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  1. I have been afraid of developing diabetes, which is a big reason I want to be on a different med and lose weight. (Or metformin - but that is not sounding very promising.) I get regular blood tests for fasting glucose and hemoglobin A1C, and so far my blood tests have been healthy. No pre-diabetes. But both my mother and father developed Type II diabetes in their 40s, and I'm already 36, so I feel that the Seroquel and weight gain combined with family history puts me at risk. I'm concerned that eventually my blood tests won't be healthy. At this point I think switching to another med would be preferable to trying metformin, but unfortunately I'm running out of weight-neutral meds to try. At the moment I'm contemplating asking my doctor about Tegretol, as I've never tried it before. I've already tried Geodon, and it was a disaster. Same for Haldol. Lamotrigine helps with depression but not mania. Lithium is not particularly weight neutral, and last time I was on it I felt depressed and flat, and my thyroid was starting to have problems. Divalproex is also not weight neutral, and it caused me to feel all panicky when I tried it. Risperdal gave me akathisia. Never tried Abilify, but I hear it causes a lot of akathisia, and is not necessarily weight neutral. Olanzapine (Zyprexa) caused massive hunger and rapid weight gain. I need something strong enough to prevent full-blown mania. So what does that leave me to try? Anything other than Tegretol? frog
  2. Hi all, I tried Lamictal in the past, and it was good in some ways. I felt like I had better concentration, from day 1. I don't know if I felt HAPPIER, though. I could try it again and see, I suppose. At least it didn't give me insomnia, like Wellbutrin did. I don't like to take more than 275 mg of Seroquel as it makes me feel really zombified at higher doses. I prefer to be less drugged than more. And I can't come off of it, because it's to keep me from getting manic. I'm already in therapy, but it seems stalled. Last year we made a lot of progress with a trauma lens, but right now I'm just very depressed. Today she suggested I write down things I feel grateful for. I may try that. I notice the depression gets heavier and lighter, though. It's really bad in the morning, when I sleep in and feel really sad. Then later in the day sometimes I feel better, especially if I've been talking with someone. Towards bedtime there are moments when I can almost forget I'm depressed. I get random hopefulness, or random desire to, say, read the paper. I randomly think I can do something, like go back to work eventually. I feel a bit better, then sometimes I am reminded of other people's success, and that drags me down. I have a lot of issues around comparing myself to others and being hard on myself. I'm trying to work on stopping those kinds of thinking patterns. I'm just so unsure about the whole Prozac thing, and I hate being on Seroquel because it's made me fat (might end up trying metformin to help lose weight), but my doctor seems to think it's the best for me mood-wise. I've tried a lot of other mood stabilizers / antipsychotics in the past, and nothing was tolerable except Lamictal, but Lamictal only as an add-on to Seroquel (without Seroquel, I ended up in a mixed episode). The weight gain is making me feel bad but I don't know if there is a weight neutral option out there for me. So for now I'm just eating super healthy and doing a bit of exercise. There's also the time factor here. I just may need to wait. I'm only on my second week of being back on Seroquel, after a disastrous attempt at being on Haldol, from the hospital. So this is Week 2 of depression but also Week 2 of Seroquel. It's really early times. I could wait on the Prozac decision. In the past, I've pulled out of depression with just Seroquel. I'm feeling a little more urgent about starting metformin (to lose weight), but also unsure that it will really help at all (for many it does nothing). I may mentioned Lamictal to my doc, though. frog
