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About Dahlia

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    Laguna Beach, California

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  1. I've been taking Lithium for my Bipolar II for about four months now. I'm happy to say that I feel really good. I was very hesitant to start taking medication, but I am glad I finally decided to. I only found the guts to start the Lithium through the outpouring of input, advice, and support I found here on crazyboards.org. With that being said, I am here again for some input and advice. While I feel stable and more well-adjusted than probably I've ever felt before on the Lithium, I have gained a considerable amount of weight. As you can imagine, gaining this weight has been quite upsetting for me. I wasn't thin to begin with, but I'd say I've put on between 15 - 20 pounds in just the past 3 months or so! Yikes, and it seems like it might be continuing. I have spoken to my psychiatrist about it and he is very understanding. He has suggested that perhaps I try taking Topamax instead. It's a mood stabilizer also prescribed for Bipolar, but it's known to have weight LOSS as a side effect. At first, I didn't really consider it much since I feel so good and stable on Lithium. Now, that my pants are getting tighter and I can't fit into some of my clothes, I'm starting to think more about Topamax. So, have any of you taken Topamax before? If so, what was your experience with it like?
  2. Yes, I did. I have been on it for 9 days now. I feel less depressed, but have had some trouble sleeping.
  3. Well, in my own personal emotional rollercoaster ride of a life, I'd say the textbook diagram looks pretty accurate. I'm diagnosed as Bipolar II, possibly Bipolar I. The diagram doesn't give any time reference that I could see. I'd be intrigued to know the months in terms of rapid cycling vs. non-rapid cycling. Thanks for sharing this.
  4. Your words hit a chord with me, deeply. I feel like I just read something from my own head: i feel like i want to go away again, disappear, hopefully die. then i won't have to deal with anything. i don't fucking know. stupid. sorry. i'm not sure what i'm doing.
  5. Thanks for commenting. Have you tried resizing your photos?

  6. you were born the day before me, no wonder you're so darn cool ;-)

  7. thank you... keep on rockin' to the beat of your own drummer :-)

  8. Luna R, Thank you for sharing. Glad to hear the side effects weren't so bad, because that's what scares me the most and has kept me from taking it so far. The shaking especially... I don't want to look like some elderly Parkinson's patient. I'm going to try it. Thanks for gving me the confidence to do so. Hope your studies are going well. ~Dahlia
  9. so, i've tried to upload several different photos, but every attempt has failed because "the file is too big". any suggestions from those of you who have successfully uploaded a photo?

