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I'm supposed to be on the usual mood stabilizer/antidepressant combo.

I lost my insurance, and with that the Depakote (that I didn't want to take anyway) and Wellbutrin. I never took any mood stabilizers before that (do have experience with ADs, but can't take those alone anymore because of the mixed states)

So my ex-pdoc switched me to an affordable AP/AD combo. Haldol and prozac. The old drugs. The cheap drugs.

Every time I look at any of the drug info pages for any of the mood stabilizers, it terrifies me. I so want to be out of this pit of mood swings and sorrow, but I'm so seriously afraid to take any of these drugs.

Do most of them have the black box warning like Depakote? Even if they don't, the side effect warnings are horrifying.

I'm sure it's normal and rational to have fear over something that could kill me without warning (organ failure), make my hair fall out, and make me even fatter than I already am. Not to mention the complete destruction of sexual function. But compared to how MI impairs my life, I don't know how rational my fear is. If anyone has been able to get over the initial "holy crap, this stuff sounds more dangerous than my mental illness" fear and had success taking their meds, could you maybe give me some words of support?

Right now the only option I have is haldol until I see a new Pdoc, which, being unemployed, I can't afford. (I can't even afford the sliding scale clinics for therapy....)

I'm just so scared to take these. I've had the prescriptions sitting in my purse for 3 months. I want help, but I can't get over the fear of the drugs. And I don't know where to turn to find a new pdoc/dif. prescriptions when I have NO money at all. (Seriously. The person I live with pays for the internet and most of everything else, otherwise I'd be homeless right now)

So if anyone's in the know/has been where I am right now...... I could really use your help. I want to get better, but I can't get over my fear.

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You ended up at the pdoc, and ultimately here at CB because your life is screwed up. The pdoc confirmed that your brain is screwed up. The only way to improve things is to take your prescribed medicines.

The very best of science has provided us with crazymeds. They are as good as man can make. Take them. Millions of lives have been saved and salvaged by them. Take your meds

Stop reading the PDR. It wasn't intended for laymen and obviously is not doing you any good. Take your meds.

You have only yourself to blame if your life doesn't improve. Take your meds.

a.m.

p.s. Take your meds. ;)

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Its's okay really. Everyone is scared at first thinking that medication is dangerous and unnatural. The websites that shout out not to take meds because they are evil have an effect everyone. Scare tactics from people you know make it even worse. I had a chinese pharamacist say to me that I should try and get off the meds. She believes more in Traditional Chinese Medicine, but can make more money as a pharmacist. My teenage cousins don't think I need psych meds and even my aunt thinks therapy is the answer and not meds. That aunt thinks another niece of hers is faking bipolar!?!? Give the meds a try and deal with the side effects as they come. I really do love my psych meds. I can be raging and taking the mood stability meds make a big difference. I had friends for years who I have not seen in the last four years. They see me now and I am a different person. They don't want to be my friend anymore. If I do not take my meds I am pychotic, raging, and suicidal and homicidal. Now I am losing my relatives too. I don't want to loose my life completely so I am med compliant as much as possible.

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Thanks, A.M.

I KNOW I need to do something, but the fear is too much. And I've never read the PDR (had to look it up to see what that stood for), just the info they give in the pamphlet when you receive your prescription. You know, the stuff you're *supposed* to read.

I don't trust my ex-pdoc. This is the same woman that said "antidepressants don't work for depression" and told me I needed to "just get over it". Apparently she also thought my debilitating migraines can be cured with a tylenol. Idiot.

I hope she loses her license.

Maybe if I read A.M.'s post over and over and over and over I'll be able to get the courage to fill the prescriptions. I hope so. I doubt it.

EDIT: I also have no pdoc to monitor me on Haldol if I start it to make sure the dosage is okay. And I only have one refill. So I'd have to just stop taking it in 2 months anyway. Frustrating.

Also, I'm already abnormally sensitive to the sun. I get an awful rash from it. I am going to try to find a doctor i can see for cheap at least once in a while, and maybe I can get something else. I don't need anything to make my time in the sun any more traumatic.

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Anyone can freak themselves out by reading the list of possible side effects. The thing is, that's all they are: possibilities. On average, most people will probably end up with a couple, but basically no one will end up with all, or even most, of them (not the least because usually some of them are contradictory). Even with the older meds, they're a little more likely to cause certain things, but if the scary things happened to more than a very minor number of people, they wouldn't still be used for anything. Most of those things happen to a fraction of a percent of people who take them, and that's on a bad day. The whole reason any of these meds are prescribed in the first place is that, used for the appropriate conditions, they generally help significantly more often than they cause problems.

It's extraordinarily unlikely that anything horrible will happen to you, and generally if it does, you stop the med, go back to whatever passes for "normal" for you, and then try something else, repeating until you find something that either doesn't have side effects for you or a small enough amount that you can live with it. I've tried a whole bunch of meds. Some of them didn't do much or just weren't useful enough. A couple of them sucked plenty, but I stopped them, survived, and got some insight for me and my doctors about what kinds of things do/don't work out for me. In the process, I've even found a couple things here and there that work quite well for me, which is sort of the point of the whole exercise.

I haven't tried it to be sure, but I bet I could go through the PI sheets or whatever sort of summary you get at your pharmacy for everything I've taken and discover that I have not had the vast majority of side effects listed, scary ones or otherwise, for things that fall under the broad category of "mood stabilizers" or anything else. I also bet that's true for the vast majority of people. Odds are, you'll live. If the med works for you, you'll even live better than you are now, and that has to be worth a shot, right?