  3. I was hospitalized in April/May for a manic episode that lasted 5 weeks. Before this, I was working part-time, doing some volunteering and had a social life for around 17 months. Now I am too depressed to do anything (what goes up must come down). I'm reading how some of you can go back to work 2 weeks after a hospitalization. I don't know how you do it. I'm going to be depressed for weeks or months before I can do anything, if the past is an indicator (last time it was from late August to November before I got going again), although this was a relatively short manic episode (for me) so maybe that will shorten the depression too (what do you think?). Is there something more I can do to put an end to the depression? A therapy that will help? A med change? (Doc has suggested trying Prozac, but he doesn't sound that convinced.) I feel like I have nothing now. I hardly want to move. I stay on my computer and post sad messages on Facebook and now, here. I dragged myself to 2 fitness classes in the past week, but it took superhuman effort just to get out of bed and I really don't know if I can sustain the habit. I went to the beach today and felt absolutely terrible because I'm so depressed. Life is so hard, I can't imagine how I'm going to get through these next few weeks or months, never mind getting back to my usual Seroquel 'normal' (dulled) which isn't all that wonderful. (Where's that wellness we keep hearing about?) I could really use some support. frog
  4. I struggle with this issue too. I never feel well enough to really succeed at something I care about, but I can hold down part-time jobs. Still, end up in a manic episode and hospitalized, and then I have to creep out of depression for weeks or months until I feel well enough to do something again. Then I'm fine for maybe 2 years, give or take half a year, but it's hard to find a good job. I'm very disappointed with myself that I can't do more and be more consistent, e.g. have a real career. I have two university degrees, both bachelors, but I earned the first just as I was getting sick, and the second in between hospitalizations, before I was on these dulling meds full-time. I own a car, but I bought it in my last manic episode (though I did have most of the money - just have a small car loan now). Not married but in a long-term relationship. Not sure I appreciate my partner enough, to be honest. No house, we rent. Right now, brutally depressed, I can't do much of anything. I'm just waiting to see when the depression will break, contemplating antidepressants though that hasn't worked in the past. Life has been disappointing, to say the least. I struggle daily with feeling like a loser/failure. But when I'm doing better, aside from feeling kind of unfocused, I function well enough to get by. I could use some support if anyone wants to message me.
  5. Hi everyone, I'm in a bipolar depressive episode and my doctor has suggested I try adding Prozac to my combo (already on Seroquel). Basically I want to feel like I care about life and have energy, interests and concentration and the ability to feel happy emotions as well as sad ones, when the situation calls for it, instead of just feeling like doing nothing. But I don't want to feel happy all the time, and I don't want to feel numb and flat, and I'm not interested in something that will make me react LESS to life. I want to feel fully alive with a range of feelings. I read the reviews on askapatient.com, and they were really not making Prozac sound good. It sounded like it makes people feel flat and numb and apathetic, like their depression is gone but instead they feel nothing. Or else people praise it for making them cry less or react less. I don't want to be unable to cry or react. As it is, I feel underreactive. Likewise, I feel apathetic enough. Has anyone had a Prozac experience that was actually like what I'm seeking? Where it gave you some sense of caring about life, and the energy, enthusiasm and focus to live life fully? Rather than making you flat/emotionless/non-reactive. frog
  6. Hi all, I'm at my wit's end due to weight gain from Seroquel (that I take as a bipolar mood stabilizer). I've been on it since 2006, and have gained 70 lbs, about 50 lbs above baseline. That puts me at 5'6" and 211 lbs. I don't eat like a pig, yet I keep getting bigger, unless I really restrict myself, and then my weight just stays stable until I let myself go again. Before the Seroquel, I had a baseline weight of about 165, even though I didn't eat perfectly. I feel ugly and horrible about this, especially worried that I'll get diabetes in the next few years (I'm 36). My doctor has suggested we start me on metformin because it's been shown to reverse AAP-related weight gain, and I'm considering it. BUT the studies I've read don't really impress me. I mean, losing 10 lbs? That's it? Is that really worth it? That's not really fixing the problem, is it? Has anyone here had success losing more than a tiny amount of weight with metformin? If not, what