So I have a love hate relationship with my psychiatric medication in the same way I have a love hate relationship with my contraceptive pill. On the one hand I take it and I know it does me some good and on the other I feel like I am stuffing mini chemicals into my body that will one day turn out to be killing me slowly. A couple of years ago I broke up with a boyfriend and decided it was the perfect time to come off the pill and give my body some au naturelle time, what actually happened was I got horrific PMS, breakthrough bleeding and acne. Turned out my body was kind of keen on the pill after all.
The same tends to apply to my psychiatric medication in the sense I have deep urges to bin it all and live freely with my emotions and then I come off it and remember I hate the emotions and my skin feels weird. A few months ago I put in a request that my prescription be made to last me 3 months at a time which was sort of like putting your house up for sale at £300,000 when you expect £200,000. When you have a history of overdosing Doctors get weirdly tetchy about giving you huge quantities of it which is why when I was given a counter offer of 2 months I was pleasantly surprised.
Although I live down the road from my GP my mild resentment about the whole medication thing means I am occasionally disorganised with it and blindly ignore my dwindling supplies. That said I rarely allow myself to actually run out because I tend to feel rubbish pretty quickly and my skin feels like an uncooked chicken breast which is very disconcerting. However this new 2 month prescription has actually thrown me because in my head I’m all like ‘geeze I have SOOO many meds now’ which tricks my brain into thinking I have endless meds, which I don’t. A couple of weeks ago this resulted in a rather disorganised attempt to get a last-minute prescription two days after having run out only to find the pharmacy had shut for the weekend with my prescription inside it. Tricky, very tricky. I reassured those around me it was fine whilst my skin began its rubbery transition into withdrawal and I started crying at nothing.
On the off chance they could help I traipsed into Boots to ask the pharmacist exactly how long I had before I became one large chicken breast. The answer was a few days. The pharmacist however was more concerned with the potentially life-threatening rash than the chicken breast thing. O I didn’t mention the deadly rash did i? Lamotrigine, my psychiatric medication, has this awesome potential rash called ‘stevens-johnsons syndrome’, this rash, although rare, has a reasonably high mortality rate. As a result the doses of lamotrigine can be staggered for as many as 6 months to ensure you don’t go from rash free to gross or dead. This means that if you stupidly forget your medication for a few days you can go right back to square one which will require you to add in another medication just to balance out the missing dose. Basically it all gets a little complicated.
In the past these situations have caused pharmacists to sigh in exacerbation and to confirm that I ‘do work in mental health right?’ I am then advised to sit whilst an emergency prescription is drawn up, by the small side booth next to the counter – which any girl will tell you is largely used for obtaining the morning after pill. It’s basically shame on all levels. But not today! The lovely man in Boots drew up a prescription no questions asked including an extra day to ensure if there were any issues on Monday I was covered for that too. He brought out a cup of water and advised I take them there and then to ease the withdrawal and merely noted ‘lets keep you well if they’re working’. It was a genuine breath of fresh air and I walked away feeling proud I’d bother to sort it rather than ashamed I was so ridiculous.
When I told a friend about this interaction she blithely told me she does not stumble into this issue because she has a FREE APP that does it for her, say whaaat!? I have spent the morning researching the validity of this app and it appears it is the fairy godmother of medication. The app is called ‘Echo’ and delivers medication to your door for free, reminds you to organise a repeat, how you take it and when you might need to see your GP. What’s cool about this app is not just that it is the PA of the medication world but that one of its top priorities is to save the NHS money, its website states ‘Almost half of all adults take a repeat prescription, but 40% of medication isn’t taken as directed. This costs the NHS billions in waste each year. Echo’s mission is to remove the barriers to adherence through elegant, user-focused design & technology’. On first go it told me my GP didn’t use online prescriptions and it therefore couldn’t help me however I know they do because it’s actually super annoying. I popped them a quick email to query it and the lovely Pooja got back to me later that day and helped me sort it. The customer service was great and friendly and their website clean and sharp.
If like me you are prone to bouts of stupidity and/or disorganisation I highly recommend you check the app out on the play store or read more about it by clicking here. That way you’ll be saved the ritual humiliation of looking like you forgot how to use contraception or you have a gross fungal infection somewhere you don’t want the rest of the waiting area to see.
P.S The app applies to all medication for chronic illnesses so if you have a physical health issue and take medication long term then check it out!