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For Better or for Worse?

Just One Little Pill...

By Rhiannon WatcherPublished 7 years ago 5 min read
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

When I was approximately 30 years old I was diagnosed with depression. For me, that was not really news but just a statement of fact, an understanding that no matter the good times ahead or the bad this would likely be an aspect of myself that would continuously be there and would be a hindrance to my life and possibly the lives of my family.

I was prescribed anti-depressants but the first ones I tried gave me such violent heartburn I actually thought I was having a heart attack. The second that I tried made me feel as if I was constantly drunk and dizzy. In truth, they compounded my feelings and made them worse because I hated that feeling of being out of control of my own body and mind.

Over time and despite the doctor's advice I decided that it was best for me not to take the medication and try and get through the valleys and peaks without the aid of medicine. It was not an easy decision but at least I began to see patterns in my depression that I could control and were natural rather than caused by the tablets. It meant I could plan ahead for the days I knew were going to be bad days and learn to truly savor those moments of joy and happiness out feeling like a zombie.

Many advised against my decision, but overall for me, it was the right choice and I figured I had it all sorted and within my control. Until recently.

I went to my surgery and was examined after a long time of having extremely swollen ankles and finally getting it looked at by a professional. I was diagnosed with having severe water retention and that to help with it the nurse practitioner prescribed for me Furosemide. I was given the minimum dosage and happily went on my way. Only briefly skimming the side effects (a stupid mistake on my part) looking at the worst possible ones and shaking off that brief moment of concern as my normal instinct to avoid medication at all costs. I have to say the idea of having anything foreign in my system scares the hell out of me and I avoid doing so as much as possible. Nonetheless, it did not even occur to me that I was about to start taking a pill for one physical aspect of my body that was going to drop me into hell.

Two weeks passed and while I could see no difference with my legs I could actually feel a difference and felt fairly happy and felt sure that meant the tablets were doing what it was meant to. I put down the tight band sensation around my head down to the summer as I suffer from migraines which are triggered by heat and even sunshine. Except the tightness continued to get worse, the pain began and never stopped, only the strength of it changed, then my shoulder started to flare up in pain. That aspect I put down to an old whip lash injury and put everything down to them being linked together.

Then the dizziness began, a feeling of being trapped in my head, at nights I felt as if I was dying, as if I could not get enough oxygen to my brain, my left side would go numb and feel weak. I started having very dark morbid thoughts, that I had vowed I would not have again but these thoughts were not my own. They sprang from nowhere like snakes. I could be perfectly happy and the thought struck.

I went back to the doctors and had several blood tests done to check for any signs of rheumatic problems, any deficiency in my blood. All coming back normal. Each blood test results making me feel more and more like I was losing my mind and one thought away from being in a mental home and it only continued to get worse. Soon it felt as if I could barely put constructive thoughts together and that I would have to fight my own brain into working on the most basic level. Moving my body actually took physical and mental effort and everything seemed to exhaust me.

The doctors could not understand what was wrong and I started to believe I was suffering a stroke, the doctors checking me over and giving me the all clear, giving me more medication to ease the pain and wait more time for more blood results. Even the nurses were surprised at some of the tests I was getting done. I went from nightmare to nightmare of what could be wrong, tumor, fibromyalgia, to too much yeast in my system (the internet can be a wonderful gift but also a double edged sword).

Finally, I decided to go back a step and look at everything new in my life. Overthinking everything I was doing, eating, drinking and anything else. Was I really sane? Was I as happy as I had thought I was (previously to this I thought I was happier than I had been for a long time)? Had I been lying to myself?

Only as I reached up to take my daily medication did I even consider looking at the information on it again. There in black and white, listed under the most common side effects was everything I had been suffering. My hell had been caused by a little tablet I had taken to help with water retention and it was only as I read through the list did I realize how bad some of the side effects were and how dangerous they could be. Especially when they were combined with my mental and emotional states. What was scarier is that not one of the doctors I had seen noticed this link, despite looking at my medical information in-depth.

We have come so far in the scientific and medical fields over the years and I understand that many people require medication for the many ailments that affect people every day but sometimes what is meant to make us better in truth makes us far worse. Especially when our bodies and minds have complex conditions that the balance is far more fragile than most.

I have seen it joked about on television shows such as My Hero where a patient comes in for one condition, the medication ends up causing more problems and he is to be given yet more medication to prevent the side effects of the first medication but such is not a joking matter really.

We have to be more aware of what we are taking, more cautious of that which we take into our system, even when it is the professionals that are telling us that it will help. This is a lesson learned for me and one I hope I do not have to retake in the future.

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About the Creator

Rhiannon Watcher

I am a woman on a mission to become a creative writer and find my path in the world where the pen is far more powerful than the sword.

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    Rhiannon WatcherWritten by Rhiannon Watcher

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