strategies did you use? Was it even possible to lose weight on Seroquel? (My experience says only with a low-carb diet, but that rebounded terribly when I went off the diet. Lost 25 lbs, gained 35 back.) Did you have to switch meds? (I've tried so many, and so far Seroquel is the only mood stabilizer I can tolerate.) Which ones are weight-neutral and also have anti-manic/mood stabilizing properties? FYI I have Bipolar 1 with manic episodes every 2 years or so (give or take half a year), then depression, followed by stability for some time, sometimes years. I've already tried and not had success with Geodon, risperidone, Lamictal, lithium and valproate, either due to them not working or the side effects. At one point I was also on Wellbutrin with the Seroquel, but it caused me more frequent manias. Thanks, frog
  7. melissa, yes, my thyroid is fine. The weight gain is from Seroquel. carlos and melissa, I eat a very modest diet and don't experience a large appetite, yet all I am able to do is keep my weight stable. It crept up while I was eating more normally, e.g. allowing myself desserts, but I certainly wasn't ravenous though at the time I would eat at night due to panic. I don't eat at night anymore. But I lost like 3 lbs in a week and since then it hasn't gone anywhere. Gearhead, I'm talking about both my body and my mind. Though I don't know if the mind is truly sluggish, or if it's my expectations and perceptions that are making me think that. Other people still think I'm smart. I just don't feel as passionate, I guess. But that could be because I'm putting pressure on myself. It's hard to tell. The body thing, though, is really hard. I keep thinking I'm going to have to change mood stabilizers, which is hard because Seroquel has kept me stable if not happy. I tried lithium a few years ago and was very depressed and flat. Valproate made me panic. Risperidone made me angry and restless (akathisia). Lamictal helped my concentration but didn't really make me feel happier, and when we tried Lamictal monotherapy I went into a really bad mixed episode. Olanzapine made me eat everything in sight and gain weight really quickly. Geodon gave me very bad akathisia. Haldol also gave me terrible akathisia and tremors. I saw Invega mentioned, but as it's a Risperidone metabolite, it likely would screw me up the same way. What's left that I haven't tried? Give lithium another go, maybe with an antidepressant on board or at a lower dose? Try Tegretol or Trileptal? Latuda has no anti-manic properties, so that would be inappropriate. I'm at my wit's end with this. If I could tolerate a weight-neutral med, I could lose weight easily, as I know lots about healthy eating. (I really can't afford to be 211 lbs while denying myself all dietary enjoyment. I'll get diabetic if this doesn't change.) I wonder if I need an antidepressant or something with antidepressant properties in the mix, though, just to make me feel more normal, or if that would just destabilize my bipolar and cause more frequent manic episodes (like Wellbutrin did, though it caused insomnia). At this point my doctor's suggesting I try metformin and Prozac (at least while climbing out of depression), but I don't have much faith in the metformin. I'm going to make a separate post on the AAPs board about metformin and see what responses I get. frog
  8. I've been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 disorder since 2002. I've been on meds full-time since 2006. And during that time, I have to say I've been disappointed with the outcome. The only med I seem to be able to tolerate is Seroquel. But it makes me feel kind of stupid and non-reactive. I don't feel that I am naturally that interested in much anymore. Plus, I've gained 70 lbs (though to be fair, I was unusually skinny for me when I started, so it's really 50 lbs over baseline). The worst part is that I keep gaining weight, unless I really restrict my food, and then I just stay at the same weight until I stop restricting again. My stomach, in particular, is large. I'm into the 2X clothing sizes. And I don't have a huge appetite. My doctor is thinking of putting me on metformin to try to encourage some weight loss, but as I understand it, even the best results with metformin don't totally reverse what you gain, so maybe I'll lose say 10 lbs, and is that really worth much? I mean, I'm already 211 lbs, how much better am I going to feel being 201 or whatever? On top of this, I'm in a depressive phase now because I had a manic episode back in April/May for 5 