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heynaysayhey36 karma

In your experience working with charities and community support, how many impoverished circumstances seem to be related to lack of healthcare, particularly mental health care?

heynaysayhey23 karma

I was really afraid of that process, too. I had a traumatic experience with being prescribed antidepressants as a teenager (I'm 39 now), so avoided psychiatric care as an adult. I had a couple of years of therapy before finally deciding I might benefit from medication, as well, at this stage. I don't think that's necessary in every case, to use therapy for a while before adding medication to a treatment plan, it's just what happened for me because I was so scared a medication would make things worse.

I did learn how to talk about my symptoms and how to frame my needs in a clinical sense from the therapy, though, which helped me to advocate for myself with a psychiatrist. I made my fear of medication very clear and my doctor was very understanding and also explained their suggestions thoroughly. Those are signs of a responsible health professional in any field: they listen carefully and they explain clearly. If you feel your concerns are not being respected--which doesn't mean a doctor has to agree with you, just that they don't dismiss your concerns or lecture you for having them--or that they aren't adequately explaining their decisions for treatment and are annoyed by questions, I would struggle to trust my treatment plan under their care.

Having said all that, I was prepared by my psychiatrist to expect feeling strange for the first week or so on my medication. My own research suggested the same. And I did feel strange. I didn't experience pain but I did experience depersonalization and fatigue. I work from home and can set my own schedule, so I planned to be out of commission for that time (I receive assistance benefits as a low-income household, so I had those resources to help through that loss of income). It took exactly one week in my case, then I felt no strangeness at all. If I hadn't been prepared for it, though, I might have been too spooked to push through.

Improvements to my focus and stability increased over the next few months. The difference is very clear now, about a year later. My partner comments on it frequently, especially when it comes to the decreased anxiety. Things that would have sent me into a spiral before (like the cost of treating a sick pet) have barely blipped on the ol' anxiety radar. With the lessened anxiety and increased productivity, my depression is more manageable.

I still struggle, though, and still use therapy in combination with medication. My psychiatrist would like to try medication that is meant to treat anxiety more directly, but the two we've tried were too difficult in terms of side effects--Hydroxyzine gave me nightly vivid and intense dreams, and Prazosin gave me blinding migraines that lasted for hours. I'm currently waiting for my primary doc to approve a genetic test that's supposed to be covered by Medicaid so we can see if we can learn anything about how I metabolize psychotropics to help narrow down the list of potential medications to better manage the painful, scary process of a trial-and-error approach.

Unfortunately, there is always a risk of an adverse reaction, even a mild one, with any medication. The best advice I have is to arrange as much support as possible. I didn't have much, but what I could do--like push back work deadlines and tell my few but fiercely close loved ones to keep a closer watch for me in case I acted strangely or needed their help suddenly--was effective. I'm really careful that I don't miss doses and I try to take it at the same time every day. I also have to be careful I eat enough before taking this med or I can experience the depersonalization and fatigue I did in the beginning, although to a lesser degree. In my case, the benefits have been worth some of the struggle and I would now be absolutely terrified to not have this medication in my treatment plan rather than the other way around.

I hope some of this helps.

heynaysayhey19 karma

It depends on how well a person responds to non-stimulant ADHD meds, when available. My doctor refuses to prescribe a stimulant-based med for my ADHD because it's so likely to seriously exacerbate the physical symptoms of my anxiety (and I'm fine with not making that shit worse, cause it's bad enough as it is). I've responded really well to the med we did choose (Strattera) and that has in turn helped me cope with my anxiety much better. I still struggle on both fronts, but not as much. Not everybody has success with Strattera, though.

heynaysayhey6 karma

Thank you so much for answering. Do you have a particular resource for finding charities that have the most effective path from fundraising to direct impact on an impoverished life?

heynaysayhey4 karma

I'm asking without researching previous answers as much--I keep trying, but there's a lot of content here, nevermind your previous posts in different threads!

Did you have any particular political leanings that changed during your economic transition? I don't mean to ask if you actually take any political action or how you personally vote--I don't want to frame the question uncomfortably. I just wonder if your views have changed now that you have so much personal independence, but with the former experiences you have, too.

Anecdotal context: I have seen several instances of low income people who held liberal perspectives change into extremely conservative in their principles after (working for or coming in to) larger sums of money.