatrist twice a year. Heather wonders about the long-term effects of being on psychiatric mediations for life. He has a “jittery” leg. Heather recalled that when she and Scott were dating, she wanted to go out for New Year’s Eve, but Scott had already taken his medication and couldn’t drink or drive. She did not understand medication effects. After they had been dating a while, she realized that after Scott took his medication, he would “turn into a zombie” and his brain worked slower.

At the time, he told me it was sleeping pills, so I was kind of hounding him. Those are really affecting you. You shouldn’t take those. I thought it was just an optional choice. I didn’t know. Luckily, he was strong enough to say I’m going to keep this secret and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. But I was totally peer pressuring him to do something that wasn’t good for him and I didn’t even know it.

For Brad, finding the right medication was more complex with many medication changes. Although he saw a therapist for a while, he did not continue therapy. Heather’s parents worry that Brad manipulates his therapist, because “he’s just such a lovable guy when he wants to be.” He lived in a group home for a while, which Heather described as dreary and depressing. She recognizes that the healthcare system lacks resources for persons living with mental illness, stating the system is “maxed out.” She especially laments the inadequacy of mental health resources in rural areas, and is grateful that both her husband and brother live in a metropolitan area with better access to healthcare providers.