weeks. I'm lucky in one sense: I don't have any rapid cycling or anything like that. I can get a good 2 years, sometimes, between manic episodes. Then after a manic episode, I'm depressed for a while, then I'm sort of functional for a few years if I'm lucky. And also, I might be able to get longer if I learn to recognize signs of relapse more quickly. The last two times I relapsed were after 2 and a half years and 20 months without mania, so it's not like it's something I'm fighting monthly or even yearly. I fight with having insight. Back when I didn't believe the bipolar diagnosis was valid (a few months ago), I thought I could go to therapy and slowly reduce meds and maybe one day come off and be myself again. Well, that strategy failed twice now, and maybe the reason for the last 2 manic episodes was because I was taking too little Seroquel at the time. (But I was trying to be responsible, as I was doing it with the doctor's cooperation and lowering really slowly.) After the latest episode I was convinced it was indeed mania. So at this point all I can think is that I have to be on something forever, and just accept the diagnosis and do the best I can. But how can I accept being so fat? And how can I accept that even when I'm "stable", I don't feel like myself anymore? Don't feel smart, don't feel excited about hobbies, etc.? I've tried a lot of medications (lithium, divalproex, Geodon, risperidone, olanzapine, haldol, Lamictal, Wellbutrin) and most of them are intolerable for a variety of reasons including akathisia, panic, insomnia, huge appetite, and increased depression. I have doubts that I'll ever find one that makes me feel right, and I really don't want to start putting together complicated cocktails. Back when I was on antidepressants (along with Seroquel), I was even less stable (more frequent hospitalizations), so I avoid those. I have a feeling I'll just have to accept feeling impaired on Seroquel forever. This is all very disappointing because I did well in school up until I started getting sick around age 19/20 (mostly depression in the beginning), and then it took years to realize what was going on, and years more (and several manic episodes) before they forced me onto meds full-time. I had every expectation of a professional career originally. Now, at 36, I feel like my mind doesn't make connections, and those academic interests seem distant. I feel as if someone has stolen my life from me. I can work part-time when I'm in my "stable" period, which is lucky, but it's not the kind of work I once expected I would do, and it certainly doesn't compare to the work I see others in my family doing (doctors, lawyers). Plus, there's just the simple loss of faith in my own ability to think and react to the events around me, making it hard to live a passionate life and feel like I have a personality. I'm on about as low a Seroquel dose as I can safely be on, too. We're talking 275 mg, not 700 like a friend I know. I'm going to stop before this becomes a blog. But do you guys think it's possible to not be fat and to feel normal while on bipolar meds? Because my experience so far says no. It says that there will always be an intolerable compromise in quality of life. frog
  9. A few days ago, after a slow taper-down, I came off of Seroquel. Since then, I've had this INTENSE itching, like everywhere. I'm always scratching. I did a Google search for "seroquel withdrawal symptoms itchiness" and found that indeed this is something experienced by a lot of people (or so it seems, from the amount of anecdotal evidence that came up). It seems it has to do with Seroquel being an anti-histamine. I figure my histamine system is on some kind of rebound right now. (It can't be seasonal - that is, due to grass or whatnot - or food-related, as I have no allergies.) Question: Has anyone else had the coming-off-Seroquel itchies, and how long did it last? Thanks, frog
  10. I'm actually not sure if they're bruises or just blue from poor circulation, but whatever they are, nothing showed up on blood tests. No muscle problems, no thyroid issues, electrolytes okay, hemoglobin fine, no rheumatoid factor, and I forget what else. Also did a carpal tunnel test, and nothing. One of my drugs was lowered last week, and I've been able to type a bit more before I get stiff, but my neck has been bugging me for days (that's been on and off for years too).
  11. Has anyone here been on both lithium and lamotrigine as your complete cocktail for Bipolar 1? What kind of blood levels of lithium did you need?
