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Is it me or the meds?


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Hi!

I am really hating the differences I see between the way I was before, and the way I am now. I really want to know if the cognitive problems I am having now are because of the meds or because I'm BP.

I have been on meds for 1 1/2 years. In September, I sort of became unable to do what I needed to do. I didn't manage my money. I didn't pay the bills on time. I didn't feel like doing my job. (I am actually doing better with the job now, because it is no longer self-paced.) And I just don't care about it all anymore. I used to care that my bills were paid on time. I used to take pride in my good credit. Now it all doesn't matter to me. I don't really care about my house. The kids mess it all up and I just shrug my shoulders. I will make sure the kitchen is clean at least. But I will just gladly step over the rest of it and not worry. Basically I feel totally incompetent and it scares me. I don't feel like I let everything slide on purpose, because I am just lazy. It is just gettin worse and worse and worse. I had movies here that needed to go back to the video store for a few months. When I felt good enough to actually go return them, I thought that was real progress.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

It's like I block stuff out. Our fridge broke so I am borrowing my friend's dorm one. At the time I thought that I would figure something out when this month rolled around. My son asked me about it today. It was like waking from a dream. "Oh yeah, the fridge...." I am not really sure I am dealing with reality here. Oh, AND I had a guy come do something with the fridge last month and he told me if it didn't work to call him. I haven't. It's like I push it all out of my mind. I used to have a mental list running of the things I needed to do. And I used to have the desire to do them. I no longer have the desire.

Most of the time I don't feel depressed when all this is going on. I just feel like I am avoiding things. Because I can't deal with so much? UG! Please give me some input! Has this happened to anyone else? I mean, I managed okay for almost a year.

Thanks,

Sam

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I've had similar problems lately and I am not on a mood stabolizer yet.  I forgot about an appointment last week, just didn't show.  I have been forgetting bills.  Cell phone company called last night and i had to make a payment by ccard over the phone to avoid being cut off.  At work I am forgetting the door codes and passwords. 

I have no advice, but I can certainly relate.  I am hypomanic all the time.  Maybe it's making me focus on some things and forget others?  Who knows.

Dee

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Boy, do I know what you are going through!!!  Sounds like the meds thing is pretty new for you.  Do you feel stable at least?

It has been about 2 yrs/6mos for me to even begin to feel like I have any desire.  Actually, I found the right drug combo about 8 mos. ago.  It has been going slowly uphill from there.  Just recently has it been like I have woken up and I look around and I am ready to clean up the neglect around me.

I wrote out a list of all the things that I just haven't done.  I had a bag full of paperwork that I have finally cleaned out.  (Just need to find a way to keep it that way!)  Anyway, it can seem pretty daunting when I look at the list, but I can only do so much at a time and will pick out the easiest, most important things.

I know I will slip.  I would even love to take a week off of work to dive right into it!  Now, I just need to learn patience!

Yes, I think it could be the meds.  Once I went off my anti-psychotics, that's when I really started to feel better.  Just recently had to add  lower dose because I was a little too rush rush rush.  But, it acted differently this time and am happy with it (still a little "stoopid", but not concerned at the moment.  will probably go off of it once I am more balanced).  If you need an ap, then you need it.  Maybe you need to find the right one?  Mood stabilizer?  (I tend to hate the aps, though.)

Okay, so probably told you more than you wanted to know.  Just wanted to let you know that I have had the same problems (definitely late on bills - used to not be, room becomes disaster).

Oh, maybe its from taking sleeping pills?  Have added that recently and can wake up earlier.  (it all runs together after awhile)

Good luck and don't worry so much.  You have identified the problem.  You will find the solution!  (it took me so long because i tooks the meds because i was told to and never did any research until 8 mos in.  that's when you start identifying things and learning what is normal and what isn't and then of course this starts the meds-go-round.  it can be a long process.  but, it can be worked out)

Kathryn

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Thanks, you guys. I guess it would help to post what I am on, huh?

450mg Wellbutrin

20-40mg Lexapro

200mg Lamictal

900mg Lithium

I just added the Lithuim and I was directed to take 1350mg but that just didn't work.

Sam

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I'm only on Effexor and Seroquel.  Just tapered down to 75 mg of Effex and upped the seroquel due to mania, plus the odd valium, but the short-term memory crap has been going on for quite awhile.

I hear lithium can make you stupid at first, so maybe in your case it will pass when you adjust to it.  Hopefully anyways.

Who knows what my problem is.

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Sounds like good old fashioned depression to me.  God knows I'm there too.  I just spent 20 minutes clearing all the trash from on top of the vents so I could turn on the AC.  Yesterday i just sat around in my boxers and put up with the humidity because I couldn't bring myself to do even that.

Your Wellbutrin is already as high as it can go but you might want to look into something else that deals with NA to help out with executive functioning issues like that. Provigil or a real stim if they don't make you batshit could help.  Maybe swap the wellbutrin for Strattera.  Effexor or Cymbalta in place in of the lex maybe. 

SSRIs can make it easier to not give a shit, so the Lex may be counpounding things.

"Executive functioning" is the fancy term for what you're having trouble with if you lack the self control to make yourself get off your ass and deal with shit. It's often symptomatic of depression and is a hallmark of ADD.  Depression, in turn, can often makes you too depressed to give a shit that you can't get off your ass and deal with shit.

Anyway. Yeah. It's shitty.

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Has it gotten worse since starting Lithium?

