Be Mindful of Your Medications


Late last year, I was at work and started feeling really foggy. My hands were trembling, my anxiety was rising, and I started to feel confused. I would look at my computer screen and within seconds forget what I was looking at. It was terrifying.

I told my supervisor that I needed to leave. I called my boyfriend to have him pick me up, and while I waited I called my psychiatrist. I described my symptoms to her, and she told me to start reducing the amount of quetiapine (a schizophrenia medication that is also used to treat bipolar disorder) I was taking by half every three days until I wasn’t taking it anymore. Eventually, I started feeling normal again, but it was a scary experience to feel myself growing more and more confused and frazzled by the moment.

I’m not sure if I’ve written about that experience on here before, but I was thinking about it recently after speaking to a friend about medication interactions. I had mentioned to her that I was taking Lexapro and Trazadone (among others), and she told me that her doctor had advised her not to combine the two because it can lead to serious side effects, including serotonin syndrome. I looked it up online and sure enough, she was right:

Using escitalopram [Lexapro] together with trazodone can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases may result in coma and even death.

Obviously, I stopped taking the trazodone. It’s a sleeping aid, so thankfully it’s not something that I’m required to take daily and there are no issues with stopping it suddenly.

After feeling relieved that I had avoided any of the above horrifying side-effects, I was disappointed and frustrated that two separate doctors had approved the combination for me, even doubling the amount of both recently. Then when I picked them up at the pharmacy, the pharmacist didn’t advise me to be careful with them.

While I feel like it is the responsibility of doctors and pharmacists to alert patients when they may be taking a potentially deadly cocktail of drugs, it made me realize that I also need to take some responsibility for my own health.

If you start taking a new medication, pay attention to your body. If something feels off, don’t be afraid to call your doctor or pharmacist to find out if it’s normal. Use the power of the internet to research drug interactions. Read the pamphlets that come with your medications.

It’s so important to maintain both your physical and mental health and being attuned to your body and realizing if something is wrong is a huge part of that. Take control of your health as much as you can and learn to be an activist for yourself. No one knows yourself better than you do!

Have you ever experienced a scary side-effect from a medication or combination of medications? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across by Mary Lambert – A Review

Shame Is an Ocean I swim across mary lambert

Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across by Mary Lambert
Poetry | LGBTQ | Mental Health
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Released October 23rd, 2018
Goodreads | Amazon
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars
Read via Audiobook

“I want to watch the fat lady win
I want her to stop apologizing for being fat
I wish I could say: Hey, perfect angel cutie pie:
You don’t owe anyone shit.
Stop apologizing for who you are.
Go eat a fucking sandwich and throw your scale away
Work out if you want to, lay on the couch if you want to
No one else lives in your body
You are enough, as you are, today”

I chose to listen to the audiobook for Mary Lambert’s Shame is an Ocean I Swim Across almost on a whim, and it touched me in a way that I was not expecting. Her words are expressive and passionate. I found myself identifying with Lambert’s words on such a deep level that I’m currently listening to it again. What started out as a collection of poetry I’d never heard of has become one of my favorite books and what I expect will become one of my top reads of 2020.

Mary Lambert
Mary Lambert

Mary Lambert is a poet, spoken word artist, musician, song-writer, and LGBTQ activist. Her work deals with difficult topics, such as rape, sexual abuse, trauma, bipolar disorder, and body image.

Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across made me feel a wide spectrum of emotions. Some of the poems brought tears to my eyes, and others made me feel proud of the struggles I’ve been through to become who I am. I identified personally with so many of these poems, particularly those about mental health (including bipolar disorder) and body image.

The audiobook version of Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across was gorgeously produced and I can’t recommend it enough. Lambert’s emotional and strong voice was placed over simple piano pieces, which served to heighten the emotional impact.

Mary Lambert’s collection is powerful, emotional, and intensely personal. It’s one that I will keep near me for years to come, especially when I’m feeling lonely in my experiences. There are a number of triggering topics in Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across, so be sure to check out the book’s Goodreads page if you’re worried about that before diving in.

Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across was so beautiful and it’s hard to describe just how much I loved it. I’m looking forward to everything Lambert does, what with my new massive crush on her. I’ll leave you with this video of her song “Secrets,” because, again, Mary Lambert is amazing. I just don’t understand how it took me so long to learn of her!

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