  12. Hey everyone, I've been on this system since December, but have not been up to introducing myself yet. I think all my posts have been on the medication boards, because, hey, that's what I'm having the most trouble with now. I'm a 30 year old woman and I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. My passion is dramatic writing, which unfortunately is limited due to the problems I've had in the past few years... I've had a really, really crappy last few years. I first started developing really impairing symptoms of bipolar disorder in 2000, when I was doing my first university degree (I have two bachelor's degrees, one in science and one in arts). I was so depressed I almost didn't finish - I wouldn't have, without my parents pushing me. Luckily the depression didn't hit until my very last semester. At that time I was a computer geek - I was studying computer science - but I lost interest (don't know if it was the depression or just a shifting of interests). Got into this crazy graduate program about life in outer space, in Seattle of all things, and went and took a stab at that, a stab that lasted 6 months - I made a mistake in my primary field, which didn't help (I picked atmospheric sciences, which turned out to be a lot of physics that I didn't understand - I preferred chemistry and biology), and then the depression was so bad that I'd sleep through classes and eat three chocolate bars in a night. At the time I wasn't health-conscious at all. I ended up dropping out of graduate school, and working at a software company in Bellevue, WA (suburb of Seattle) for 13 months. I had been developing an interest in film (wrote my first screenplay while dropping out of school - wrote it AT school - I think I was hypomanic), in acting (took some acting classes in Seattle), and thought I wanted to go to film school, so I took the job so I could save up. I would arrive late and leave early. It was depressing, because I took the bus from Seattle, and would have to spend an hour and twenty minutes each way. Eventually I moved to Bellevue, and that was just as bad, because I was in the 'burbs, away from the life of the city. The software job was okay - it was the kind of code I liked to do, assembly language mostly - and the people were nice and the company was good to me, but I just couldn't keep doing it. First I switched to another position, doing support for content developers for Microsoft TV of all things - I was lent out to Microsoft in Redmond - but I couldn't take that either. The best things I ever did at MS were being in the chorus of a charity production of Evita!, and meeting my still-good-friend Scot. In 2001, I moved back to Winnipeg, to study arts at the University of Winnipeg. By 2003, my dad had died from a long battle with Type II diabetes and congestive heart failure. By the end, he was blind, had arthritis, sleep apnea, fluid in his lungs, at times a tube down his throat. He was lying in that hospital bed for months at a time. It was very hard for me, but I was also distracted by my continual depression, which I didn't know was depression. My first hospitalization was while he was sick. I think I became overwhelmed. I myself had not felt well for a long time. I was a vegan, and discovered I had an iron deficiency. I started trying to eat really iron-rich foods, like quinoa, and suddenly felt like I was getting much better. Soon I thought all sorts of magical thoughts. Then I was hospitalized for my first mania. It was an involuntary hospitalization, and it really hurt. I got the butt injection and everything. Terribly scary. I had no idea that kind of thing could happen to a person, and I felt betrayed and tricked by strangers. After that I had many hospitalizations in between doing my arts degree, which ended up being a 3-year major in theatre, in acting of all things, though I was never in an actual show (I was supposed to be, but had a manic episode and ended up in the hospital). Many, many of my hospitalizations were involuntary and traumatic. I still hate the mental health system for it, and feel like we're in an abusive relationship. But at this point I very much recognize that I have bipolar disorder and want to make sure it's treated properly. Most of the drugs I've taken have made me feel very lousy. So far, the *only* drug I like is lamotrigine. It makes my thinking clear (I had years of fuzzy) and sharp, my interest better, and I'm more motivated than I used to be. Unfortunately I've been on Seroquel too for years, which has made me feel depressed, anxious, unmotivated and uninterested. Seroquel was the drug that conquered my resistance to the diagnosis. It slowed my thoughts down to molasses and made me feel depressed, but at least it gave me a chance to recognize that the thoughts had been awfully fast. The doctor is weaning me off the Seroquel now, and with each reduction I feel a lot better (though I can feel the withdrawal for a few days - last time, the top of my head felt funny). We're still trying to figure out what to replace it with. I may try lithium, despite all my fears, because I really don't want to be on another antipsychotic. My system doesn't agree with Seroquel, Zyprexa, or Risperidone. And I tried the mood stabilizer valproic acid, but it made me terribly anxious and anguished. Haven't tried Tegretol yet, but my doctor doesn't hold it up as a great choice. Things have been very hard for a very long time. Only now is my creativity starting to come back, but I have to contend with this chronic pain limiting what