medication · mental health · side effects

My Worst Side Effects

I have always thought I was beautiful. Not in a conceited sort of way, but in a confident way. I have always loved my hair, although as I got older I stopped liking the color. Thank goodness for hair dye. I have gorgeous eyes, thanks to my mother. I have the best features of both of my parents. I was always thin and fit, although like many women, I wasn’t comfortable with my body. I was a very fortunate teenager and didn’t experience much acne. Just one or two pimples around “that” time of the month. I didn’t even really have much during my pregnancies. Then I was diagnosed with bipolar and it all changed. The mood stabilizer they have me on makes my face break out like crazy. It isn’t like it was when I was a teenage either. They were huge painful cysts and they showed up everywhere. Suddenly I didn’t have a little whitehead on my forehead or cheek. I have big bulging cysts in clusters on my face, on my neck, and on my back. And everything they tell you not to do, yeah, I do it. I cannot keep my hands off my pimples. They hurt SO bad to pop but once they do, they pain goes away, they scab over, and leave an awesome scar. So now, I am not so beautiful. I won’t lie and say that this totally contributed to my low self esteem. I tried everything to clear up my acne. Nothing worked. My psychiatrist prescribed a medication for it, but I had to use it at night and it bleached my pillowcases. That can’t be good for my skin. Something that I realized overtime was the longer I consistently took my medication, the less acne I had. I was always back and forth with taking it as prescribed. One pill in the morning and two pills at night. That’s not so hard, right? I missed the night pills on average of 3 times a week. I know, that is bad and my psychiatrist found out too because when she had my blood work done it showed her. I had to be more diligent. It wasn’t that I wouldn’t take it on purpose, I would just forget. So I started taking it again as prescribed and my face cleared up and I felt better too. In addition to my horrible acne, my antidepressant also has a side effect. If I don’t take it every single day, I start to get withdrawl effects. They include: headache and mental fuzziness. I feel like I can’t do anything. The only thing that helps elevate this is to take my forgotten medication and take a nap. Kinda like sleeping off a hangover. Because I have always had low self esteem when it comes to my body, the last side effect isn’t as bad as the rest, but it still sucks. I guess this is one time I am grateful for my low self esteem. My anti-psychotic makes me fat. I weighed around 135 lbs when I was diagnosed with bipolar. I stayed around that weight until around 2011. Then in the course of 3 years I went from 135 to 170. I had no idea I gained that much weight. When I weighed myself and saw that number, I cried. I didn’t even fit in my wedding dress I bought (that fit perfect) 10 months before. Luckily, I tried it on 3 months before my wedding, found out it didn’t fit and worked my tail off to fit into it. It just barely fit on my wedding day. I have since lost 15 lbs from my highest weight. I have 20 lbs more to go for my goal. But I am happy now. You can see my weight loss, my face is thinner and I can fit into my old jeans again. Because I already had issues with my weight, it didn’t make me as upset as my acne. I still get acne occasionally. I still forget my medications on occasion. I have finally figured out a good medication routine. It has only taken 9 years to figure it out. I take all my medications at night and my only one pill in the morning. It is SO important to take your medication regularly. I tried reminders on my phone, I tried a pill organizer, now all I do is take it before bed and leave my bottle out as a reminder for the morning. I eat right and I only drink water to keep my weight in check. I only indulge on occasion. I wash my face twice a day and take the acne as it comes. I am also working on getting rid of my acne scares and sun spots with retinol cream and aging serums. I don’t think I look that bad, I could look better, but my outlook is definitely better. I decided to stop beating myself up. My husband loves me no matter what. I decided that I would rather be happy. I would rather be 20 lbs over weight with a few pimples and be happy then 130 lbs, clear face, and miserable. The choice is yours. flawed

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