No doctor has ever directed me to take two aspirin and call him in the morning. My doctor did prescribe two anti-psychotics, but he didn’t say anything about calling him. In fact I don’t remember any doctor asking me to call him in the morning or at any other time of day. This is one of the problems with most doctors. They don’t really seem that happy to see you in their office in the first place and they seem even less happy to talk to you on the phone afterward.
The doctor who prescribed the anti-psychotic told me all about the medication except for the part about it being an anti-psychotic. He told me it was an anti-anxiety medication and that it would help me sleep. I am a seasoned but very reluctant drug user so I did what I always do, I Googled it.
The internet is very useful when it comes to research but for me it is also very dangerous. It is unsettling for instance, when all the web sites for a particular drug offer advice on how to file a lawsuit against the drug company now that you are dead or seriously screwed up. The internet is where I found out that my “anti-anxiety” medication is primarily used for schizophrenics. Even the name they gave it sounds so peaceful and calming. Maybe I will feel serene if I take it. Or maybe I will feel dizzy, lightheaded and nauseous. In my case the latter is a much surer bet. I’ve always been sensitive to the negative effects of drugs and mostly insensitive to their positive effects.
I am often tempted to ignore the drug information sheet that comes with each prescription because I worry that reading about all the side effects will either scare me so much that I will not be able to swallow the pill or cause me to imagine symptoms that aren’t there. In the end though my curiosity and thirst for knowledge always win out and I am subjected to something like this:
CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE if you experience constipation; blurred vision; eye pain; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; hair loss; shakiness, fainting; twitching of the face or tongue; mood swings; loss of balance; uncontrolled movements of the arms or legs; difficulty speaking or swallowing; unusual bleeding or bruising; sore throat or fever; skin rash; swelling of hands, face, lips, eyes, throat or tongue; irritability; ringing in the ears; seizures; yellowing of the skin; hallucinations; or chest pain. CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY if you experience severe nervousness or anxiety; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty sleeping; feelings of hostility; impulsive behavior; severe restlessness; worsening feelings of depression or thoughts of hurting yourself.
I’m not sure how a drug company decides whether a symptom is a side effect or simply the effect the drug is supposed to have on a person. For instance it makes me wonder when one of the side effects listed for a sleeping pill is drowsiness.
What about an anti-depressant label that tells you to contact your doctor immediately if you experience a false sense of well-being? I always thought the whole idea behind an anti-depressant is to give you a false sense of well-being. And this brings up a question for me. How would I know if my sense of well-being was true or false?
I’m thinking that if I get my sense of well-being from my peaceful and serene life, from meditating, practicing yoga and swimming with dolphins that it is probably true.
If I get my sense of well-being from lying on the couch, watching daytime television and taking a little purple pill then it is probably false. All of this is a moot point for me however, because when I am seriously depressed I really don’t give a damn if my sense of well-being is true or false.
I’ll take my well-being wherever I can get it, thank you very much. As the saying goes, beggers can’t be choosers.