I do. I have muscular issues that threaten my writing, like wrists getting easily tired and hands hurting, neck pain and occasionally squeezing feelings in my arms, legs, and feet. I don't know what's up there. It's one of those things doctors haven't helped me with. Had some physiotherapy and that helped some with the hands. This kind of thing is very often on my mind, to the point where I wonder if the anxiety over it is making it worse - but I don't want to get into a self-blaming mode. I'm looking into doing Taoist Tai Chi (it's much more reasonably priced than yoga, it's a volunteer club, I felt comfortable going in there the other day and talking to a volunteer - I've felt uncomfortable with the culture of yoga classes, the expense, and the whole professional yoga teacher thing), I walk a fair bit, I did some swimming and aquasize yesterday, and I try to eat healthy (avoid fast food and deep fried food, only drink water or juice except when having a rare treat like a virgin margarita or a chai latte, hardly ever ingest caffeine, eat lots of fruit and try to get what vegetables I can, go for whole grains, skim milk, never have potato chips, just occasional tortillas, and I like baked chips a lot better anyways). I haven't been a vegan for years, so now I eat moderate amounts of meat and dairy, but never more than one meal involving meat per day, and often I skip days. It's a hard trade-off, because when I was a vegan I never felt full, and I've found that a little bit of meat does help me feel more satisfied. Probably the worst thing I do is dessert sometimes, but I never get those crappy snack cakes or anything, and I try to eat no more than one junky thing in a day - and that includes sweet drinks (though I hate soft drinks now anyways). I like to eat special things for dessert, and won't just gobble anything from the convenience store. Often I will go for those funky organic granola bars, which, I confess, I don't treat as treats so much, even though I'm sure they have lots of sugar. So you can see, I try, but I'm not perfect. Since my Seroquel has been lowered, I don't feel like having late-night food binges - I used to have to eat or I'd feel so anxious I couldn't go to sleep. Also, my sleep itself has been very good - and the only other thing I'm on is lamotrigine, so I consider myself very lucky. I used to be on Wellbutrin, and I needed a sleeping pill every night, even with the Seroquel! That really sucked. I felt like I was being pulled into a coma every night. Now, I can't really say that the Seroquel helps me sleep - at least it doesn't put me out right away - but things are still fine in that department. Lately I've been turning my eyes back to my dreams, however far away they seem right now. I've had mentorships in the area of playwriting, was once invited to a summer retreat, have had one play produced, now contribute to an amateur radio drama on a campus community radio station, and am working on a TV series that I developed in a professional workshop (just wrote the pilot) but haven't tried to pitch yet, as I don't know how I'll be in the future. I just submitted a one-play to a festival of works by Canadian female playwrights, actually, and will be hearing back about it by the end of April. Otherwise, I like to watch TV and hang out with my boyfriend Mark. He loves me even when I'm manic. He even thinks I still make sense a lot of the time. Last time, he followed me around for as long as he could before needing some sleep, and was very respectful and open when he called the mobile crisis unit. For a change I didn't feel tricked or patronized. We sleep together every night, and I mean sleep together not as a euphemism for something else. He holds me, and it helps a lot. I hope one day to be able to sleep alone again, at least sometimes - we're moving into a 2 bedroom apartment at the beginning of May and having our own bedrooms - to know that I can be alone and be okay. I used to call him late at night when I was feeling upset to come over. I'm on social assistance disability, which sucks. I make about $900 CAD a month, which is enough for me to live on, especially since I only take the bus, but my worker recently found out I was moving in with Mark and tried to say we were common-law and he had to support me! He makes $900 a month too! (Has an IT business with some friends, and works part-time.) That was terribly stressful. I cried a lot and my worker's supervisor took pity on me, at least for six months. I've never really had a job I liked. I am so over the computer thing. I've been over it since around 2000, really. I love writing scripts and even talking about stories and drama, and wish I could do that for a living. Anyhow, I think that's enough! I'll be surprised if anyone reads this post the whole way through. frog
  13. Has anyone here been on a combo of just lithium and lamotrigine? If so, what blood levels of lithium did you have to maintain for good symptom control?
  14. ruttentud, did you feel like this before you took the Lamictal? I'm asking because I had a bad experience with an anticonvulsant (valproic acid - though personally I do well on generic Lamictal) and the FDA warns about a suicide risk for anticonvulsants.
  15. I take Seroquel at night. I have nights where I have trouble sleeping because I get so hot, and being hot makes me dizzy. I have to play this game all night where I pull the covers and sheets on and off and on and off. Anyone else have problems like this?
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