Eight days ago I increased my medication.
With full support from my doctor, of course. In fact, it was a recommendation that was said to me a few seconds before I was about to suggest it. Things were going good, great at times but something was lacking. Something was stopping me from beating through the last hurdle e.g. longer car journeys, especially motorways.
At the Start.
When I first started taking the drug Sertraline it was 2016 and I was nervous. My dad was receiving treatment for a terminal illness whilst my best friend had suddenly passed away. I had been battling on with anxiety for a number of years until I finally bucked up the courage to tell my doctor how I really was feeling.
After chatting and telling him how a CBT therapist had at one pointed stated that they felt I was suffering from ‘a touch of PTSD’ he prescribed me something he felt could help.
The side effects weren’t too bad. I was warned of possible headaches, stomach ache and nausea. They eventually passed and I did begin to feel better. I was still anxious at times but that’s what comes with being human. I felt able to do things that I couldn’t do for a number of months beforehand. Things like visiting family who lived a short car journey away as well as walking my dog for longer periods of time. Types of things that perhaps ten years ago I would have taken for granted. Not to forget being able to visit my dad in the hospital when his treatment was no longer working and he passed away. I feared I wouldn’t be able to see him before he passed, but thankfully I did.
Foot on the break.
Eventually, I had to realise that whilst the medication was allowing me to do certain things I felt unable to do before it there were barriers I felt still unable to cross. As though my mind was pressing right down onto the break of my mentally fictional motor vehicle. It was more the overall fear of ‘what if’ if I’m being honest. I slowly increased my new found abilities – stretching the distances I travelled in the car and going for walks somewhat longer than before. Using public transport, albeit a taxi, was a huge thing for me too. But nonetheless, prepping myself up to go on a journey via the motorway brought dread to the pit of my stomach. The fear of the fear.
Increasing the dose.
After a quick checkup appointment with my doctor, I explained all of the above. How things were good, at times they were great, but something was missing. I wasn’t sure how to approach the elephant on the motorway – if you catch my drift. She was really understanding and suggested that perhaps increasing my dose would help. I would have preferred a magic wand or for the first dose to work but it wasn’t to be, so increasing it was the way forward. It was also recommended that I try some type of talking therapy, and to be honest it is something that I felt at the beginning would have helped me hugely. But now, in reflection, I think medication and mindfulness are where I need to be right now.
So, yes, it’s been eight days. I was told to expect side effects again as the dose was increased. However, it was increased by a small amount so it was possible to get no effects. I may have had a couple of days on/off with nausea and a dull ache in my stomach, but it passed without much notice. I’m just trying not to focus too much on it, trying not to watch it like I’m waiting for a bus to break at my stop and collect me.
The thing is, well all need to find what works for us. We’re all so uniquely different but at the same time, all so the same. We all have brains, minds, thoughts, skin… but we also all have different ways of coping with every day things. If you feel the medication helps you then take it whereas if you feel yoga helps or clean eating works then do this too. Do what works for you. I am.