Mix and Match – or Not

14 Dec 2022

It is a sad fact of life that, although our minds stay young, our bodies do not. Inside, I feel no older than thirty; my body, however, reminds me that sixty is looming fast.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my Mini, Adele Vivienne, and how she was at the repair shop, being fitted with a new clutch. Well, we brought her home, and the next day her starter motor gave out – so it was back to the garage again.

I am beginning to feel like my old car: bits of me keep going wrong.

Last week I rang the specialist nurse at the hospital, because something was not responding to the current medication. She listened, sympathised, and gave me a prescription to pick up at the hospital pharmacy. “This should work within a few days,” she said. “Let me know if it doesn’t.”

So far, so good. Until I came to read the information they provide in very small writing on those flimsy little leaflets inside the pill box. “If you have bipolar disorder, please consult your GP before taking this medicine,” it said. “Side effects, which occur in 5 out of 100 cases, include mania, clinical depression, and suicidal thoughts.” Whoa! Should I have been prescribed this medication?

I thought about it for a long while, sitting on the side of my bed, the foil package in my hand. This thing is severely affecting the quality of my life and I need to do something. On the other hand, there was a 5% chance there could be serious side effects.

I decided to take the medication, but I told my family to be on the lookout for mania. The problem with mania is that one cannot recognise it oneself. Depression is easier, especially with the help of Moodscope.

Well, the good news is that I seem to have escaped the side effects. The bad news is the medication has not worked, and another phone call to the nice nurse at the hospital is on the cards.

I’m not blaming the nurse. She doesn’t know me, and, while I know the bipolar is on my notes, it’s probably not at the top. I’m not blaming the pharmacy: they don’t know me either. If the prescription had been delivered to my local pharmacy, it would have been picked up because they know me there. Every person working in the NHS is under so much pressure and decisions must be taken without enough time to consider everything.

We must take responsibility for our own health and check everything for ourselves. We are privileged to have access to modern medication, and the information about it is out there on the internet. Mistakes are so easily made and it’s up to us to check every time.

I still trust the NHS. I have enormous respect for every person working within that fantastic organisation. They are all human, however, and to err is only human.

So, let’s always double-check. 


A Moodscope member

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Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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