So the medication that I take right now is simple:
Lithium Carbonate 1500mg daily That is a mood stabilizer. It is meant to keep people away from going manic. It also has some qualities about it that can keep some people away from being depressed, but it generally is not considered a good or standalone anti-depressant.
That’s it. I take nothing else for my bipolar.
I do take a sleeping pill, Trazodone. It helps me get to and stay asleep.
And I am not supposed to anymore (it is no longer being prescribed to me) but I do still sometimes take some of my leftover stash of Klonopin for anxiety, 2mg.
I used to be on a lot more, and I have gone through many iterations of drug therapy, but I finally landed on this. And I was on much more before my ECT. But any avid reader of this blog already knows all of that. And that is only just set up for what I want to talk about, which is this:
I have no idea if my drugs work or not.
I should qualify that. I know my sleeping pill makes me sleepy. But I can take it and stay up all night. I’ve done it before. And I’ve taken a range from 50mg to 150mg and pretty much felt the same each time.
The klonopin just straight up makes you really tired and zoned out. It eliminates anxiety probably because it eliminates every stimulus reaction as well. It works for sure.
But the lithium, no clue.
I have not had a manic episode since I have been taking it regularly. So that is one thing, I guess. But I still went through my most recent depressive episode and subsequent hospitalization while taking lithium every single night. And when they took me off of my lithium in preparation for the ECT, I felt no change at all. Hell, when they put me on my new meds at the hospital, I felt no change at all.
Something I was on before the ECT (and is the first response should I have another depressive episode) is Latuda/ Abilify/ Zyprexa/ Seroquel. I’m certain that does not work. While I was on Abilify and Latuda I had major depressive episodes with suicidal consequences. I’m not checking out on those drugs, maybe the dosage was off or something, but I don’t think it worked. Unfortunately these are the only types of drugs (antipsychotics) that are used these days to treat bipolar depression. You’ve seen the commercials, you get it.
I’ve told the story before of how I had a genetic test done to determine what medications my body can properly metabolize and the list of available meds was short. This is a big reason ECT was a recommended treatment. And I am thankful it worked so well. But if I cannot do it in the future or who knows what happens, I don’t know what I am going to do.
I am no longer strong enough to continue to white-knuckle my way through this disease, and I am no longer in a position to drink my way out of it either. This is where I am now. I need medical treatments to work.
I am thankful that our understanding of both the disease and the treatment of it will increase dramatically in my lifetime. Hopefully before long I don’t have to force feed my body a seizure from electro shocks through my temples in order to feel better.
I’m not sure that time will come fast enough.