World Mental Health Day, – 3

World Mental Health Day, 10 October
is recognised by the World Health Organisation, and the theme chosen for 2020 is “Mental Health for All”.

During this time of global uncertainty it seems especially important to care for our own mental health, and to be aware of the mental health needs of others. Each day in the week prior to 10th October I shall be posting poems and stories that explore issues around my own mental health, or that I have written in response to important emotional and psychological themes.

Today I am sharing more thoughts on medication, specifically about the changes it effected on my mind – and my body. I hear too often about those with mental health problems who ‘don’t look after themselves’, become overweight because they eat to excess and don’t take exercise. What such people don’t know is that many medications affect how we interact with food by ‘switching off’ that part of the brain that tells us we are full. It is way more than comfort eating or having no willpower.

Cycles of health and deep despair
direct my days: stormy or fair
medication keeps me calm
acts like a balm
out of harm

sleep too deep filling my hours
saps my strength, saps my powers
medication keeps me calm
acts like a balm
out of harm

no motivation, so little hope,
tossed in a whirlwind, no way to cope,
medication keeps me calm
acts like a balm
out of harm

is this a life that I desire?
stuck in a mire, lacking fire?
bird caught on the wire
of anodyne ire.

For quite a few years while on various medications for depression and psychosis I spent a huge chunk of my days sleeping or resting. My motivation, concentration, ability to think or to feel were at rock bottom.

out of control
deep fjords of flesh
metabolism changed
on prescription.

Over the span of 10 years, again dependent on the medication I was taking – or not – my weight richoted: I gained a stone, then two; lost some, put more back on. The goal was to work with my consultant to find medication that worked – but did not affect my weight or my motivation.

If you are experiencing these kinds of problems with medication – talk to the person who has prescribed them. There is a raft of different meds available and there must be at least one that will work for you. Get help to find it.
If you know someone who is having problems with motivation, weight, or anything else and you know they are having problems and are taking medication – support them please. There will be enough people criticising them. And they are probably berating themselves. Talk. Offer your time.

Everyone is important. The most important person in your life is You. Cherish yourself.
Thank you for reading my words.
Marilyn X