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mental health

“People With a Mental Illness Can’t Have Kids!”? My Reaction!

mental health

If you are a more regular follower of this blog, then you will know that I suffer with bipolar disorder and PTSD and the anxiety that comes alongside these conditions. Ever since I was little, I have always wanted to have my own children. Don’t get me wrong, I am 23 currently and so I would like to give it a little while until I hear the pitter download-6patter of my very own little monsters– at least until I can get my own life together! But regardless, I would like it to be soon. I have encountered many positive attitudes surrounding the topic of myself and children don’t get me wrong, most in fact – but there are always the odd few arse holes!

“People with mental illnesses should not be trusted with children, and certainly shouldn’t be allowed to have their own!” Sadly, I have heard this comment on more than one occasion, in 2016 you would hope that people’s attitudes have moved on a little further than this, however unfortunately not everyone is that kind or well adjusted. I am the first to admit that yes, my moods go up and down – but that hurts nobody else but me. I refuse to let my mental illness stop me from doing anything, and if I want to do something then I am damn well going to achieve my dreams.

I don’t intend to have children until I find the man that I love with all of my heart, a man that I would trust with my life. A man that I know will support and love me no matter what my mood is – we would support each other and support our child in the same way. My bipolar does not make me a bad person or a bad parent as it doesn’t affect me in the slightest. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental illness at some point in their life and my child will not only mnhave a much better understanding of these conditions, but they will also have a much greater compassion and ability to help others who are suffering.

And if they themselves suffer with a mental health condition then I will be able to properly support them and to help them through the process to recovery. My children will have the full support, knowledge and understand that I myself have built up over the years battling with my condition to help them to never feel inadequate or unacceptable. My children will always know how much I love them, and my bipolar will never stop me from showing my affection and supporting their dreams.

I may have bipolar but my condition is not all that I am – I have bipolar, I’m not just bipolar. I’m Emmie, I am 23, I am a vegetarian, I have an unhealthy obsession with unicorns and glitter and finally, I suffer with bipolar disorder – but every day I am winning the battle with my condition. I know that I will make a fantastic Mum one day and so to all those shitty people? All I can say is just piss off!

The Side Effects of Sertraline

mental health

I recently started taking Sertraline for my anxiety and PTSD as it was becoming very difficult to deal with and making it very tough to cope with daily life. Sertraline is an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) which affects unbalanced chemicals in the brain to help to even things out a little bit. Side effects have never really bothered me when it comes to my mental health medication, as I have always preferred these side effects to the alternative of my mental health taking a running jump off of the deep end!

However, with this in mind, I do still think that it is important to take note of the side effects that you are experiencing with your new mental health medication. This means that you can discuss these with your doctor, as there might be an alternative out there that is better for you with less side effects – so…yay! Also, it means that you can keep track of the problems you might experience so that you don’t feel like you’re dying when it’s just your meds which is always good right?

I find it useful to be able to read other people’s experiences with medication that I have been put on so that I can see what to expect! So here is a list of the top 5 side effects that I have been feeling.

  1. Serious nausea and vomiting!11419280_476400059173976_1211147788_n
    I was told to expect some nausea which, as those who are also on mental health medication will know, is exceptionally common when it comes to these kinds of drugs. However, I have never experienced it to the extent I did with Sertraline! I would literally have to run to the toilet (regardless of where I was…work/town/even driving!) to be sick. There was a constant feeling of sickness and regular vomiting when I first started the medication, it was horrible and took a lot of determination to continue with it. However, over time this eased off, and although it hasn’t completely disappeared it is now a lot milder and I can cope with it.
  2. Feeling unsteady and weak!
    Since I have been on this medication I have felt very unsteady. Again, this symptom seemed to die off (or at least lessen) as time went on and is one of the ones that I don’t really mind. While I was a teenager I was anaemic and so I am familiar with the feeling of dizziness and feeling very unsteady. It’s not too bad, it’s just something that I am having to train myself to expect again.