As I went up with Risperdal I got stupider. I've come back down on the Risperdal, but even .25mg affects my memory a little. I thought my memory started coming back, but since starting Lithium a few days ago I feel a little stupider again. I went with my wife to some stores today and felt like a zombie being led around. I'm afraid of what will happen when I go higher but it could be temporary.

It sounds like you've been experiencing this since well before Lithium though and I think it may be partly due to depression along with drugs. No clear cut answer. Lexapro makes me a little lethargic and apathetic. When did you start Lexapro?

Have you tried herbs and relaxation techniques? (Just kidding, don't answer that.)

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Has it gotten worse since starting Lithium?

As I went up with Risperdal I got stupider. I've come back down on the Risperdal, but even .25mg affects my memory a little. I thought my memory started coming back, but since starting Lithium a few days ago I feel a little stupider again. I went with my wife to some stores today and felt like a zombie being led around. I'm afraid of what will happen when I go higher but it could be temporary.

It sounds like you've been experiencing this since well before Lithium though and I think it may be partly due to depression along with drugs. No clear cut answer. Lexapro makes me a little lethargic and apathetic. When did you start Lexapro?

Have you tried herbs and relaxation techniques? (Just kidding, don't answer that.)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Nah, it hasn't gotten worse with the Lithium. It WILL make you stupider, though. I guess I am as stupid as I can get because it hasn't affected me in that way more than anything else has. But I am sort of a klutzy, wacky weirdo anyway, so I doubt I would notice.

I think I also read that once you get to the correct level those type of side effects might lessen. You are starting out low, which is supposed to lessen the side effects. I started out at 1350mg. No, it wasn't fun!

Okay, I called and bugged the pharmacist (It occurs to me now that perhaps I need to keep some sort of drug record) and she said that I got my first Lex script late October. I kind of had a difficult time with the hurricanes. Even though I live in West Texas. Go figure.

When I first took 40mg of Lexapro, I was manic for a week! It was SO FUN! Looking back I realize I was a heartless bitch, but I had the BEST TIME! Being an ultradian cylcer, I had never experienced any type of sustained mania. I was bummed when it went away. So I am thinking Lexapro hypes me up more than brings me down.

You know, I read that herbs and relaxation techniques sentence and was just about to say something very unladylike!

Thanks for your response!

Sam

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I cared a lot less once these meds took hold, Lamictal and Zoloft that is. Which is good in that nothing has worked till now. I need something to stay awake, I'm not sure what yet. I don't know if I want stimulants, but I will see. At least I'm on the right track with the meds. Lamictal is king.

Your is on Monday, Dee's is on Monday, Mine is on Tuesday. Now I have to remember mine is on Tuesday and not Monday...

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I couldn't keep track of my appts, so I got a calendar thing I could keep with me to write stuff down on. And of course I never did. So someone gave me a Palm Pilot. I thought that was the answer! I used it for a few months, and it was great, but then I stopped. Then later I thought, "Wow, wouldn't it be cool if I had something I could write all my appts down on?" And I remembered I had the Palm Pilot. Which I still don't use. For THAT! It is WONDERFUL for keeping me company when I am bored. It has a solitaire game on it!

Well, I ditched all my kids. So today is the day to get up off my rear and do something productive. I already slept too late but I figured I was going to feel guilty about the time regardless since we had to "spring forward" today. Had a cup of coffee. I actually DID pick up the living room last night AND I vacuumed, so it could happen. It's only been, what? Six months?

Positive thoughts. Yeah whatever.

Sam

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"spring forward"

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I hate spring and I hate spring forward. To top it off I couldn't get to sleep for a long time last night and slept way later than I wanted to today. Now I'm all messed up. Bipolars are supposed to keep a normal sleep schedule but being bipolar you're almost guaranteed to have sleep problems and not get regular sleep. That just isn't right. Spring is terrible.

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Sam, you are describing me in classic moderate depressive mode.....it was like listening to a synopsis of so many years of my life.

um, since i am mdd, not bp, i found cbt helpful.  it forced me to be more organized in my thoughts & not beat myself up if i screwed up.  i've found i do much better with the carrot/one day at a time approach:  praise myself if i do ONE productive thing....do not lecture self about other stuff.  focus on one thing at a time.  give self reward for doing one good thing.  sometimes, i make a list, and tick things off as i go...it feel rewarding to me to see all those tick marks (and yes, stuff as small as 'load dishwasher' or 'change sheets' get on there....i break things down into small bites, so 'change sheets on bed' 'put sheets in washer' 'put wet sheets in dryer' 'put clean sheets in hall closet' would all be separate tasks, not lumped into one giant insurmountable task).

don't know if that would work for you, but it has helped me. i've even patted myself on the back for taking an armload of papers to the trash, or planting 6 bulbs.

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Sam, you are describing me in classic moderate depressive mode.....it was like listening to a synopsis of so many years of my life.

um, since i am mdd, not bp, i found cbt helpful.

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well, part of the idea is not to believe i have to complete everything on the list.  i just take random things that i think i would like to do/have to do that day, write 'em down, then pick something.  anything.  do it, tick it off.  do something else. tick that off. no time frames bcuz they make me feel really pressured.

then the next day, i write another one, if i want, or just keep going on the old one.

the point is not to complete the list, it's just to give myself visual feedback of my progress.

so i don't really use it the way normal people do, or the way professional organizers do.  it's not there to make more pressure, it's there to make me feel better.

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