  10. Lavender, Thank you so very much. I think you are right. It helps to hear these sentiments come from someone who has had their own experiences with this medication debacle. I've really only discussed any of this with my father, who is obviously extremely biased. Plus, his own father was a severe manic depressive who suffered from grand delusions and substance abuse. My dad's intense negative memories of my grandfather (whom i never met) haunt him to this day. He worries that I may escalate into someone as "psycho" as he remembers his father. After reading your post, I think I may schedule an appt. to see the therapist/counselor (not and MD) that i was seeing last year. i really liked her and we're even about the same age. also, she moved here from the same town where i moved here from. moreover, she's heard over a year's worth of my ramblings already and i feel has a pretty good understanding of me. she's seen my in the dark depths of depression as well as the other extremes of being happy-go-lucky. we have a lot in common with the giant exception that she is a therapist and i'm a mental health patient. I will most likely take my first Lithium pill today. I just got the prescription filled. First, I will continue reading and reflecting on these wonderful responses to my initial posting. Maybe, I'll read it to my pdoc over the phone. He gave me his cell number and told me to call him when I got the prescription filled. I just may do that now... Incidentally, I adore Lavender- great name ;-) ~Dahlia p.s. the song "start wearing purple" by gogol bordello just began playing on my internet radio station. i recommend it. check it out, when you've got the time:
  11. Stacia, Thank you so much for your kind and informative reply to my post! It is incredibly helpful and is basically what I was already feeling, written by somebody else, which validates my own thoughts. I appreciate the time and effort you put into your posting. I just returned home from the pharmacy with my prescription for Lithium filled. The bag is currently resting on my sofa, staring at me as I type this. I haven't taken out the bottle of pills yet. I'm probably going to take one before Thursday rolls around, but then I was thinking that it might be more appropriate to start taking Lithium for the very first time on April 1st... a new April Fools Day experience, huh? I can't express to you and all the other wonderful members who have replied to my post, how much your words have helped me. I wish I had found this site years ago! Just to think of all the wasted hours I've logged on facebook when I could have been getting much more valuable information here to help me be a more stable, healthy and well-balance person. I am smiling now with a new found sense of hope, direction and purpose. With the utmost gratitude... Dahlia
  12. Okay, thanks for letting me know Olga. I won't do it again. I wasn't aware that posting an entry in multiple forums was frowned upon. This is actually the first time I've ever written a post in any online forum, so let it be a new lesson learned.
  13. Yes, I can totally relate. I find it interesting that you attribute it to being hyper. In fact, I am so excited to hear someone else mention getting dressed/undressed as an issue for them. I haven't ever discussed it with anyone because it didn't really seem worth mentioning. I'm so glad that you did. Now I know that I'm not alone in my struggle with clothing. Gosh, it sounds so silly, but for my own peace of mind, I'm going to share a bit. In my experience, it's actually more difficult when I'm feeling depressed. Sometimes the task of picking out what to wear in the morning seems so daunting. I'll stand in front of closet almost paralyzed, struggling to figure out what to wear. Sometimes I'll get so frustrated with figuring out what clothes to put on that I'll just wear what I wore the day before. As for getting confused with putting things on or taking them off, I have definitely experienced that as well. This especially happens when I'm getting dressed due to the fact that my dresser is in a separate room from my closet. So, based on which room the item I need is, I can have my shirt and pants, but then have to go to the other room to get my underwear. I usually start at the closet and often find myself going back and forth half-dressed. It's ridiculous, but luckily not my biggest problem! You're not a dumbass. I am willing to bet almost everyone has experienced this, bipolar or not. I think we're just more sensitive and aware to notice such things since our behavior has been "diagnosed" with certain symptoms and such.
  14. is new here and welcomes your input and advice.

