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Everything posted by Squirlygrl

  1. Like it, not exactly. Saved my life, yes. I agree that it is amazing for mixed episodes, to the point that I can imagine never having another, ever. I have some side effects, but I take a high dose (3000 mg). GI effects lessened and, If you insurance allows, extended release is easier on the stomach. I did gain weight, but then I also got into bad eating habits and stopped running, so there you go. I shed, but I never actually seem to have thinner hair. The first time I tried it, I did think it was depressing. Now, I get tired sometimes but am not depressed, so maybe I just hit a bad cycle then and wasn't taking enough. I was at best a partial responder to lithium and Lamictal and I had prohibitive issues with at least seven antipsychotics, typical and atypical, so Depakote is a huge boon for me. You may be able to try it and just switch if you cross a certain weight threshold or if any of the above become intolerable.
  2. I am one of those who can't, at all. I tried three or four times and had some ugly switches. But I believe I was not on an atypical (except to clean up the mess afterwards). I am on Lamictal and I guess it's its job to cheer me up. On the other hand, if you have always taken one with your mood stabilizer, and are not manic, not cycling, not kindling, why fix what's not broken? As always, Jim Phelps/psycheducation.org has fun cites, although they are a few years old now.
  3. If you are wondering how people test, Goodwin & Jamison 2nd ed. 2007 pp.276-282 is in the Google Books preview.
  4. You should also consider an eye exam to rule out retinal detachment (which can often be repaired, especially if you don't let it slide.)
  5. The meds come first. I can't miss even a day. I do worry about my liver, which is very busy, enough so that I need blood work anyway. Every six months or so I have a glass of wine. I do miss beer, but the serving sizes are too large -- I'll go to sleep. It took me years to concede this. Most of the time I don't miss drinking, but occasionally I miss it a lot.
  6. I am a lot better on just mood stabilizers. I have much less generalized anxiety, and I used to have very unpleasant intrusive, anxious, delusional thoughts that are just gone. Specific avoidance anxieties (highway driving, bill paying) are still here; they ebb and flow: exposure and routine are key. I really don't like long-tem benzos. They make me feel dull and depressed and I am not patient when tapering them. Except maybe Ativan, which is probably why I am not usually allowed to have it. Some like ADs for anxiety, but for me they are out of the question. I have a feeling that the two treating doctors might disagree about one vs. separate diagnoses, but I also think it makes no difference to the treatment in my case.
  7. I believe PubMed is full of studies of this question. Of course, that raises the questions of: how big is the study? how long? compared to what? Acute or maintenance? Also, people in studies tend to be desperate, i.e., very sick. Bottom line: I see no reason not to trust the person who is treating you. For what it's worth, you may be giddy with relief after being down for so long, and maybe that will subside if watched. I tend to swing that way. It may also depend on how high you tend to get. For me, no, it does not work alone (or even in combination with many things). Back when I was on lithium and Lamictal, I was told that someday I might drop the lithium. Things subsequently got more colorful, and I do not believe that consultant would give that advice to the "new me." I am glad to hear that you are doing better.
  8. Yeah, I think so. It's not that I never get down, it's that there always seems to be a way out. I don't just completely stop functioning anymore. BTW I'm like Miron in thinking that the Depakote is doing some of this work by itself. Best of luck.
  9. Disclaimer: I had good meds. Absolutely worthwhile with the right person; you could be spinning your wheels with the wrong one. I put it off until I was a disaster. Yes, it is all about getting coping skills, and having the insight to know when to apply them. I am not finished, but I feel that I have graduated from "monster" to "normal person with some exaggerated responses to normal problems." It's not always pleasant, but there are plenty of things in life that are harder.
  10. Yes on the old thread, but this was such an issue for me: It used to make me furious when people wouldn't diagnose, or didn't factor in things I thought were important. They would say "don't reduce yourself" and "treat the symptoms" and I would think "Either you are condescending to me, as if I cannot be trusted with this information, or you are too lazy to think it through." Or, worst of all, they would focus on something I was sure I didn't have, and I would think they were trying to fit me into a Procrustean bed. Angry, angry, angry. Then I ended up in a situation where I had no choice but to be treated for something I didn't think I had. Neither of the treating doctors would diagnose it to my face or to the insurance company. And yet, as I got better, I would see factor after factor improving, and think "Oops, I know where I saw that one in the DSM. You never know." Also, I've been keenly aware of how new most of these lines and labels are. I would not be surprised at all if they all looked so different in 100 years. So I can't really "be" any of them. So I guess the lesson, other than that this was unhappy for me, is "choose your own dx privately, and think they are all idiots if necessary, but treat for everything they suggest" -- the broad-spectrum antibiotic theory.
  11. I am very sorry. That sounds horrible. It seems like the first order of business is to make you comfortable with your children. If insight doesn't do it at first, then maybe relaxation techniques, or some kind of directed thoughts, or some such. Somebody (hello, psychiatrist) owes you some help with that. I don't like to be touched except by my very closest family. On a much lighter note, I have moved from the reserved Midwest to a party of the country where social air-kissing happens. Garf. Not only does it ick me out, I always think I'm doing it wrong.
