I wish I could tell you that this blog post was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, but you know, the medical professionals get the perks, we just get an ever increasing array of horrible side effects and the vague hope of a little emotional stability somewhere along the way. Bitter? Me? You betcha.
Here’s a list of the chemicals that have run rampant through my beleaguered system during the past 18 months.
Citalopram & Escitalopram – those are two generations of the same drug. The maximum dose you can have before ‘they’ start demanding ECGs, is 40mg, which shrink one felt was inadequate. I hadn’t started using the public healthcare sector then, so heart tests would’ve cost me a bomb. Before the 40mg rule appeared, I was on 80mg.
Alzam – I used it prn and never felt it doing much good.
Quetiapine – my very worst, because I got really breathless on it. The thought makes me shudder even now.
Lithium – a strange one.. My levels were absolutely safe and my kidneys did beautifully, all the way up to 1250mg, at which point (and all levels still lovely) I spent my life with one end or the other on the toilet, hoping like hell the other end could wait its turn. I really wanted lithium to work for me; it’s the best natural remedy there is for bipolar after all.
Methylphenidate – Ritalin is supposed to perk adults up, I promptly slept a lot.
Bupropion – Wellbutrin, it’s bloody expensive and I was using the private healthcare sector only at that stage. And that thing where it makes tobacco taste disgusting so that it’s used purely for quitting too? Pfffft. Took me a few days hard smoking to get past the terrible taste. Lol… And you know what psychiatrists with bipolar patients who smoke are like, “noooooo no no, let’s not look at quitting just yet…”
Largactil & Lamotrigine & Sertraline – no problems with any of those, bar some mild side effects like acid reflux. Their cessation was purely to make way for clozapine monotherapy, because ideally one wishes for a bit more than ‘oh yay not many side effects’ from one’s medication cocktail.
Sulpuride – prn. It’s gentle stuff, good for agitation and anxiety. Lol it’s the only one on the list I’d actually recommend.
Clozapine – dozapine…. Hits like a sledgehammer, delivering a rather clean form of oblivion. Pity about the side effects, I ended up being triggered to the point of self harm.
The list, by the way, is necessary for shrink two to motivate for me to get olanzapine (zyprexa) there. I’m getting fluoxetine (prozac) too, but apparently that doesn’t require extra paperwork.
I’ll leave you with what I think is my favourite quote about bipolar.
One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.