  15. I just now joined this site because I really need some feedback from someone who can relate to what I'm going through. I sat down in front of my computer over two hours ago to research the various medications my psychiatrist has suggested I start taking. Through my various Google searches for "personal experiences with ________ for depression", I stumbled upon this place. I've never encountered such an amazing wealth of information on these topics, which I find myself grappling with daily, on my own, inside my head. I'm actually feeling the most excited and hopeful I've felt in a long time as I sit here typing this. I've been severely depressed for months. It's not my first experience with this debilitating fog of misery, but I'd say it's my most severe. It's said that for those of us who seriously suffer from major depression that it gets worse as you get older. Well, for me that seems to be the case. Or perhaps it's just my warped perspective. That last sentence sums it up pretty well though: my perspective on things is completely warped, out-of-whack, and I know that my sense of judgement and the bulk of my mind's thoughts are not to be trusted. It's an unsettling feeling, but one I admitted to the shrink and he affirmed more confidently and definitively than probably anything else I said to him. I met with him two weeks ago after much coercion, pressure and downright bribery by my father. My dad is the only person in my life who I currently speak with that knows about my psychiatric history and unstable behavior. He's also financially able to pay for me to go see a psychiatrist as well as the meds, since I'm currently unemployed and don't have any health insurance. In fact, seeing as venting about this all is making me feel so much better already, it's worthwhile to say that for the first time in my life, my father refused to speak to me or see me for roughly 6 months from May 2009 until this past Fall. He said he wouldn't continue a relationship with me (his only child) until I agreed to go see a psychiatrist and take medication to control my manic-depressive tendencies. So, in October, I finally relented and went to see this shrink he found for me (based on a referral from a woman he dated). I had three appointments with this doctor, two in October and one in November. At our third meeting, which incidentally was the day after Thanksgiving and two days after the most lonely and depressing birthday I've ever had, I announced to him that I would no longer be needing his services. I had decided that I did not want to try any of the various prescription solutions he was offering. It was disconcerting to me for several different reasons. The first issue was that he kept suggesting different medications. First it was Lamictal, then he wanted me to try Pristiq. Then, he said that maybe Wellbutrin would be better. In the past, I had taken Zoloft. He said that he was not a fan of Zoloft and based on my last negative experiences with it, he wouldn't prescribe that for me at all. After I tried to convince him that I would be alright on my own without his help, he got a lot more pushy. I know I was obviously depressed and in a great state of emotional debilitation, unable to hide it through my general demeanor, body language and difficulty verbalizing my thoughts. He suggested meditation and other alternative therapies, but said "Are you sure you don't want to just take some free samples of Pristiq? It might just be that jumpstart you need?" "No, thanks," I said firmly. Meanwhile, inside my head I was thinking that there was no way in hell I'd take another anti-depressant ever again after what happened the last time in 2007. Plus, I had only been depressed for a bit over a month. I thought maybe I could pull out of it on my own. No, not really. I mean the thought crossed my mind, but that wasn't the dominant line of reasoning I had swirling around my mind. I wanted to die. I had decided that my on-and-off again bouts of incapacitating depression were inescapable. Moreover, I was just plain sick and tired of life. I had entertained thoughts of suicide since the eighth grade; I had made a few feeble attempts, but now I felt I was mature enough, desperate enough and all alone that I could actually go through with it. That was in November 2009, FOUR MONTHS AGO. It is now the end of March 2010. I can't believe it's almost April! Where have the past four months gone? I've checked out. While many of my symptoms and behaviors were reminiscent of past depressive episodes I've endured, these past months have been exceedingly more extreme. From time to time, I got myself to write about it in my journal. I seriously did not expect to be alive right now. I honestly didn't expect nor want to make it to 2010. But, here I am. Here I sit, in the glow of my iMac screen yet again, at three in the fucking morning. Hey, at least I'm being productive for once and doing something that might actually help me. December, January, and February were filled with more hours than I'd care to count. More hours of sleeping, laying in bed trying to sleep, and just plain staying in bed all day till two or three in the afternoon. I'd rationalize to myself that it was important for me to get outside and expose myself to at least an hour or two of sunlight. After all, it would make me feel better right? That was my impetus for getting out of bed and out of my tiny little cottage in the canyon. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the country according to the tourists who flock here and many of the residents. Yet, I could care less. I just yearned to end this existence altogether. I continuously researched suicide online and in books. From statistics to articles of successful suicides to people's failed attempts, I read as much as I could get myself to read about how I would be able to pull it off. I didn't want to just injure myself or end up in the hospital. This would not be the cliched "cry for help" we all hear about with the depressed and suicidal. There was no need to talk to anyone about this. I made certain that all of my intentions and plans were kept secret, so there wouldn't be any risk of someone interfering with my final escape. Rather than writing some sappy note of goodbyes, apologies and explanations, I opted for a straightforward and concise note with just a few sentences, followed by a list of three names and phone numbers of people to be contacted and informed of my passing. I put this same piece of paper in the same pitiful spot about three to four times a week. I would then prepare to end my life. It became this almost insipid routine after I'd drag myself out of bed. Yet, I obviously didn't go through with it. I did not carry out the plan as I