Look Forward to Tomorrow
By Sarah Wegner
In what ways have you found psychiatric medication(s) harmful, if any?
It can be a crutch. It can do a lot more harm than good also, when the doctor prescribing is more interested in keeping me out of their office, and less with actually helping. It can be incredibly difficult to determine what is a symptom that needs to be addressed, and what is a side effect of the combination of medications. The side effects of the medications can be a lot worse to live with than the symptoms of the disorder being treated. A lot of the medications have far-reaching consequences that may not be explained to the patient (ie: Paxil yellowing the teeth of kids who are treated with it for a long period of time). Out of all of these though, I think the biggest is that they are so complicated. It makes it so much more difficult for the patient to be accurately informed and an active part of the care team.
If you overcame hopelessness that you could get better from a mental health or emotional problem, was there a turning point for you?
It was a spiritual one. I realized that I have power over how I feel. I can feel worthless, hopeless, and negative, or I can feel that I have worth, hopefulness, and [feel] positive. Feeling positive makes it easier for me to deal with the medications when they are not working, gives me the energy I need to keep going on those horrible days, etc.
Tell us what recovery means to you. How would you define recovery from mental health or emotional problems in your own words?
Being able to live a fulfilling life by my definition of such. The fewest medications possible for the best outcome. Being able to care for myself, my family, and my home with as [little] help as possible. Being able to minimize my triggers. Being productive. Having more good days than bad days.
How recovered do you consider yourself from any mental health or emotional problems? Please use your own definition of recovered. Indicate your level of recovery using the 10-point scale below.
If you could send a brief message to someone receiving mental health care today who is feeling hopeless about getting better, what would you say?
Define your goals clearly, and work toward them. They may need to be re-evaluated and/or revised more than once, but have them. Allow yourself to have those horrible days, and then move on. Take some down time and learn who you are without the illness and symptoms. Never give up.
Can you give examples showing you have gotten better from a mental or emotional problem, such as how you are doing well or accomplishing goals you have chosen?
I am in a healthy marriage, I am working on starting a family, I have good friends who are extremely important to me, I am able to function well as far as running errands most days, I am more positive and extremely less angry than I was 4 years ago, and I have coping mechanisms that work for me. I am more informed, and I am pursuing photography which has been a passion for me. I am recovered enough mentally to really start taking care of myself physically through a major change in diet, and am losing weight as a result. I can do the things that I enjoy without as many triggers. I look forward to tomorrow.