Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org

Depakote 500 mg day 4. How am I supposed to feel on this mood stabilizer stuff? When can I work?


Recommended Posts

I have had problems keeping a job for years due to---I guess---being bipolar I.

About 10 days ago, I presented to a psych for anxiety attacks. The reason for the anxiety attacks was due to a month of rockiness in my nearly 8 year marriage AND for getting suddenly fired from my dream job after only 5 months the day before our visit. While sitting in his nice relaxing office, I felt like unloading some shit, and figured it wouldn't hurt to say how crushed I was that I have this education and training and couldn't keep it together for the sake of a job in the last 7 years. Some of this work frustration I actually blamed my husband for.

Even though I in the preceding days felt like I was in a collapsed mine gasping for air with weighted rocks on me, he seemed to be more interested in my problems being able to work. I was shocked that day that instead of getting a Xanax or Valium Rx my doc said, "Let's wait---I'm thinking mood disorder." (He headed up the emergency facility at the hospital affiliated with the medical school for 15 years, so I'm trusting of him until given a reason not to.)

I think the giveaway for this psych's diagnosis was that I expressed having overwhelming emotions of confidence in my abilities to achieve, then a disappointment in myself at not being able to pull it off, then becoming very socially avoidant and lacking in confidence. At this point, to compensate for my confidence taking a dump, I start into these OCD issues as a means to try to insulate me from mistakes as something I think is "getting organized." These systems of saving the day eventually become more important than solving the problem, and I can see I'm being OCD about a stupid index in a file being perfect, and I totally acknowledge it's not a winning strategy, then I get even less confident. I believe the feelings wanting me to achieve and compete are the manifestation of manic symptoms and the lack of confidence and feeling I cannot perform at work (after the fall, so to speak) are the manifestation of depressive symptoms. And yes, there is a mixed state wherein I feel confused and unfocused, yet extremely alert, distractable and negative about myself too (as if I'm on waaaay too much coffee and cannot think due to spinning). I believe this mixed state was an anxiety over personal life stress, never as mental illness. I actually was never completely sure others didn't feel this spinning too but were able to ignore it.

Because of my feelings of confidence then crash being cyclical, I assumed they were just responses to good and bad life events ,wherein a good thing happens and you're happy, and then a bad thing happens and you're depressed. I pretty much never in a million years could believe I would be diagnosed as bipolar. At age 37 and a post grad degree in a competitive area, since graduating, I've worked at about 10 jobs never for more than a year and some as little as 10 weeks. But I also had 2 kids during that time and stress in marriage, so it was never really that obvious to me what I have.

People are always shocked to know how lacking of confidence I am since I'm otherwise very controlled about my demeanor, mannerisms and appearance.

But honestly, despite being shocked, I'm relieved. I am positive I am bipolar so I'm ok with doing what it takes to get me functioning again.

On day 2 of the evaluation visit, he prescribed Depakote 500 mg ER and ordered a baseline blood test to be done the morning before I started using the Depakote (he explained such to have "sedating" side effects). Also a blood test to be done within the week to see effects on the med.

Thanks for listening to the preface, and here is my question:

First, I wonder how I'm supposed to feel on day 4 of this med. I think it's starting to effect me but I'm not 100% sure. If it matters I'm female and weigh about 120 lbs. Also the psychiatrist said I would be taking one pill a day at night (the ER, not the EC, version), but in fact the pharmacy gave me a pink pill (EC). I realize now I should be taking what they gave me 2x a day. (I'll call the pharmacy on the next business day to make sure they gave me what I was prescribed; until then I'll use this pink pill twice a day as described on the bottle.)

