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The Kirkwood Call

Chill pill

Zachary Clingenpeel, photographer

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While she played guitar amongst her fellow band members, war was being waged between the opposing chemicals in her body.

For Bridgett Field, junior, life is a fight between the two different medications on her kitchen table. Every day, Bridgett takes 72mg of Concerta, a medication used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and 40mg of Prozac, an antidepressant.

“You feel kind of wired when you’re starting out [on] a new medication because it just affects you so fast,” Bridgett said. “You feel dull.”

Bridgett and her family began to notice signs of misbehavior and difficulty with attention in third grade. After discussing with the Fields the topic of medication, Bridgett’s doctor prescribed her Concerta, a brand name for the central nervous system stimulant Methylphenidate, and she began her eight-year-long relationship with medication.

“When I was doing my trial and error with my ADHD meds, that was the one that really set me off the edge and made me go crazy,” Bridgett said. “I just didn’t want to take my medication anymore. I was at a point where I was like, ‘You know, I don’t need this. This is making me crazy.’”

Bridgett’s dosage of Concerta increased two times since she began taking it and she has also been prescribed two other ADHD medications, Vyvanse and Focalin, that both proved ineffective in treating her ADHD. As Bridgett’s dosage increased over the years, so did her side effects. She began showing signs of anxiety and depression as a side effect of the higher doses of Concerta. After continued conversations with her doctor, she was diagnosed with depression and prescribed Prozac, the brand name of the antidepressant Fluoxetine, to help her combat her condition.

“It’s really tricky because a lot of people don’t understand what depression is,” Bridgett said. “They [think] ‘Oh, maybe you’re just really sad’ or ‘Maybe you just need friends’ but that’s not what depression is. Depression is sitting your room looking at your fish tank for three hours. It’s not going outside because you don’t have any motivation to move.”

When Bridgett began taking Prozac she was not alone. Christy Field, Bridgett’s mother, who has also struggled with depression since a young age, was able to help Bridgett get accustomed to the medication, as she too has taken Prozac since age 19. Christy still helps her daughter by laying out her pills for her each morning

“It’s really tricky because a lot of people don’t understand what depression is,” Bridgett said. “They [think] ‘Oh, maybe you’re just really sad’ or ‘Maybe you just need friends’ but that’s not what depression is. Depression is sitting your room looking at your fish tank for three hours. It’s not going outside because you don’t have any motivation to move.””

— Bridgett Field

“It’s really tricky because a lot of people don’t understand what depression is,” Bridgett said. “They [think] ‘Oh, maybe you’re just really sad’ or ‘Maybe you just need friends’ but that’s not what depression is. Depression is sitting your room looking at your fish tank for three hours. It’s not going outside because you don’t have any motivation to move.””

— Brdigett Field

“We’ve seen lots of different forms of depression, not only in our own family, but in our [extended] family as well,” Christy said. “We didn’t have too many thoughts against using it. We [wanted to make] sure she was happy.”

Prozac, a drug that was originally approved for the treatment of depression, has been on the market since 1987. Common symptoms of Prozac include restlessness, skin rash, and anxiety. For first time users of the medication it takes an extended period of use before the medication can begin to take effect and missing doses can result in immediate symptoms of depression according to James Edwards, retired psychiatrist of 50 years.

“If I don’t take [my medication], my thoughts are more free I guess,” Bridgett said “[This] doesn’t really [make it] sound like a good thing to be taking it, but it’s really good when [you’re] in that it mindset of ‘Maybe I want to kill myself’ or ‘Maybe I’m not worth anything.’ It helps limit your thoughts in a way.”

Bridgett’s currently takes four pills every day. Two 36mg Concerta pills and Two 20mg Prozac capsules. Despite all of the difficulty Bridgett has had with new prescriptions and changes in dosage, she still encourages people to keep an open mind when prescribed new medications.

“[When discussing medications] just be honest about your feelings,” Bridgett said. “There might be a trial and error with different medications but [you should] try to word out how you feel because if you don’t know how you feel it is going to make it a lot more complicated when you are on those medications.”

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Student newspaper of Kirkwood High School.
Chill pill