Is My Treatment Plan Harming My Mental Health?
Whether I am treating psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and my other chronic illnesses pharmaceutically or naturally, I have always relied on a handful of people to make me aware of changes to my emotional and/or mental health. I don’t have them monitor when and if I was taking my medications or following my protocol, my doctor and/or I can clearly detect that. They have a different job, one that my doctor couldn’t perform and that I would often ignore.
On the lookout
Their job was and still is to watch for any personality changes, good or bad. This doesn’t mean that they automatically jump to conclusions over whether a treatment is working or not just because I have a good/bad day or suffer from a side-effect. Instead their duty is to look for serious signs like if I am slipping back into the pit of depression or pulling away from the people and things I love. In the past, some noted that certain medications agitated me or turned me into a witch. They also let me know when they witnessed the old me coming out to play and expressed their joy over how I am now doing things that I used to do.
My eyes and ears
These people serve as my eyes and ears. Back when I was treating my conditions pharmaceutically, I didn’t want to accept that I was depressed or that my personality was changing for the worst. Hearing that I was becoming unpleasant and unbearable to be around stung at first, in fact I chose not to listen for a while. But deep down I knew they were right and that something needed to be done. When I started my natural and unconventional treatments I knew I would need others to pay attention to how they were affecting my personality, emotions, and life. Their assessments along with how I physically feel is what helps me know that I am on the right track. Every time I hear “It’s so good to laugh with you”, “You used to do that before you became sick”, or “That’s the girl I remember” my heart fills with joy because they express how I am winning my battle with chronic pain.
Not everyone has my best interest at heart and is why this job has only been given to people that I trust with my life. Another requirement is that they knew me before becoming ill. Those people are the only ones who are able to recognize what may seem like a drastic personality change to others, like going from being overly cautious to becoming a dare devil, as my returning to who I was and not developing a new personality.
Why is this necessary?
This is important because with suicidal thoughts being a common side effect of so many medications, the person going through it isn’t able to see or acknowledge how far they have fallen. But a spouse or close friend will be the first to notice when we are sinking, pulling away, or have lost our zest for life. If someone who cares about you suspects that your medication or treatment is harming your mental health don’t become defensive. Listen to them, evaluate their concerns, and call your doctor ASAP if you suspect something is amiss!
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