Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Bipolar off her meds

 I started writing this post one year ago:

"I have always been open about my mental illness. I decided long ago that being open and sharing my feelings might help others who felt the same but were afraid to share how they felt. I believe that to get rid of the stigma around mental illness those of us who suffer need to show that we are not ashamed. Neither am I proud of my mental illness. (What I am proud of is how I have endured.) I have a disease that is genetic and happens to mainly affect my thoughts and emotions. To me, being bipolar is no different than being diabetic. I am not responsible for having this illness, just how I manage it. There is no cure but there are many things that I can do to make living with it better or worse.
I decided to go off of the mood stabilizing drug; Lamictal back in January of 2015. My reason for doing so was because I was having so much trouble with memory and cognitive function. It was making my life miserable. I had been doing pretty well with my moods for a while and the timing seemed good. In the winter my big problem is depression which is relatively easy to endure compared to mania or mixed states. I had the support of my family to try going without a mood stabilizer; it would be for the first time in 20+ years. I wanted to find out a couple of things. First, how much was the Lamictal doing? None of the drugs we have tried through the years has been really great or ever taken away all of the crazy thoughts or feelings. And they all came with awful side effects. Second, I wanted to know how much of my poor memory and cognitive function was really due to the med, maybe it was just getting older. Well, the results are in.
The good news: Lamictal did do well with controlling my moods. I had no idea how much so until now. I have not been this crazy in a long time....maybe 7 years or so. Yes, I have had some rough times even on it but none of them have lasted this long. If you imagine moods as a roller coaster, good mental health would be a kiddie ride. You have ups and downs but most of them are not extremely high or low and most of the ride is at a manageable level. On Lamictal my moods were more like an old fashioned wooden roller coaster or maybe a first generation coaster that had some speed and a few loops.  I had some pretty bad lows, even down into the tunnel of darkness a few times. Off of Lamictal I am on a brand new loop-de-loop super speed coaster. I have had a really nice ride up to a great height where the view was fantastic and thrilling. This peak hit right when I was at the Felter's Rendezvous in March of 2015. It was a fairly gradual climb up but I could still feel it coming. Spring is always my manic time so it was not surprising or that unusual except in how very high I got. Well what goes up must come down and in this case I am not just going straight down. This is the loopy part of the ride and the speed of the mood changes is amazing. But the biggest difference is in how long this whiplash ride is lasting.
The other good? news is that my memory and cognitive function have vastly improved. I am no longer that dumb blond with the memory of an 86 year old. I can even remember numbers. When I talk about my memory problems everyone chimes in that they have that too but this was extreme and really affecting my quality of life. All of that is so much better now. I can see just how much was due to the medication now.
So where does that leave me? Well the agitation that I always get in the spring has been really bad so the good doctor recommended Risperadone to take the edge off....."

Well, Risperadone was a no go but I don't remember why I stopped it. Then in December of 2015 I stopped taking my antidepressant since a. that can trigger a mania and b. I did not have a prescribing doctor. I gave up on my therapist of 20+ years along with the meds. It was not a good thing to do.
Fast forward to April of 2016. I am seeing a new prescriber and therapist, two for the price of one! and I am on new meds that seem to be working so far and the side effects are tolerable so far. I am planing ahead and getting things done and living instead of just surviving. I want to start blogging again but in shorter more regular posts. Want to come along for the ride? :)


  1. I whish you to stay close to your own heart. To have the calm between the roller coaster times and strength to endure such heavy disease you have no control or little control over. Take care Diane! thanks for sharing

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Jantine. I am thankfully doing so much better now.

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  4. Welcome back! I have missed your blog and look forward to seeing more of your wonderful pieces.I am sorry that you are having such a struggle with your health,but your post shows that you are brave as well as talented.Hope this is a better time.

  5. Thank you Susan, it is so nice to know that you missed my blog. I had no idea.