The frustrations and hopes of new medication

First off, I am annoyed. I am unable to function well enough today to focus on anything, and so the pile of books I need to for my pre-dissertation work remains untouched. I also have many articles logged away in my citation manager, and it feels awful to KNOW I need to work but my mind just feels frayed, like there is a lack of connection between my two brain hemisphere. The most I could do today was finish up and submit an assignment for an online class.

What today looks like for me: my outstanding reading pile, trying to understand fibromyalgia, and keeping track of my medications and all their interactions.

It’s been almost a year since my diagnosis, and while medication and my own supplementing coupled with lifestyle changes have helped some, my doctor thinks I should be able to make better progress (and I agree! Being debilitatingly tired most of the time is not fun, especially when going through a rigorous academic program).

Through the trial and error of trying new medication over the past year, I know that my body reacts very strongly to antidepressant-type medications and that the first week or two are extremely rough. In fact, the last time I adjusted my medication (a change in timing, not in dosage), I went through the “suicidal thoughts” side effect. Thankfully, I was cognitively aware enough to know that the intrusive thoughts I was having were not a reflection of my actual feelings. I simply hunkered down under my weighted blanket and tried to ride it out.

So here we are, day one of the new medication. We are trying the lowest dose for a month to see how my body reacts to it. This one is known to cause hairy side effects, and some people have to quit the medication because of the side effects.

So far, my side effects have been:

  • Elevated heart rate (my smart watch was charging, otherwise I would have gotten an approximate reading on this!)
  • Increase in mental fog
  • Mild lack of balance
  • Increased sensitivity to pain in my joints
  • Slightly blurry vision (like being mildly intoxicated or wearing an out-of-date eyeglass prescription)
  • Hot flushes and sweating

And that is just for day one! Fibro is a fun fun journey. A year ago the only thing I took daily was the occasional multi-vitamin. I could read and annotate a book in a day and still have the energy to cook dinner or even go out late. Now I don’t ever take the times of clarity for granted. The hardest thing though is to allocate time between academia and life. Life-work balance is always important, but when having a chronic illness, it becomes even more critical.

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