A change in psychiatric medication can break the strongest mind and the sturdiest body. Last night I took the plunge and replaced the medicine I’ve been taking for years with a new one. The new one costs $700 for a month’s supply, but with a special document sent to the manufacturer, I can get it for $5 at the county hospital. My family feels that the new medicine must be more effective and higher quality because it costs so much. I’m not convinced. Every individual’s brain is different, and the way a psych med affects your brain is equally unique. A five-dollar medication may work wonders for someone while the more pricey med might cause a psychotic break. (My auto-correct is telling me I should say ‘priceyer’ or ‘pricier’ but neither of those options look right to me.)
It has been a forty-eight hours since I last took my old medicine. The withdrawals began a few hours after I usually take it. It begins with lightheadedness and escalates to an out-of-body experience. I am an astronaut floating in zero-g, but my body is sore from head to toe as if I were covered in bruises. It takes every ounce of strength in me to brush my teeth. Indeed, it was my biggest accomplishment of the day.
I have seen a few women go through Heroin withdrawal. The experience is similar in some ways. When the brain is daily given a substance that alters its chemistry over a period of years, it becomes addicted to this substance whether or not the substance is harmful or helpful. Someone who has been using crutches for years will have a difficult time learning how to walk again on their own. I am willing to put that hard work in, to have my only brain heal and not require medication for the rest of my life. Nothing, no one, is beyond hope for absolute healing.