  12. I have found major good things to be very triggery, such as professional and personal successes. It's been bad enough that I guess I am afraid to have any more. Hello, therapy. My pattern reminds me of what you described this spring: things are stressful, then I think I'm over the finish line, then, BOOM. Extra daylight is hard, starting in March. I have done a lot of stupid stuff in the spring and early summer. I am uncomfortable with any but the most minor changes in routine, but I seem to be able to manage them with effort.
  13. Hi! I have the same general impression as you about lower levels, but whatever works, works. I don't start feeling flattened by lithium until I get close to 1.0. In my experience, while it would seem to make sense to cut Lamictal after increasing lithium, in practice it can be hard to get a doctor to do that. In other words, I have been trying and failing to get rid of my Lamictal. My doctor and my consultant are huge believers in leaving well enough alone. Once believes that, if you pull something, it might not work the same way if you put it back. The other, I think, is just tired of being nagged. Which means you can (a) increase lithium; (b) increase Lamictal (people go higher than I had thought); or © since the depression is moderate, attack it with something behavioral (the thing that works best for me is a strict routine for both pleasant and unpleasant activities, YMMV).
  14. Welcome, and best wishes. That's what it's all about. I look at my children's lives over the past few years and I conclude that so much healing is possible.
  15. You may be extra hard on yourself because you grew up around this, and are afraid of being that person. You're not. You can get better treatment and cause less harm. You can't undo what happened, but your loved ones can forgive you. Also, a year and a half is a short time to work through atonement and acceptance and all that. Remember that fault is a continuum, not an either/or. You can take responsibility for this while acknowledging that there were constraints on you, and for me, that is a relief.
  16. Thank you for doing this! I like it, and it is good to be able to keep up with what you are working on.
  17. I've almost always gone to the doctor for this and I think I've just been prescribed more of what I'm already taking. The only times I've waited it out are when I'm just coming off some huge episode and it's actually an improvement, or an aftershock. And even then, those times it's been constant, not frequent. If this is taking up your whole brain space, you should get treated for it.
  18. For irritability, not a general mixed state, I have had good luck with lithium, as a low-dose add-on. I did take Haldol as an outpatient for nine months or so. I was not irritable, but I was not awake very much either.
  19. I used to exercise like crazy. This is not a cure, but it may make you feel a little better. I also took a lot of Zyprexa, as needed. Congratulations on the new job. I hope the first day went OK.
  20. Hi there, I went to your website and I very much enjoy your work. Once you feel better, I can imagine you doing unpaid work that is important and satisfying. I would love to see you do a mural, or to do volunteer art therapy with a peer support group, or maybe something else. Drawing now is a way of working toward that. If you are not getting food and medication down, that is a must-know for the doctor and possibly the pharmacist as well. (My pharmacist is really good. Ginger tea is my friend now.) When I feel truly horrible I do try to rest and sleep if off a bit. Sometimes a day or two of going easy on yourself really helps. More than a day or so and I try to get jump-started. Meanwhile, I think many people on this board (certainly me!) have had periods where the clean clothes, or the shower, or getting up from the nap, or being nice to the husband, is that day's achievement. No shame in that. It isn't always that bad. Feel better. And draw more, we'd love to see.
  21. Do talk to your doctor, but do not do might-have-beens after that. I have wasted so much time and grief wondering what would have happened had I taken different medications or made different life choices. It's done. There were multiple stresses. I had Adderall early and it made me very focused, but on suicide. No psychosis. Then I had a bad depressive vision when I switched it for Prozac. Then psychosis became a mania-only thing, and then a random stressed-out thing. But those last were fleeting, and manageable, and are getting a lot less frequent. So, yeah, I think Adderall can be bad, but the two of you will work it out. For what it's worth, I recently switched from coffee to tea for GI reasons. I'm only about ten days in, but it seems to be mellowing -- something you might try if you take the Adderall back.
  22. It's funny -- I didn't have much sleepiness/spaciness/word finding with lithium, but lithium didn't work very well for me either. But with anticonvulsants I have both sedation and effectiveness. So maybe you need one to get the other. I also think the sedation abates around five weeks or so. That said, you are sleeping a lot for a non-depressed person. When I was in this position (hello, Haldol), I couldn't take stimulants, so I just drank a disgusting amount of coffee. Yes, I agree that you can get the antisuicidal effect at subtherapeutic levels.
  23. Please get a second opinion about your diagnosis and medication. Please. Sooner rather than later. Then get a lawyer to deal with the back taxes, and possibly with SSDI. The IRS, I believe, will accept a settlement in good faith, but I do not know how it is done. Get the guns out of the house until it is all taken care of. Do these things for the sake of your wife and child. I say this as one former six-figure-earner, and parent, and former Adderall user, to another.
  24. Actually, that mantra would kind of freak me out. I would feel panicky if I felt it not working. I do better with "I am stressed, I am angry, I am sad." Denial is great in the short run but it comes back to bite me if I use it for too long. As far as what any creatures might think, I do best if I just get angry at them. As in, "You have no right to be here, and even if I can't make you disappear, I don't give a f. what you think."
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