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About Amy10

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    in flux
  1. only taking 125mg Lamotrigine, off Lithium for eight months - feeling calm and good!

  2. Thank you for all the really useful replies! I am going to stick at 175mg, see how it goes for a while and reassess when my situation is calmer.
  3. Thanks for the input, you are probably right. Yes, if I delayed a dose in the morning, especially when I was on 300mg plus, I felt horrendous by midday, staggering around in what felt like a comedown off a bad drug experience!
  4. Oh and I am also quitting smoking (with a strong patch!)... Thanks for reading a long post
  5. Hi all, I seem to have (at least since stopping it in December 2011) come off Lithium successfully. My clinical mood chart shows me as more stable than when I was on it, and any small changes on it related to external events, upon analysis. This discontinuation had the strongest support from my psychiatrist, and we then decided to tackle the last regular medication (I also take very prn Risperdal and 5-HTP) : Lamotrigine. So...from having been on 450mg of Lamotrigine in 2009, I went down to 300mg gradually, then 200mg in January and am now on 150mg. My psychiatrist said I should go down in 50mg reductions from Lam every two weeks. However, I am feeling rather low and tearful since jumping from 175mg to 150mg. I don't know if it's my imagination, as it seems to happen almost immediately, but a day or two after going from 175mg to 150mg, I get low. Is that paranoia since it's such a short time to a low via the reduction? I know the obvious thing is to stay at 175mg for longer....I tried switching from 175mg to 150mg about three or four times over a few weeks. THAT said, I have had a lot of good and bad stress in my life recently. Troubles with my relationship, very busy/stressed at work in the past month or two, too many chores at home (decorating etc with NO help), a better job in the offing and being processed by HR/Personnel right now, etc I really want to carry on reducing Lamictal. I realise, upon writing it down, that there has been a lot of stress in my life! I don't want it to be a case of just the Lamictal as I am keen to try minimal meds, as is my psychiatrist, who told me to see how the reduction goes. What have been your experiences coming off Lamictal? Was there a dose you came to where you felt you were relapsing? Thank you!
  6. No Lithium for five months and coming off Lamotrigine, the last one : feeling calm and fine! :)

