I'm a long-time lurker and I have finally decided to introduce myself. I was diagnosed with Bipolar I with psychotic features 14 years ago; since then, I've weathered nasty manic episodes and mixed states, three hospitalizations, failed whole classes of drugs (over 50 meds, many tried multiple times). As it turns out, as I'm sure is the case for many of you, medication just doesn't work that well for me. I responded reasonably well on Lithobid (generic lithium does jack shit, go figure) for years, though recently it seems to have lost some of its efficacy (increasing the dosage just makes me violently ill) and some of the old neuroleptics (gave me bad EPS- Cogentin didn't help), but I'm always a little symptomatic, even at my most stable. Up until recently, I've coped with residual craziness (intrusive thoughts, excess energy, agitation) with cardio- long-distance running, swimming, kickboxing- and by dumping all of my energy into my full-time job (that I love) and school (I'm working on my MLIS part-time). I have a great psychiatrist who has really tried to come up with creative solutions, including off-label treatments. I was never resistant to the idea of meds; they have just failed me.
I'm really here, though, because I am on SDI after a 6-month manic episode that began at the end of last summer and ended with me paranoid, delusional, sleepless, and broke (I'm sure this situation sounds familiar to many of you). After trying Vraylar, which actually seemed beneficial (brought me back to earth, thanks!) but gave me such bad dysphagia that I was waking in the middle of the night feeling like I was being waterboarded by my own saliva, my psychiatrist is pushing me to do a course of ECT. I actually had the Vraylar compounded out of desperation to see if the dysphagia was dose-related, but it was as bad at .25mg as it was at 1.5, and I can't go through life choking on food.
I am sick and tired of the med-go-round and ready for ECT; I've combed PubMed for studies and read patient testimonials and after everything I've been through with medication, I honestly don't see how it can possibly be any worse. I hate not being able to work, I hate how selfish and self-involved I am when I'm unwell, I hate not being able to read. I hate that I had to drop out of school for the semester. At this point, I'm willing to try anything if there is even a small chance that I will be able to regain my independence.
I have always liked this board for its raw honesty and sense of community. I'm going through an especially difficult time with this illness and I want to be around others who understand. I hope you will have me.
Has anyone become numb, severely depressed, "blank" minded after ECT and recovered? I wasn't depressed prior to ECT, and the "ECT specialist" thought I had a "rare form of Bipolar." After my 5th bilateral session I started to feel "off" and different, and subsequently plunged into a deep depression. A few months later my mind went "blank"/silent after experiencing strong negative thoughts and emotions, and now I feel totally flat (this was becoming gradual until the blank mind), disconnected from my self and others/family, etc.
Has anyone experienced something similar and recovered their emotions and "self" again?
Checking in after feeling good for a few months and then having two complete bipolar cycles in TWO days. I have no idea why I'm feeling this way and I'm pretty sick of it. I'd been avoiding ECT for years, but at this point I've tried so many medications that I put "too many to count" on my newest doc's intake form. I literally have taken everything currently and formerly on the market except Geodon and ... maybe Tegretol or Depakote. I can't remember which one of those I was blessed enough to miss out on. Anyone have any idea if ECT is a good idea for bipolar, but at this point I'll pull out any of the options I have. I looked it up as much as I could and it seems NAMI, Mayo Clinic, and the NIH say it can be used for bipolar that's resistant to medications.
To be clear, I have BP1, OCD, and some sort of anxiety (pdoc thinks social anxiety). I only started having manias in the last 4-5 years and my rapid cycling is going insanely rapid.
Currently on Lamictal (150mg), Lexapro (20mg), Trileptal (900mg in two separate doses), Abilify (5mg) and Lorazepam (1mg at night for sleep). It worked for three months and then I totally lost it after a stressful phone call.
Is ECT my next step here?
I've been in an episode of moderate/severe depression for about three years, and I've tried so many medications - some failures, some partial successes but eventual failures - that my medical team is recommending that I consider ECT. I've always thought of ECT as something for very severe depression. I've luckily never had to be hospitalized, which makes me think of myself as someone who's not experiencing severe depression exactly...
I've also been told that I'd have to stop taking Lamictal, which does make sense, but I've been on it for seven years and haven't had any kind of serious hypomania since I've been on it, so I'm rather attached to it.
Does anyone have experience with ECT as a treatment for intractable depression; depression that isn't responding to medications?
Thanks in advance.