Autism & Medication: My Insights
As I’ve explained in the past, I have routinely gone to a psychiatrist once every three months for the past seven or eight years. This means that I take several different medications throughout the day to control certain behaviors. I also am well aware that these medications are what help to keep me calm and that, if I don’t take them, it is much harder for me to control my behavior.
With anyone who takes medication, it’s certain that medications will be forgotten once in awhile. When I forget my medicine I feel like my personality is different. I become hyper, have trouble paying attention and making good decisions, get anxious, and even out of control at times. A few weeks ago I was practicing driving with my mom. I forgot to take my medicine that day and it was a horrible drive. My mom said that on that day I was worse than the first time that I drove. Cars are lethal weapons and I need to be able to safely operate a vehicle at all times if I want to get my license. This is just one example of the dangers of not taking my medicine. I do two main things to remind me to take my meds. First, I have a pill box with little boxes labeled with the day of the week and either AM or PM. Second, I have alarms that are on my iPhone to remind me. These help a lot because, without them, I would certainly forget to take my medicine. Another issue is that sometimes I say that I took my medicine but I really didn’t. When I do this, I’m not intentionally lying. When I say this I truly think that I took my medicine. I don’t know how my brain can think that way but it does. My parents have learned this and now have to check to make sure that I’ve taken it. When I don’t live with my parents anymore I will have to seriously come up with an effective way to make me remember to take my meds.
I know that I take medicine for a reason: to help me to stay calm and focused and to prevent certain behaviors from happening. I feel a variety of mixed emotions about taking medicine. I feel upset and frustrated that I have to take them or else I would feel out of control. But I also feel relieved that I have a tool to keep me in check. I wish that there was another way to stay calm without medicine but for now there isn’t. I have learned a lot of skills to help me manage different feelings, but the meds are still needed as well. I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to realize that I might have to go to a psychiatrist and take medicine for the rest of my life. I try not to think too much about the future of taking medicine and just focus on the present time. But, at the same time, I can’t help to feel sad every time that I see my clinical psychologist and every single time she asks, “Are there any changes with your medications?”. She knows that a slight change in medication can cause a huge change in behavior. I always try to tell myself that medications are okay to have and that there are tens of millions of people in this world just like me who have to take medicine on a regular basis for many different reasons. I remind myself that I’m not the only one.
I realize that when I take my medicine I do well and when I don’t take it I don’t do as well. Additionally, I know that I take medications for a reason and that I wouldn’t take them if I didn’t need them (after all they’re a hassle and expensive). Taking medicine is my reality and will continue to be my reality for a while or maybe forever.
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