  3. The inevitable confusion that comes with all mental health medication!
    Any mental health medication that I have been on seems to come with some kind of confusion. Just a general feeling in myself where I feel like I am working a lot slower than I usually do. Everything seems to take a lot more effort and concentration, and I don’t feel like I’ve done it as good as I can by the end anyway. Thanks to my addiction to perfection and never allowing myself to accept anything less, this side effect makes my life bloody miserable! I have to go through on average four or five attempts at something that I am making/writing when I am feeling like this as I don’t feel like it will be good enough if I don’t. I don’t see it as a choice, it is just something that I have to do – which really isn’t a healthy outlook is it?
  4. Insomnia!
    Now I have never slept well and so it can be difficult for me to monitor the effect that medication is having on my sleep patterns however, when I started taking Sertraline, things got noticeably worse. Usually, I would just not be able to fall asleep and would just lie there and get increasingly annoyed at myself. However, after I started with this new medication I began to fall asleep just fine. It soon became clear that I had a new problem. That I would now wake up during the night. Like, a lot. On average – around 12 times a night – I love my sleep far too much to accept this as a side effect that I am okay with. This was the first thing to be discussed with my doctor. Thankfully, things are better now as we changed my dose.

  5. Stomach pains and diarrhoea!
    Again, thankfully this one really only lasted for a few months before it slowed down, but my God it was painful! My stomach would suddenly just cramp up to the point I literally had to sit or I’d fall down. I assumed that this might be like period pains, but holy hell it was so much worse! All of the pain killers and walking around town with my pink unicorn hot water bottle helped. A lot. Unicorns fix everything.

The 10 Stages of Starting New Mental Health Medication


As a 23 year old woman with bipolar disorder and PTSD, I am no stranger to mental health medication in some form or another. Up until recently I have been taking Lamotrigine, which is technically an anti epileptic but can also be used to treat bipolar depression. In the past I had take other anti depressants etc such as Citalopram which also dealt with my anxiety however, when they changed my diagnosis from depression to bipolar around three years ago now, I was weaned off Citalopram and placed on the correct bipolar medication. Which in the long run, yes was great and my moods are a hell of a lot more stable now and the extremes are nowhere as intense and difficult to deal with. But this meant that I was completely left without any medication to help with my anxiety.

Me being me, as soon as I realised this decided that no, I could do this totally on my own and that ripping my support blanket out from under my feet could only be a good thing. Future Emmie realises that past Emmie was being a moron. Bad past Emmie! It’s all well and good to cope with or without medication, as long as you don’t suddenly stop taking something to cope with a problem with no intention of putting another coping mechanism in place to help to support you. I didn’t do this, and so unfortunately for the last few months my anxiety has been getting progressively worse. To the point I can be visibly shaking, or have to take myself off to the toilets to fight off another panic attack. It’s exhausting to be always on the ball and trying to protect yourself and anticipating anxieties next move. So today I bit the bullet and went to the doctors to ask for help, he was lovely and put me on another anti depressant called Sertraline which I have to take alongside the current medication that I take, which will hopefully help to control my anxiety. So, here are the ten stages of starting new mental health medication….

  1. Total ignorance. Stepping into the doctors surgery and having absolutely no idea what they are talking about, simply nodding and smiling as you are just taking them on their word that this new pill works and that it might help you.
  2. Google it. As soon as you get out of the office and back behind your smart phone it’s time to hit Google! Lets look up this new medication, see what it is used for, what others have to say who have taken it, why they stopped. Everything that you could ever possibly want to know….and certainly some things that you wouldn’t, right there at the touch of a button.
  3. Chemist. Go straight to your local pharmacy and purchase these new found tablets. Choke back the pain as you are told that the current charge for an NHS prescription is £8.60 PER ITEM!!! Begrudgingly pay it and grumble to yourself as you wait.
  4. Crack open the booklet. Why are these always so long and what the fuck are all these side effects for?! “May cause suicidal thoughts”?! That’s why I’m taking the buggers!
  5. Self doubt. How can I take these when they have all of those side effects? Why am I not strong enough to cope without the need for medical support?
  6. Take them. Begrudgingly. Go on then, when you feel this bad anything really is worth a try.
  7. Feel dodgy. Those familiar side effects start to kick your arse but you power through them like a pro.
  8. Forget to take one and feel like your going to die! Medications with a short half life are a killer if you forget a dose and the side effects can really make you feel like death warmed up.
  9. Realise your a moron, and you aren’t dying...but you still feel a bit grotty.
  10. Notice that they may actually be working. And you’re not dead! But you still feel groggy. And misty. And generally tired. But we all know that isn’t going away any time soon – welcome to the wonderful world of anti depressants kids 🙂