Medications can be an excellent form of treatment for bipolar disorder. There are multiple forms of medications including anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety. For me, the most difficult aspect of taking medications is waiting for them start working. Whether I’m in a depression or a manic state, there aren’t any medications to take that work immediately. It can take between two and four weeks for medications to begin working, and sometimes even longer for them to reach their full effect.
As I wait for the medications to start working, I still suffer from my bipolar symptoms. Personally, I have been waiting for an anti-psychotic to reach its full effect. Since I’m still increasing the dosage, I won’t know what its full effect is for a while. I’ve been on the medication for three months, but my psychiatrist keeps increasing the dose every week; I have four more increases to go. Hopefully, at some point, the auditory hallucinations and suicidal ideations will go away.
There’s not much that I can do as I wait for the symptoms to go away. In my head, I fight with myself. What happens if I wait all of this time for the medication to start working, and it never happens? Not every medication works for every person. If the med I’m waiting on doesn’t work for me, then I have to start all over with another medication. I am considered treatment resistant, so there are a lot of meds that I have already tried that don’t work for me.
As I wait, I try to hold on. I try not to listen to the thoughts in my head, which tell me to give up and stop taking the medicine. I tell myself that I can get through this. The medications will work for me. I can be stable; I deserve to be happy and mentally stable. Even if I don’t really believe the things I’m saying to myself, it helps to keep repeating them. Positive thinking is extremely beneficial. By saying positive thoughts over and over again, I can help myself reach a positive attitude. If you say something enough times, you can begin to believe it. That is true for both positive and negative thoughts. Even if I don’t become a positive thinker, at least I become a lot less negative because the positive thoughts take up a lot of room.
While waiting for my meds to kick in, I try to do other things that will also help me become stable. I try to keep to a routine, waking up and going to bed regularly. I also make sure to take my medications at the same times every day. I reach out to family and friends; having someone to talk to about how I’m feeling is very helpful. Talking honestly to the people in my support system is especially beneficial. Sometimes, I don’t even notice the first signs when my medications start to kick in. That’s why it’s important to stay in contact with our support system. The individuals that are close to us are often the first ones to notice small, but vital changes in our mental state.
Waiting for medications to start working is extraordinarily difficult. However, using the methods of positive thinking, a steady routine and reaching out to a support system can help you get through the difficult time while waiting for the medicine to work.