So, yes it has been a long time (significantly long) and I am very sorry for this but today, the fact that I feel like I want to write a post after so long, well that in itself is exactly the issue that I want to talk about and the emotional effects related.
I believe I have told you all before about being placed on a medication to help with my eating disorder. This medication was definitely helping when it comes to the eating disorder and that in itself was pretty great. I felt that on the medication I still had issues with the eating disorder but at the same time the medication was meaning I was eating proper food at meal times, I was feeling less like I wanted to leave something I was doing in order to go and forage for food I didn’t need. In November/December (I apoligise if I’ve already told you all about this but even if I have this is a bit of a quick recap), my Mum and Dad were struggling with extreme changes in my behaviour, it was like I no longer had a scale to go up and down in terms of emotions, there was no 1 – 10 but more 1 or 10. My emotional changes were like flicking a switch. I became argumentative about almost everything, even things that didn’t really matter.
At this time I wasn’t really aware of the emotional changes at all. I had started to notice one thing while being on the medication, which was that I found myself unable to really relax into an activity like I normally would. It’s not unusual for me to switch between two or three activities during the day – I think that’s pretty much normal for the majority of people – but I was noticing that I could switch between five or six different activities several times in a day, struggling to stick to an activity for more than a couple of hours.
Due to these changes we decided to have a break from the medication, I had to slowly come off the meds over a few weeks with decreases each week and in January I had six weeks with no medication in my system. All my eating disorder issues came straight back to my headspace. I got to a point again of thinking about food almost all day, even if I didn’t really know why. I was in a place where I knew I would steal food again, and I began looking for food to steal around the house. I felt emotionally different, I felt more flat and lethargic (which makes sense given what the meds do) but in my first two weeks back at University I became aware that my ability to do work, to focus on work and get through it had become hugely impaired.
I was awoken to the realisation that actually the medication I was given for my eating disorder was actually also helping me with symptoms of ADD that I didn’t realise I struggled with. I had never been aware before of how hard concentration could be for me, but having that struggle taken away was really what I needed to see the struggle at all.
A few weeks ago we went back on the medication, I am still working back up to the dose I found effective, and I am noticing symptoms that I had before when getting used to the medication such as a jittery feeling and a fast heart rate. The biggest thing I’ve noticed of course is both a lesser desire to eat random things (although not as good as that is at the proper dose) and an increase in energy.
The energy increase is unusual, it is definitely an increase overall but it’s also an increase in productive energy. What I mean by this is, for example, my mindset this morning. I got up, tidied my bedroom up a bit, organised some university work, started writing this blog post and my brain is lining up other plans for uni work, art I want to start working and a general feeling of wanting to go. I feel a little like a clockwork toy stuck against a wall, I need to move but I can’t move fast enough or do enough to fill that need.
I’ve always been the sort of person to be working on many projects at a time, that’s not unusual for me, but when on this medication I feel like I am never satisfied spending a whole day sitting chilling like I ‘normally’ would. The hard thing here is that there isn’t an easy way to deal with this. I feel like perhaps this energy, this drive behind me is part of the reason I seem to feel a massive increase in my frustration levels, causing the emotional switch from ‘fine’ to ‘extremely angry/upset’.
I wasn’t sure how to talk about this in a way that really explains the issues in my head with medication, so I think presenting them as pro’s and con’s will let you see the struggle I have.
Pros of Medication:
- Without the medication my ability to do university work was massively impaired and I was finding it ‘boring’ rather than enjoying it with the passion I usually do
- The medication gives me a better quality of life with the eating disorder, it means my life is not overtaken by food, it means I am able to go out somewhere and bring back money that I didn’t spend – particularly if I didn’t really want to spend money but I wanted a fix of food.
- I feel more trusted by my family, because they can give me money when I go out, they know I am being more sensible and this allows me to take more substantial amounts of money which in turn gives me freedom to buy things I want to buy.
- I am able to think less about food, steal less food and feel less guilt over the eating issues
- I am able to lose weight, returning to my more natural weight, helping me wear clothes I love again and to feel comfortable in my own body again. It increases my self-esteme which helps me to see a way forward and out of the control of an eating disorder.
- I am able to stay on top of my activities more – you will have noticed there were no posts over the time when I was off the medication – I am able to keep to my plans and goals, again helping me feel better in myself
- I think it might be helping my University grades, I am able to focus more on work, I am able to enjoy the work and get more from the reading materials etc.
Cons of the Medication:
- The constant buzz of energy, struggling to ever really feel settled into what I am doing
- The way that it effects my mood, which has a huge impact on not only my family but my partner and I worry that it will start to effect others that I see less frequently.
- The fact that these mood changes influence my relationship with my family, understanding that I have been so bad that my family have felt they were struggling to cope on various days.
- That I need to be at the dose I am on for the best effect in terms of my eating disorder, and that this is the only medication that I have tried which has worked for the eating disorder. All the ADD advice on these issues is to change the meds or the dose, I don’t have this option.
- I am more aware this time of the changes in my behaviour and more importantly in my emotions but I also have no idea how I can help to deal with these feelings, with this frustration, how I can be myself and take the medication I need to take.
So you can probably see that I am in a hard place at the moment, I need the medication, but I also need to maintain who I am as a person and keep the values and hobbies that I enjoy. In terms of waiting for Psychology – which feels like waiting on a miracle that I need more than anything else – In January I was closer to the top of the waiting list but still more than six months from an appointment, so I won’t be likely to get help from them until at least June. I need to try and understand how I can find a balance in life and how I can best help myself while waiting, and praying, that I might get the answer through psychology.
Thanks for reading everyone, I’m sorry if this is a bit of a negative post for you all, but this was the catalyst which allowed me to actually start writing the blog again. Thank you for being here, for reading, and I hope it was interesting to you in some way. See you Soon 🙂