Second, how long until I can work again? I'm afraid I'm going to wither and die if I cannot work, earn some money and make some kinda contribution. My confidence is well under the toilet and my husband is shaky to say the least. He's not 100% sure I'll ever even be able to work again. I'm not sure I could even be a cashier at the gas station at the moment. Anyway, I really want to return to my core area, though I realize the mania probably contributed to my connection with that field. Although I may take an increased interest in housework and Pokemon with my preschooler and my Kindergartner, I'm not convinced I'm cut out to be a stay at home mom. Or maybe Depakote will turn me into one. Ha ha ha. Anyway, my doctor has been---I feel---purposefully vague in how long this could be and he told me do not apply for any jobs at this point. He cannot create any expectations so he says nothing. Any one have any idea, or have experiences to share?

Thanks anyone for contributing your input, or sharing your experience. I searched back posts for about 8 pages worth and thought I'd ask this after reading stuff not entirely on point. PS it's killing me not to go back and continue to re-edit for clarity, commas, and break up long sentences but that's my perfectionism needing to get shut up so I'm going to submit this post as is. Ha!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, you win the award for the longest most coherent introduction! Eminently readable. :)

Welcome!

Your doctor sounds like a very sharp cookie for putting all the peices together so quickly. FWIW, it sounds consistent for bipolar disorder, to me.

Med start ups and changes are seldom fun, to be honest. You will feel dopey for a while, and with time you will adjust to the med and it will be less noticeable. I haven't used Depakote, but this is pretty much true for any psych med. ;)

Will you ever work again? Maybe, maybe not. Given your persistence, and that you haven't had a big meltdown, I would think that once you get stable you probably will. This is something to discuss with your hubby, pdoc and therapist. You should also discuss whether a less stressful type job would best. I would strongly encourage you to talk with your pdoc about finding a therapist. Especially since you are in the 'get well' mode.

When should you go back to work? Again, something to talk with your pdoc, hubby etc. Give yourself time to get used to the meds, and also to get over the shock of getting an MI diagnosis. Better to get stable and succeed, than to push on and overwhelm yourself. It might take a few weeks, or a few months.

Oh, I have a lot of links pinned at the top of the Bipolar Forum. I strongly recommend "The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" by Miklowitz. About $13 in the bookstores.

Good luck, a.m.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Ok update after my 3rd week on the Depakote. 1000mg a day.

I'm told my mood will at some day be stable, meaning... either (1) not manic or (2) controlled manic. I am told I cannot work, and that means no $$ for summer. That means I get to cook and clean after every meal because there's nothing in the budget for dining out or cable tv. Oh well, I guess since I'm not working housework will be a real super duper treat!

And I don't feel much different, maybe a little more focused while cleaning the house in 4 hr spurts. Less likely to wander over to another room and add more work to the pile. But then I feel depressed in 2 second intense spurts then I'm ok several hours a week. I still have ideas and more and more ideas and feel restless, just not as much. And I have the munchies which I didn't used to get. And I'm way more likely to be knocked out tired at 8:00 p.m. than without Depakote.

That's it, my 3 weeks on Depakote after dx of bipolar.

Based on your advice, I bought the book. It's now $20 at Borders. I had to laugh because it's written almost as if its audience is Ph.D.'s and not crazy people. I could make a fortune by breaking down a 2 sentence paragraph into seven shorter sentences without infringing upon a single copyright. Ha ha ha ha ha.

Thanks for your response and everyone who's remotely interested in life on Depakote.

Will you ever work again? Maybe, maybe not. Given your persistence, and that you haven't had a big meltdown, I would think that once you get stable you probably will. This is something to discuss with your hubby, pdoc and therapist. You should also discuss whether a less stressful type job would best. I would strongly encourage you to talk with your pdoc about finding a therapist. Especially since you are in the 'get well' mode.

When should you go back to work? Again, something to talk with your pdoc, hubby etc. Give yourself time to get used to the meds, and also to get over the shock of getting an MI diagnosis. Better to get stable and succeed, than to push on and overwhelm yourself. It might take a few weeks, or a few months.

Oh, I have a lot of links pinned at the top of the Bipolar Forum. I strongly recommend "The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" by Miklowitz. About $13 in the bookstores.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...