Disclaimer - I am not saying people should be forced to take medication. I am talking about my experience with one drug and my objections to how my situation (and part of my life) is portrayed on TV.
I have bipolar disorder.
It's never been formally diagnosed, and I haven't taken an internet test to "prove" it. I just know. It's more than "just" depression.
I started a new medication about a month ago. My doctor said it was anti-seizure, and he wanted to see if it would work on my pain, since my pain is most likely nerve-related, and I'm pretty sure nerves have something to do with seizures. (But I'm not a doctor!)
I asked at FWD if anyone had any experience on it. (I know, I won't look up a new drug, but I'll ask people online. I don't understand it either. I'm weird.) One person said it had been prescribed for their moods, not pain, and it was working. *file info away for later*
It's done zilch for my pain. The last two weeks have been hell, as has the last month and the month before... the pain's getting worse.
It has worked on my mood swings. I saw the prescribing doctor today and I was trying to describe the continued effects and one word I used was "stable" as in, I'm stable. He said that was key, that was very important. It makes me happy to see and feel the results of a medication, particularly a daily one. (I can tell when the benadryl workzzzzzzzz.)
I've been on anti-depressants for a few years, and Clonazepem, which is a something or other.
But this is the first time I've noticed a real change. Actually, I didn't notice until Mom pointed out that I had changed, and then I was like huh, so I have.
Before, it was like... possession. Now, when I get angry or sad, it's organic. (Weird way to put it, it's all in my head anyway.) In 2006, I had my first bout of suicidal ideation. The best term for the thoughts was "alien," even though I still don't fully understand what I meant or what those thoughts meant.
But with my mood swings, the "alien" idea made more sense. A better metaphor is a switch. A switch is flicked, I get so pissed off. Switched again, I don't want to do anything. Switched again, back to baseline. No control. Which got a bit annoying, because I'd be mad at somebody. They'd get mad at me for being mad at them for no reason. Then I'd get mad at them for being mad at me when I had no control over the original anger!
Now, the part about TV. People who have bipolar disorder on cop shows never want to take their medication because it puts them in a fog, or they can't feel anything. (Also, people with "TV schizophrenia" do this as well.)
I can't speak for anyone but myself, because nobody is alike, and no brain is either. You may react to this same drug in a horrible way, I don't know.
I just don't like the dominant storyline that medications for bipolar disorder are inherently bad. One blog post won't dispel the myth, but I really wanted to write this.
Another metaphor - I was the rope in a tug of war, being jerked from side to side. Or I was in my sister's car. Zing!
ETA: Another problem with the dominant cultural storyline is that it leads to fear of medication (again, not pushing it for everyone), fear of even trying it, and assumptions made about bipolar people who do choose medication. Perhaps if the narrative was more realistic, people would be less afraid to admit they have bipolar disorder. I mean, I'm taking a big risk by saying it here. Depression is gradually being accepted, I feel, though some people will say one day, "I understand" and the next tell you to just smile. Sigh.