The Bipolar Disorder Med-i-go-round

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.

Carrie Fisher,Ā Wishful Drinking

39 responses to “The Bipolar Disorder Med-i-go-round

  1. Reblogged this on blahpolar and commented:

    One side effect of clozapine that I’m not going to miss, is hypersalivation. It’s minor in the scheme of things, but… yuck. And now I’m off to ward 13 – hope you’re having a good day, wherever you are.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. They don’t have sulpuride in New Zealand!!!! So daft! I think I may stage a protest at Parliament next time I’m in Wellington šŸ˜œ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Damn! That looks akin to my list of RA meds – tho I ended up giving most up because they didn’t work well enough for me..Only one or two made me feel sick. Feels. <3

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I relate to this post a great deal. In the last 12 months I have been on eleven different meds, finally crying uncle and returning to the lithium “will I throw up today or not” lottery. My doctor has this, “Well, you’ve tried everything” attitude that doesn’t help, either.
    Very frustrating all around what bipolar disorder puts us through. I truly hope you are approved for Zyprexa and that it all comes together.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love the “merit badge” concept transfer. Brilliant. I’ve lost track of myself and wonder if I could focus well enough to track my kids to see if it’s a regular thing for them like it is for me. They pop the ADD meds with only a few hallucinations every now and then when they “accidentally” put them back on Concerta (fucking ass holes!) because it’s cheaper for them. If I track a trend maybe the doctors can start their experiments on two new subjects. Or three. FSM, but I’m frightened to death of side effuckts. I must be in the doldrums headed back down. Ugh. Why the fuck is it called the “practice” of medicine and not the “profession” of getting medicine right?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a clever title and I love the caricature. I really feel for you, I’ve been on many of these meds, and know the frustrations of finding the right combo of medications that will help you! God bless and help you as you ride the meddie-go-round.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Title stolen from a fellow bipolar blogger known as morgue – it’s very cool I’m glad you like it too. Thanks for the good wishes, they’re much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. One thing I REALLY don’t miss about Clozapine is the 33 lb weight gain. Still trying to get all that weight off. Also, it turned me into a zombie with no will to do anything (unless you count laying on the couch). I liked Lithium but having to pee seven times a night really interferes with sleep, so that was a hard “no”. Now I’m on Abilify and seem to be doing ok. The generic is $900/mo (fucking drug companies!) and I hope my new insurance covers it, or else I will be very upset. Will find out tomorrow . . . Oh the state of healthcare in the US….

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “Ritalin is supposed to perk adults up, I promptly slept a lot”. Promptly slew up… indeed is what some of those side effects get the most out of u. I feel for you, I feel for all the diagnosed BDs in here, I saw my brother turn into something and someone I couldn’t make out… He didn’t even die dancing some mania off, he was found bent over his medecine box…


  9. So many of these medications I’ve never heard of. But in the U.S. everything is different. I have been skipping some medications or not taking some at all for the last 2 weeks. My Drug Coverage changed so my prescriptions are outrageous! $90 for 5 actual pills (Viibryd). Topirimate is $140/30 days, Adderall $199 for 30 day supply, Klonopin $70 for 30 days. I can’t do it. I have to wait until Feb. 1, 2016 when my new coverage kicks in. I’m not really absorbing much of the medications anyway except the fast acting ones. Side effects of skipping or cutting back are not great but I can’t even tell if it’s from that or not. lol It all pretty much sucks. If I ever find a Doctor that believes in treating the patient as a whole and is empathetic I’m handcuffing myself to them. (Kidding)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Bloody hell that’s a heck of a list… I’ve been following along while you’ve been trying stuff over the past year but seeing it all in one place… just staggering.
    Trouble is, if there was a medal (which I would like, since kleptomania is one of my good points), more “self-diagnosed” people than ever would want to become part of the clique. This is the trouble – society’s divided over whether we’re the cool kids or the scourge of humanity.
    It’s kind of like being The Dickies in the 70’s. Except we don’t get a double page spread in Melody Maker.


  11. I LOVE the quote! I have been on and still am (Lithium, Alzam) on 5 from your list. Quetiapine and Wellbutrin were my ‘shudder at the thought’ ones. I am hoping and hoping that Olanzapine is your dream come true. It was for me, despite the side effects (bad water retention) I was so determined to stay on it I even wore circulation stockings lol. But alas, doc felt the strong possibility of having a stroke too dangerous. He took me off it and I ended up in hospital on suicide watch. Hmmmm stroke…. or suicide? The debate continues…..

    Liked by 1 person

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