(possible tw for anxiety/panic, medications)
A while ago, my spoonie friend Caitlin wrote a post defending being on prescription painkillers. It really got me thinking about how people react to the fact that I take both prescription painkillers and also take anti-anxiety medications, which many people don't agree with in people as young as me.
I suffer from currently undiagnosed chronic pains pretty much all over my body but particularly in my arms/wrists and my legs; I'm known to have hypermobile and tight joints. I've been through nearly every department in the Children's Hospital you can think of , I used to have physiotherapy, I've had orthotic treatment since I was 10. I've had MRIs, I've had blood tests, I've had nerve conduction studies.
The pain has become worse more recently; it used to just be after a lot of activity, then it increased to after very little activity... now it's a constant. I wake up in pain. I go through my school day in pain. I go to bed in pain. And no, it's not completely dehabilitating just yet; but I can't do half as much as I used to.
So a month or so ago, I was placed on paracetamol 4x a day, as well as another heavy-duty painkiller twice daily. I was taken off the other due to side effects of anxiety (damn it), not that it was doing much, and now, the paracetamol barely touches it.
But regardless of what it was doing, the idea of a fifteen year old needing so much pain medication is so out of the way for some people. As I now take a dose in the school day, I sometimes have to deal with odd looks from the receptionists whom get it for me. My nan finds it a bit odd, even though she and my stepdad also take them (I like to think that as a family, we basically rattle). Surely I can't be in that much pain at this age?
Moving on to the anti-anxiety meds: from July to October last year I was on beta-blockers for my anxiety (which turned out to be a bad idea according to my consultant in the unit). If I forgot them, my heart would beat louder in my ears, my panic attacks would increase; some days, you could barely get me out of bed. I'm now on an anti-anxiety med, a small dose in the morning and a larger at night due to side effects.
There are so many people, including doctors, who hate putting teenagers on anti-anxiety meds, or antidepressants. And I can see why, completely. Taking them away again can be difficult, and yes, I'd agree that therapy should be the first call.
But the main reason I am on them is to aid my therapy, to keep me at a lower level of anxiety meaning I can cope with everyday life and in turn, have a better experience in my therapy; which is currently going amazingly.
I understand people's resistance to young people being on any type of regular medication that isn't a course of antibiotics or aiding a break or sprain. No, they aren't the healthiest for me, and yes, we have to be careful, and yes, they aren't doing much and we'll have to experiment some more.
But they get me through my day, they make my life that bit easier, they get me to school and Cubs and Explorers. Are you really going to be saying I was "too young" for all these meds if I'm taken off them all and suddenly have a huge crisis once more, and barely make it out of bed?