Autistically medicated: the journey to find what works

My name is David, and I have to take a ton of medication to stay healthy.

It’s taken years to find the balance, and recently, one of the main medications has had to be changed.

Currently I am taking aripiprazole, paliperidone, mirtazapine, trazodone, promethazine and propranolol for my mental health (although the paliperidone will soon be discontinued, and the aripiprazole dose increased).

I also take procyclidine and rosuvastatin for the side effects of my medications.

I’m autistic and have complex mental health conditions. I’m stable, but it’s taken a long journey through various medications and talking therapies to get here. My autistic brain is sensitive to changes, so I have endured a lot of side effects.

Why did I endure it?

I wanted to get better.

I realised that if I wanted to feel better and be better, I had to listen to what the experts were telling me. There has been a lot of trial and error, but I am now in a place where, even though difficult things are still happening due to outside forces, I am happy.

I have walked away from people who shame me for taking meds. I don’t need them in my life. For some of us, medication is a prerequisite of life. Finding that balance however, can be a nightmare.

My autistic brain doesn’t react typically to anything, and there is little to no research on many of these medications in autistic people. For this reason, it’s taken me over a decade to get to where I am.

My psychiatrist deserves a bloody Nobel prize. He has worked in the dark to make me well again. What we have achieved together is nothing short of a miracle.

My advice for anyone struggling with mental health is to work with your doctor. Use their expertise. Discuss how it makes you feel. It’s tricky, but you have to give a certain level of trust.

Medication is a lifeline that everyone should have access to, and I will never allow people to be shamed for it on my platforms.

We need to work together to destroy the stigma surrounding medication.

Published by David Gray-Hammond

David Gray-Hammond is an autistic mental health and addiction advocate living in the South East of England. He is in recovery from addiction and psychosis, as well as other complex mental health conditions. He was diagnosed as autistic seven months after achieving sobriety, and is resolved to share his experiences with the world in the hopes of being the person that he needed when he was younger.

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