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So how many of us have come off meds...


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Ok...I'm obviously a dumb ass!!  I was dx bipolar II in July 2005, was on Lamictal from July - Feb/Mar and convinced myself that I wasn't crazy enough to take the shitty med and Lamictal WAS a shitty med for me!  It made me sick...physically ill.  The migraines were coming at least once a week and at the end I was living in a sheltered state for fear of the MASSIVE panic attacks that would come out of NOWHERE.  Mind you, pdoc didn't think either of those were from the Lamictal.  Hey doc...I didn't have either of these shitty things PRE LAMICTAL!!!  Duh..... 

Well, needless to say I am crazier than ever.  I thought I was alright.  I thought I would/could be better off my meds than on.  The Lamictal really wasn't helping that much and the headaches and panic attacks were dibilitating (did I spell that right?  god my head is a mess right now.)  Anyway, pdoc seemed to be giving up on me.  Hell, maybe I just thought he was because I wanted him too.  I am heading back to pdoc and back to meds.  I am so upset right now.  I want a new brain...this one totally blows!!!!  This brain used to get me by...why isn't it working like it did before?  I went through a year long terminal illness with my 5 year old daughter.  She passed away and I (I, not my husband) along with attorneys fought the company that we KNOW killed her.  I got through all of this and I wasn't diagnosed with any mental illness...I was managing...I was strong...I was there for her.  How am I batshit crazy now??????  Why wasn't I batshit crazy then????   

After dx, I put restrictions on myself when it came to meds (side effects) and that made it very difficult for pdoc to get me to take anything.  I have an "undiagnosed" ED and I am terrified of gaining "any more" weight and I'm terrified of ANY sexual side effects.  I know that I have to get stable and that these side effect issues can't be my main focus, but I'm fucking crazy people!!!!  How in the hell do I, the crazy bitch that I am, take the med when I think I'm going to get every side effect?  Pdoc and husband think...you just take the med!!!  Yeah, right...live one damn day in my head and you will see the battle that rages in there!! 

I'm exhausted.  I want my head to just shut the hell up.  For once in my life...I just want silence in my head!!  I don't want to be consumed with all the shit that plays over and over in my head.  You're fine...no you're really, really bad...you are a good wife and mother...no you totally suck...just get with the program...others have it so much worse than you...you weak peice of shit...god i've gotten so fat...i've gained 24 pounds since i stopped taking my diet pills...it was the crazy pills that caused the gain...no it was you're own fat lazy, no willpower ass...how many calaries have I eaten today...how can I stop eating all together...shit you just ate half a bag of chips....well you fucked up the diet for TODAY....so now it's time for half a box of snack cakes...if i could lose three pounds a week...i would be xxx weight by xxx time!!!!!  God I just want it all to stop.  I just want to be normal.  Is that asking too fucking much!!!  I hate myself...

aimee

     

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Yep.  All that stuff swirling inside your head like a tornado full of debris.  Nothing ever stops.  It's exhausting.

No, it's not going to get any better left to it's devices.  The bipolar kindling theory.  Untreated the illness keeps getting worse and worse.

If we focus on possible side effects and not on the end goal, rejecting every med (because EVERY med has side effects) we will never get better.

Untreated, you will probably continue to get worse. Untreated, you statistically have about a 20% chance of committing suicide. Untreated, you and your family will be more and more miserable. 

The longer you wait, the longer it will take to get well.  It took years for you to reach this state, it may take months or a couple years to reach a comfortable and pleasant level again.  But it is possible.  If you take the meds.l

Yep, we prove this to ourselves every time we start feeling better.  I don't need these meds.  Not me.

Best to you,

A.M.

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Thank you A.M.  The sane part of me (whatever tiny bit of me that is) knows everything you said is 100% correct.  It's just getting the dominant crazy side of me to let go. 

I DO KNOW that I DO NOT want to go to the hospital and that's what the talk turned into on Wednesday night when I lost it with myself and hubby, so medication it is for me!!! 

I just never thought I was this bad....I just didn't see it coming and I think I am maybe mourning what I thought I was.  Hell, I don't even make sense at the moment. 

Anyway, thanks again for your voice of reason.  It really does help....

aimee

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I'm thinking about going off right now.  As freakin moody and out of control anxious as I was then.....I don't know....I just want to be myself again. I think Effexor sent me into a manic phase that essentially screwed my life up HARD Core. ;)

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Hubby would only go on meds when he ended up in the hospital...with about 7-10 years between total psychosis. He always wanted to drop meds because he missed the mania. Took a while for him to figure out what he was doing to himself and his family while he was untreated.

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I realize what a disaster I could become for my family and I can't do that to them.  Just the discussion of inpatient treatment TOTALLY freaked me out.  Hubby said you are going...I pleaded with him.  He got a hold of my pdoc, I have calmed down, and I'm going back to pdoc this week...for meds. 

If anything positive could have come from this last mental break down, it would be that my husband finally realized that he is going to have to be in this with me.  He has to be informed of what I have and what meds I take.  He just thought that I'd do it all.  I finally let him know that I am sick and I need help....and unfortunately for him he married a crazy person, but hopefully he realizes that he's in it with me.

I need to let go of the past..it's just so hard to admit that I can't do it on my own.  I thought I was handling the dx, but I was in total denial.

I am feeling better today.  I don't feel great about meds, but I feel realistic about my situation and the hell that I could cause myself and my family.  We'll see how long that lasts....

aimee

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i don't define myself as crazy...all those symptoms of bipolar are not crazy per se. it just depends where you take it. ..which leads me to think i shouldn't need pills...

so yes, i've tried going off the lithium with unpleasant results. my next move is to try and get some encouragement to go med-free from a pdoc.  ;)

my advice, take meds cause they keep you even and calm. not cuz you're "crazy". your brain just goes in hyper-drive. it's a terrible, ineffectual, unhealthy state. not a lack of judgement (perhaps a clouded one).

