**CW: Suicidal ideology, psychotropic medications**
PLEASE NOTE: Feedback in the form of advice on what to do, what to try, how bad and/or awful medication is or anything along those lines will be removed as it is counterproductive to this post.
Something I find deeply concerning is the judgement associated with medical intervention as a support need.
Namely, psychotropic medication.
I can, without hesitation, say that every single time a parent or an autistic adult tells me in consultation that they are using a medication, they do it whilst wincing.
They're wincing, waiting for my response; waiting for my judgement.
This is an extremely vulnerable and difficult post for me to write.
For as long as I can remember (let's say 30 odd years), I was anti meds.
Every single time I was offered an antidepressant, an antianxiety, I said with force and disgust in response:
NO. And I wore a face to match it.
How dare you?
I watched documentaries on medication and children and was saddened.
I heard stories of adults never being able to come off their psychotropic medications and getting lost in the cycle and system of psychiatric wards and endless mental illness.
It absolutely terrified me.
I understand the trepidation. I understand the sadness.
I understand the judgement.
But I have something to share, and I have been afraid to and after seeing something really concerning show up on my timeline this morning, I'm ready to tell you.
I have lived with a co-occurring condition since I was 12 years old called Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD.
It is a condition that involves serious hormonal dysregulation.
Since I was 12, I've been working on putting it to rest.
I spent my teen years on several forms of hormones, contraceptive pills, diets, naturopathic treatments and remedies, homeopathic remedies, medications, meditation, energy healing, trauma therapy, psychiatric therapy, psychological therapy, clinical trials..
You know what?
I couldn't possibly fit it all here.
I have begged many surgeons for a radical hysterectomy who have outright told me NO.
Because I was under 40.
But let me give you some background into what PMDD looks like for me.
Losing control for three weeks out of four, over my entire being.
Becoming someone that nobody recognises, including myself.
Screaming, punching holes in walls, losing control over my bodily functions, self harming, attempting suicide, feeling suicidal, not being able to get out of bed, having to remove myself from the family home for days on end, calling 24 hour help lines, injuring myself and others, having hysterical and dangerous meltdowns.
And that's just a beginning.
What people don't see, people don't know.
And so came the night where, I sat outside my GP's office, sobbing uncontrollably.
I could no longer offer consultations in my business, I could no longer say Yes to presenting for organisations, I could not longer participate in speaking events.
I had to live my life around PMDD and I only had four days, FOUR ENTIRE DAYS where I felt well. Where I was stable.
I've lived this way since I was 12 and I'm 40 years old now.
Almost my entire life.
The grief, the loss, the sadness over so much of my life being lost to a condition I fought since I was 12.
Of being misunderstood, of hurting others, of not being able to live the life I wanted, and was capable of.
I sat outside my GPs office, rocking. Sobbing.
I had been told that the hormones that may help were not an option for me, a new medication that was helping thousands of women with my condition was not an option for me due to my history of migraines. It put me at risk of having a stroke.
I could not parent with this condition.
My children, without even having said good morning to me, would know.
They would know energetically when I was unwell and the tension in our home was unbearable.
Where was their kind, gentle, affectionate, joyful Mummy gone during these times?
"I cannot live like this anymore" I told my GP.
"This is not a life".
He asked me if I had tried a medication that had helped many women with PMDD, but was a psychotropic med.
But something inside of me felt desperate.
After some back and forth arguing, I reluctantly agreed to take the script and do some research on it's outcomes with my particular condition.
I had read that with PMDD, this SSRI worked differently and targeted a different part of my brain so would in fact, begin working within hours.
I sat outside the pharmacy.
I felt that I had now come to a life or death situation.
I filled the script and I began the medication.
On my first visit to my psychologist days later, I reported that I hated it.
I had serious concerns that I was a fraud, that I was rejecting parts of my autistic self.
She reminded me that PMDD was robbing me of my life, and wasn't specifically my autism.
Authentic autistic expression means the world to me, it's everything I advocate for.
I told her my range and depth of feeling was not the same, that I 'felt' less.
I had been told this would be the case and within two weeks, I would adjust.
The first week felt awful. If it didn't improve, I was stopping.
But it began to balance out and I was my normal self, but all the best parts.
And then, something miraculous began to happen.
My overall pain stopped.
I began being able to exercise and walk again; something I'd not been able to do for a really long time.
My psoriasis began to clear.
And, my hands stopped shaking.
I was able to focus.
I was able to listen.
And for the first time in my life, I was able to see something I'd never truly known before..
Not only had I been living with PMDD since I was 12, but I had been living with extreme, debilitating anxiety as well.
And because I had never known anything different, I had no idea how this was impacting me.
My anxiety was so bad I was unable to focus or think.
I cannot even begin to explain what it feels like to suddenly be able to cope.
I have been able to stop, think, and be.
I have been able to enjoy my life.
I have been able to return to university study and ask for help.
I have been able to return to offering consultations.
I have been able to run trainings and I will soon return to presenting and speaking.
I am still autistic.
But I am no longer highly anxious.
Medication has not changed my life, it has given me one.
I have been able to live out the life I want to, that I can.
I am a different person. Relaxed.
In fact, I am a more authentic version of myself.
If this post changes your perception of me as a human being, or as a professional, then that's okay.
This is my lived experience.
Knowing what anxiety is like from the inside, I support you all to do whatever feels right for you in being able to LIVE.
For some of us, this is an argument of LIFE OR DEATH.
I was one of those people, I judged those others who used medications.
And I will never, ever do it again.
We have no idea what people are living with when they make the decision to use medical interventions, and sometimes, as is my case, sometimes they have no idea what they're dealing with until they don't have to deal with it anymore.
Not everything originates from trauma that can be healed.
Not everything originates from faulty thinking or negativity.
These conditions are real. Very real.
And judgement and public posts condemning medication or the very intervention that has saved a person's life are never helpful.
It's okay for us to disagree, but it's not okay for us to give others a hard time over what we perceive is weakness.
It is ignorant to believe that we know all and have the answers for every person.
More love, more compassion, more empathy.