  7. I find them really useful, but I had to really watch the 'dosage' since it tipped me into temporary hypomania when I was more vulnerable to mood swings and in a mixed state. The manufacturers recommended 45 minutes in the morning with the lightbox being placed at at least an arm's length from your face/body. I would recommend halving that and seeing how you go. It's great for energy and as a mood lift when the heavy type of depression hits. I once read that, for bipolar people, using it after midday was less likely to result in hypomanic symptoms compared to using it first thing in the morning. I have no idea how strong that evidence is, but it's worth keeping in mind.
  8. I do on and off. Sometimes drugs made it worse (Seroquel), sometimes better (Sulpiride). The semi-ones come back when I am stressed or tired or have had the occasional drink too many and felt very hungover. They are almost like ideas of reference that could get full-blown, but don't. I sometimes get auras or glows around people and they can get sinister, with two-dimensional bodies that seem very outlined. This is only when in crowded places like city centres, not when I am sitting with a group of friends, for example. I have to say that the Seroquel gave me hypnagogic hallucinations, but I had them constantly before I got ill and after my first acid trip when 19 (only did it twice). This is only when my mood feels unstable/low/anxious/jittery.
  9. Lamictal killed my depression when I first took it : more than other drugs! I have to admit it did make me rather hypomanic, but it made me get through a Masters and lift the grind of the fog and cloud. Hope it works for you - I'm trying to do it monotherapy myself.
  10. Thanks, yes, I ruefully bought a pack yesterday.. Yeah, I mean a professional support network for MI ( I realise it sounded like job-networking ) - it haunts me that I could end up in a crisis centre or ward when it really wasn't necessary. I.e. early intervention or being checked up on by a Community Psych Nurse could mean I could weather crises or near-crises.
  11. I identified so much with this. I too have felt wistful jealousy and resentment of seeing people seem to swan into nice jobs, have normal stable friendships that always last years, no conflict, caring families, long relationships and NORMALITY. Many are high-fliers and I have struggled with feeling I can't fulfil my potential because of my illness, although I am good at my current job and get good feedback, too. A friend also said 'you wouldn't be who you are without your past' and I have tried to embrace that. It's easier when you're on your own and can practice self-esteem and appreciate the wisdom and empathy you may have gained, but socially...well, I totally identify with having to be a better listener since it's hard to preface everything with, um, well that time I was dying inside and maybe trying to outside, too. Hence the fractured, crazy life CV... I find it hard if friends drift or conflict erupts when they don't get it when I am ill. Luckily, a handful could, but they are scattered around. I have friends who I only share the usual distress with, i.e boyfriend, depression, job stuff, etc, but I go to a local BP group, and hopefully, since that' s a recent venture, I will be able to feel more understood. It's always a huge relief to share those little, infinite details that are part of the MI experience but that you never know are not 'just you being you'. It's still lonely though. HOWEVER, like others, I thought I would NEVER get better, never meet a good guy and never be appreciated or have a stable job. I thought I'd just teeter on and off the edge of the universe, mastering the 1000-yard stare! I have been with my live-in bf for close to three years and know I can be loved truly. He doesn't have an MI as such, but suffers from anxiety and low mood. I finally have a nice job and a few real friends. I still feel I would be lost without the support of my bf since my moods make me so vulnerable to loneliness and lack of support, but that's to be expected. I agree that we bring a different flavour to life and to relationships through our MI, good and bad. I have always been sensitive, into music, art, literature, philosophy, tend towards introversion and depression, then veer to overtly being the life and soul, etc, and some appreciate that in itself. I think the MI deepened some of my understanding of the way we work, and though that makes me cynical as people tend to play it safe in friendship and in groups, others appreciate my perspective and personality. Usually those who are outcasts or have been! As someone said, things really can change, suddenly or slowly and very unexpectedly at times. I found that the conviction I was marked and separate forever did dissolve somewhat when they did. There is no reason it won't for you, either. Wishing you the best in every sense..
  12. Most jobs here in the UK don't require you to specify unless the job absolutely requires a medical clearance for its intrinsic duties. If you do, it's made confidential as part of the equal opportunities form that is separate to a job application and also to ensure necessary adjustments are made in the workplace. Also, they define disability as something that has a chronic, daily effect on your functioning, which doesn't tend to apply to me. If the company has a separate HR dept, which it tends to, I tell them confidentially in case I need support and also as it ensures protection under the Disability Discrimination Act. I have to say I certainly wouldn't risk letting anyone know I had a disability before I was offered a job, and I have only let managers know confidentially if I felt they would be supportive and since it takes the burden off you if your health plays up. I hate that 'it's more acceptable to have a measly, painless cold and get sympathy' feeling!
  13. OK I gotta laugh cuz I just asked you why you were coming of lithium on a different thread that you started ! It's becoming my signature issue!
  14. Thanks, guys. Yeah, I think I have decided that the smoking thing ought perhaps to be looked at again after I know more about job and have a stronger professional support network. I have looked at a lot of research publications on PubMed, etc, and seen how relapse rates can rocket off Lithium, so am being super-vigilant. My partner has been briefed about it, too, since I know that mixed states are my unfortunate weakness and the more dangerous of the lot, I feel. I'm going to up the Risperidone and see if that gets me through this week or two. Yeah! Life - gets in the way when you're making other plans... Birdee, I was supported in coming off Lithium as it was numbing to the point of getting obsessed with suicide or even just getting psychotic (! I know..) so that I could feel some sense of self again..my levels were always all over the place, too - from 0.3 to 0.8 regardless of dose, NSAID intake, salt, exercise, etc. Basically, it wasn't helping. I can't underestimate how life stresses affect us REGARDLESS of mood problems, so will hang in there and rest. Thanks for the support. This board is invaluable
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