My thoughts on my first week on Bipolar medication

Last Tuesday I started taking medication (Lamotrigine) for my bipolar disorder. This was after finally having my appointment with my assigned psychiatrist (who is also my care co-ordinator, whilst the actual term psychiatrist is mostly shortened to the word Pdoc on things like bipolar forums. I’m learning all this as I go along). Anyway, I’ll talk more about that appointment in another post, needless to say that yes, I got ‘official’ confirmation that I have bipolar (which wasn’t exactly a surprise) and that she was lovely, which somewhat allayed my fears at the time about medication.

Now onto my experiences in the first week and a bit –

  • At first I got high, like I mean really high, like I’m talking about I didn’t so much shoot up the bipolar mood scale as blast off into the stratosphere. I was positively away with the bipolar fairies. It was only when I’d calmed down a bit that I realised that what I was experiencing was something I hadn’t experienced in years – a straight up, one mood bipolar episode. It hadn’t even really, like really consciously registered to me that a) the depressive part had become a huge part of my life, or rather it had but this experience just hammered it home, and b) how recently – although I can’t put a proper time frame on recent – my ‘high’ periods had actually become mixed episodes, with usually really fucking rapid changes as well. Back in the day it was always just one predominant mood at a time. No wonder the suicidal thoughts had got worse over time. A lot of these realisations also came up in my assessment with the psychiatrist too.
  • After the initial high, which totally superseded anything else that was going on in my brain, I got really, seriously cranky. It was like this tidal wave of wants, desires and lusts hit me and swept me away. I just wanted to get smashed, spend all the money in the world and fuck. Luckily (although at the time it didn’t feel that way) I have no access to money right now, like I really don’t, and I quit drinking nearly six months ago and luckily everybody knows what’s going on so I can’t secretly and self-destructively indulge. But it was a good warning sign, you know, to keep me on my toes, and to stay vigilant when I get back on my feet and get a job etc. I have to stay sharp and on top of things. I can’t walk out on any jobs in the future or – and this is really important – rack up any more debts.
  • The most amazing aspect so far, the most amazing, scintillatingly brilliant thing I can say about the last week and a bit, are these real lucid moments I’ve been getting, which have increased day by day, where I can see, really see, a bright future; not like a false, delusional future, characteristic of a brief lull in the storm bipolar sometimes offers up as a means with which to torture you, in a kind of ‘this is what you could’ve won’ type thing, but a genuine snapshot of what could await in the future. When it comes to the depressive thoughts, for the first time ever, I have had some measure of control over them. In fact, I haven’t had a suicidal thought in the last few days (which I can’t remember happening in a very, very long time. We’re talking years here). My mind has tried to go in that direction a couple of times but I’ve been able to steer it away.
  • Granted, I haven’t got much control over the more manic phase yet – my brain has felt on fire on some occasions it has been racing so much, and I’ve been averaging like 3-4 hours of proper sleep – but I’m on the lowest dose (25mg,) and the real, therapeutic dose is way up at between 100-200mg (my first dose increase starts next Tuesday). plus in my, extensive, reading on Lamotrigine I’ve come across quite a few people experiencing the same things as me at this dose, i.e. no real control over the manic stuff.
  • My concentration has been all over the place, hence this taking me way longer than I intended to finish, I had planned to have it up exactly one week after starting the meds. But the concentration thing has been improving too.
  • I’ve sure been having some vivid dreams and nightmares.
  • Oh yeah and I experienced a new part of bipolar that I’d only ever read about (and I can’t find the exact link now) but one day for about 10-15 minutes I was both crying but really, stupidly happy at the same time, which was a total headfuck. But yeah it went away pretty quickly.
  • One of the days I heard this burst of music in my head for literally a second. It was loud, clear as day and really disorienting. But that never happened again either.
  • Oh and finally, I get really anxious at night, owing to still having worries about medication plus deep-rooted fears over side effects and something terribly wrong happening as I sleep, which no doubt has also affected my sleep but again, same with everyone else, this has been getting better with time.

And, that’s about it.

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6 comments

  1. Welcome back, friend.
    Sounds like it has been quite a ride so far!
    Your descriptive words remind me of the Kay Redfield Jamison memoir A Unquiet Mind. A lucid recounting of her own struggles with manic depression. Good book.
    Nice to hear from you!

    • Yep, it has been a pretty hectic few weeks; I doubled the dose of the medication last week and I’m starting to feel like I did pre-bipolar. It is absolutely mind-blowing to recognise myself again after ten years.

      It has genuinely been breathtaking to experience life as I remember it being; I told my friend it was like being born again it’s that much of a drastic re-awakening. There are still things I’m getting used too and adjustments to be made with the meds but for the first time in a long time I am positively looking forward to the future and can’t wait to see what the next year brings.

      I checked that book out, it is differently one I’m going to get, want to see her account of the illness.

      I have a lot of catching up to do on here, looking forward to getting up to speed with your and everyone else’s posts.

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