7

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I've been on and off the mood stablizer meds many times.  Kindling caught up with me at about 30.  The mania became mixed, and the depressions deeper.  Now at 35, I'm hoping that by continuously taking my meds, that a reversal of the untreated disorder's damage will occur (lithium can stimulate new grey matter in your brain).  I wish I could go back in time and talk some sense into thick headed 21 year old me about taking meds!

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i constantly argue with myself that i should not be on meds anymore, because for some reason i have that whole "the grass is greener on the otherside" thoughts going on, like i tend to selectivly only remember the good things i did before meds.

and tend to deny that i was suicidal, depressed, manic, cutting, throwing up all nasty things.

i know its hard to believe but there is actually a balance out there for u between meds and normal life and u will find it one day i promise, the journey getting there is just the part that sucks!

good luck 2 u!

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Hell, I'm an old pro at going off my meds.

For Wifezilla's hubby it was 7-10 years. For me it was 3-5 before I pulled my life down around my ears. I'd been in that cycle for the past 22 years.

I think part of it was denial about being Bipolar.

I'd be (briefly) medicated and doing fine, and my brain would start thinking "You're fine... you're not really Bipolar." "The meds are just a crutch" my brain says, "Plenty of people make it through life without meds. Are you weaker than them?" "These side effects suck. Lithium gives you the shakes so bad that you can't even eat a bowl of cereal because the spoon is empty by the time it gets to your mouth. Why would a healthy person put up with that?" My brain asks.

I carry a Calvin and Hobbes strip in my wallet. It's his internal dialog as he tries to talk himself into sledding down the hill from hell. ("You'll miss those trees... and that big rock. Besides, the lake is almost certainly iced over enough to hold your weight...") The last panel Calvin looks to us and says "My brain is trying to kill me." Whenever I open my wallet it's there, reminding me.

For some reason my brain is trying to kill me. It is insideous and patient. It whispers in my ear, telling me that I don't need my meds. It will even let me feel better, because who takes meds when they're well, right? Maybe the Bipolar is gone! Maybe I'm cured!

But it's sheer dumb luck that I'm still alive. Because I AM Bipolar, I DO have intensely manic episodes in which I engage in every risky behavior known to man. I do need my medications.

My meds are a wall. A guardian against a mental illness that will kill me. One in five of us who listen to that voice and stop our meds... dies.

That may all sound overly melodramatic, but if it keeps me alive I don't care. This go-around I've been on my meds longer than ever before (a year now), and as long as I've got Calvin reminding me I'll never stop again.

InfoNut

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I went off meds only a couple of months after starting them. I had no pdoc, no support whatsoever (fucking NHS and it's stupid system) and the cocktail I was on wasn't controlling much, or so I thought. Plus I wasn't really bipolar. Honest.

After ditching my meds, I went batshit. Classic BP1 psychotic mania that nearly led to me being sectioned.

Since then, I've stayed on my meds faithfully, though I do still get these evil urges to stop them, I know it's no good. Without meds, I am insane.

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Yeah, I am always told I have a good head on my shoulders.  The people who say

that don't realize it takes all my energy to appear as normal as possible.  I tried

the med free route, but ended up totally insane.  That was last summer.  I have

to keep reminding myself how bad it got w/o meds. 

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just wanna say i recently felt the need to stop my depakote.  i dont really need it right?  so talking my pdoc into saying ok, give it a try, i then proceeded to completely unravel.  i am now a mess, three weeks later.  i just took my first dose again today. 

how many times do i have to do this before i learn?

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It would seem I'm somehow distantly related to wifezilla's husband and Infonut.

Like lots of bipolars, I'm absolutely noncompliant.

My cycle tends to be 2-3 months on medication (After the titration period) until it becomes obvious I'm *still* not normal or happy in any way and now I have side effects, then 1-3 months of semi-normality off the medicine (Ok. Mania. Not normal, but not a mania people complain about. Mostly what I do is work 20 hours a day with the random stupid stunt.), then a horrible nosedive crash into the ground.

Then I stay completely f'ed up for about 2 months or so, hide for a week or two, go to a doctor, and restart the cycle.

I'm currently closing in on the later part of the unmedicated cycle.

You'd really think I'd have learned my lesson by now.

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I've been really grappling with this one the past year. The whole idea that at one point I was "fine" in my early 20s. Going off of my ridiculously low dose of Lithium recently taught me that I'm just not going to be "fine" without meds anymore. A horrible, wretched, frightening mixed state.

For me there's been this muddled, slow and saddening process of accepting the diagnosis since that. I've been seriously mourning a certain loss of innocence: I'm going to have to be on meds for the rest of my life and have to deal with sucky side effects; I'm going to have to take extra care of myself, way more than "normals"; I wonder if I'll ever be carefree again because there's always going to be the threat of another mood episode.

I think the hardest part is, having experienced the wonder of hypomania before, I know how it's possible to feel. Flying too close to the sun and whatnot.

After giving it a go without meds, I'd even prefer flatness to the horrible feeling of nothings-right-and-I-want-everything-to-just-end-now-now-now. But, I wonder how long it will be until I start to accept a level mood as something to enjoy in and of itself.

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Oh jeez been there done that. On average of three times a year I think "I'm okay...these meds are making me fat...I'll be FINE without them..." Give it a few days and I'm cleaning the house top to bottom, lusting after a variety of people, either speeding or being agoraphobic, cursing people out, crying hysterically, drinking everything in sight,  then checking for the cameras secretly imbedded in the bathroom fan. sigh... Stay on your meds Honey. I know it's hard but you can do it.

Lilie

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