intended. I did not cease to exist. I did not free myself from suffering. I did not unleash my soul from this world, this dimension of painful excperiences and hopelessness. Nope, I somehow managed to fall asleep and wake up under that same blue comforter day after depressing day. On March 17, this past St. Patrick's Day, I returned to that psychiatrist I'd bid farewell to on November 27th. Seeing him again, I was reminded of his movie star like qualities. If my memory serves me correctly, I think he's the sixth psychiatrist I've visited in the course of twenty-five or so years of mental health adventures. With others to base my comparison off of, I can say he's not you're typical shrink. Something about him reminds me of Alec Baldwin, particularly when I saw the film "It's Complicated" last week. On top of that, he has no problem orating monologues of seemingly unrelated information to fill the time of our session. Rather than discussing my life, my past, my behavior, psychology, pharmacology, etc. as most psychiatrists tend to do during their sessions with patients, he goes on about his own experiences and people he knows and has worked with. I find it interesting and am glad to take the focus off of myself and my own pathetic problems, but find it all a bit disconcerting somehow. Anyhow, regardless of what he said about Qi Gong, acupuncture, reincarnation and the Kabbalah (maybe he thinks that's what I want to hear about, especially after my receptive response to discussing meditation back in November), he finally got down to business in our final ten minutes or so. I had told him about my intense suicidal tendencies of the past few months and such. He first suggested Pristiq. I reminded him of my hesitancy to try another anti-depressant after I felt Zoloft (1996-97, 2005, and 2006-07) and Prozac (1994-95) had allowed me to behave in an overbearing, reckless way that had gotten me into trouble. To be accurate, it was mainly in 2005 and 2007 while taking Zoloft that this happened. Seeing as how I've written so much already, I'll save the details of what happened for another day perhaps. The point is that I'm scared to try medication again. Without dragging this post on for too much longer, as I am getting tired of typing (but realize that this written rambling could genuinely save my life), I'm going to attempt to wrap this all up and ask for your advice. During the spring and summer of 2007, while taking 100mg of Zoloft daily and a 50mg tablet of Trazodone for insomnia as needed (I think this amounted to a few nights per week), I managed to destroy my teaching career by getting convicted of a drug felony. This was caused by a complete lapse in sane judgement on my part. My behavior spiraled out of control. I went off the Zoloft on the recommendation of my criminal attorney. My psychiatrist at the time suggested that I might be Bipolar. He said that maybe I should try an anti-convulsant and some other drug to curb the side-effects. I freaked out. I abandoned my husaband and embarked on a crazed solo road trip around northern California. Looking back on this maddened time, I am pretty sure I was having a manic episode. I had an intense panic attack after days of driving all night without sleep, angry confontations with two different friends' boyfriends who both threatened me to get out of their homes, barely eating anything and sporadic arguments with my husband over the phone about how I wanted to break up. I checked myself into an emergency room around 4 a.m. that was just off the interstate. I was intending to drive north to Oregon to visit my ex-boyfriend, but was overcome with the feeling that I was having some kind of heart attack or some kind of severe medical problem. When I got checked in to the hospital, they gave did a bunch of tests, had me lay on a bed and call my father. The staff concluded that it was a panic attack and gave me two Valiums and told me to immediately go sleep in a nearby motel. To make this long story shorter, I got my husband to leave our house before I returned home. He took our beloved dog and left the state. I haven't seen him since. I ended up spending two months in the county jail and then begrudgingly moved in with my father, about 200 miles south of where I'd been living. I became severely depressed, with good reason. Amazingly, I was able to pull out of it on my own without the help of any medication. I did go see a therapist for a bit (as was ordered by the conditions of my probation), which helped. After about 6 months, I moved into a house with two other women my age. It was during this time that my dad says I became manic again. I'm not so sure, but as I said before, I know I can't really trust my own perceptions. I now live by myself about 20 miles south of where my dad lives. He's really my only family. My mother passed away from cervical cancer in 1999. I don't have any siblings. I've lost touch with most of my friends. I sabotaged and irrevocably ended my career as a teacher and I'm now on probation as a convicted felon for a marijuana charge. My divorce still hasn't been finalized and my estranged husband lives in a different time zone. According to my dad, this past spring and summer I was behaving inappropriately and was overly irritable, accusatory and hard to deal with. I lost my job. I got lots of traffic tickets. I am now in serious debt. I slept little and put thousands of miles on my Subaru. I went on numerous road trip adventures and traveled to lots of fun festivals, making many new friends, creating an amazing collaborative work of art for Burning Man and even managed to have an exciting insomniac boyfriend. Yet, in October, the tides changed- drastically. I have a prescription in my wallet. I haven't had it filled yet. It's for 300mg pills of Lithium. I read about an hour's worth of information about Lithium online last night. It totally freaks me out. I'm worried that it won't pull me out of this DEPRESSION. It has some horrid side effects too. Now you never know how one of these psycho-pharmaceuticals will affect you until you try it yourself, right? That's why these doctors often have you try different ones to see which medications work best for you. I admit that I am sensitive to the "stigma" attached with taking these drugs. That is why I am so glad that I stumbled upon this website and have spent the past few hours here. Regardless of the responses I get to this post, just writing it all down as been extremely cathartic, therapeutic and helpful. I haven't felt this good in a long time. So, what do you think? What should I do? Should I start taking the Lithium? * Any comments or advice is appreciated * Thank you for letting me vent
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