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I can't bring myself to take the Haldol. Perhaps another drug, but not that.

I did finally find the gumption to get back into therapy though.

Three voice mail messages and numerous unanswered phone calls later, I've made no progress. Apparently the place that has affordable therapy doesn't believe in actually picking up their phone or helping people.

Great.

So much for that.

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My mom's been on Haldol for years. She's still alive and kickin'. And I'm not kidding about the kickin' part.

Take 'em! You'll feel better. You'd take asprin for a minor headache? Insulin if you had diabetes? You get the idea.

I hope you find a therapist soon. Does your Department of Human Services (Or whatever they call it in your area) do referrals? Ours does, even to private practices sometimes.

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I quit worrying about side effects long ago. Either they happen or they don't, it might be different for you than someone else, it might be tolerable, and you just might feel a hell of a lot better!

If you don't, then move on to something else. There's lots of old school options. I agree with the above, don't read the PI sheet. It's just there to scare you. Don't let it.

Keep working on the therapist's office. Maybe they're short-staffed <being annoyingly optimistic>... can you go in there in person and ask for an appt?

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Three voice mail messages and numerous unanswered phone calls later, I've made no progress. Apparently the place that has affordable therapy doesn't believe in actually picking up their phone or helping people.

Ask your family doctor to arrange a referral appointment. They will probably find it easier to get through and get you seen sooner. I had the same problem and was such a mess I couldn't seem to navigate my pdocs voicemail system at the time. ;)

a.m.

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i didn't realize that haldol was used as a mood stabilizer. we were told that it was an antipsychotic/tranquilizer. and the concern about it was that it could--at high doses and used for prolonged periods cause tardic dyskenesia. so for short term use it probably would not do any harm. it made us very tired but we were so far gone that that was fine because we couldn't hardly function anyway. i am sure that on lower doses it wouldn't be that debilitating. there are some drug companies that if you reach them directly can work out something where you get your meds for free. also having a case manager can sometimes be helpful for letting you know what services are available to you where you live. we attend a day treatment program. they have hooked us up with some pretty sweet services. i hope you are able to get what you need. don't give up. after a year of not taking meds we just got back from the pharmacy with prescriptions for celexa and trazadone. we feel just the same ambivalence that you do about meds but really you shouldn't have to continue to suffer the way you are if it can be allieviated.

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Haldol is scary. Tegretol is miserable according to most people, I've just been on it for twenty years- I guess maybe it has helped. I know, having your mood stabilized is kinda creepy. In a depressing way, but we do what we can one day at a time.

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You ended up at the pdoc, and ultimately here at CB because your life is screwed up. The pdoc confirmed that your brain is screwed up. The only way to improve things is to take your prescribed medicines.

Exactly.

My hubby used the possible side effects excuse as a way not to take meds for years. All it got him was suicidal and locked up.

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There is no way around it, being crazy sucks. The only way around it is through. (I think I read that off a sugar packet somewhere). But it's true. I went through a huge period where I was wondering who the heck I was. Was the real Natasha the girl on or off the drugs??? I hated the thought of having to take the drugs just to be even a little bit normal.

I've been as low as they go, bottom of the barrel and into the very depths of hell. I tried so many drugs and didnt take most of them because the idea of it disgusted me. (not to mention I had 5 voices in my head telling me I would kill them all if I took the meds and I was not keen on being a murderer, even if they were just voices)

Eventually I was institutionalized and after trying out a few different drugs, we found the right one for me and I've never felt better!!!! I feel so close to "normal" and it's amazing! I think one of the most important things is to be open to the meds. Give it a try.

Sure, there will always be the risk of side effects, but even a headache tablet warns of them, so why not give it a try? These drugs have been tried and tested through and through by geeky looking ppl in white lab coats so I reckon they must at least sort of know what they are doing. Besides, the meds are going to have a different reaction from person to person. So listening to what everybody says should only be a guideline. What works for one might not work for another.

Being poor sucks. It really does. And you are probably in no state to be looking for work either. I suggest you go have the script filled, take the meds (with any luck you'll feel betetr) and THEN try getting yourself employed while you are feeling better. THEN you get can get yourself a decent pdoc and hopefully the right help, advice and support.

Good Luck!

p.s. meds are not bad, we're lacking something in our brains, the meds just puts it back ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

So the pdoc was crap, the tdoc won't answer the phone, the meds are too scary...which part of recovery are your prepared to actually give a chance? Because at the moment, you seem to be flailing about with awfully high expectations and nothing put in towards things improving.

Turns out this Pdoc had a record, so yes, she's crap.

I finally got ahold of the tdoc and I'm going now.

And I'm taking new meds that don't worry me as much. At the time of the post, my options for meds were very limited. Now that the therapist FINALLY got back to me, a lot more is available through CFC.

Just because I'm bitching doesn't mean I'm throwing the baby out with the bath water.... Christ. But thanks for assuming that all I do is "flail about" with "no effort" put in. Because apparently leaving a message every 3 days for 2 weeks trying to get in touch with a therapist is nothing, as is trying to find a better drug.......................................................... It's called experiencing frustration and fear. I assume you've felt these things at some time as well. Why point the finger?

Anyway.....

So far I'm just on Abilify. So far so good. Akathesia is annoying but tolerable. If/when I crash and burn back to depression, I'll probably get topamax (hopefully kills my migraines and nothing else!) & wellbutrin xr too.

Here's to hope ;)

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I was terrified to go on meds.

Then I was terrified that I was going to lose my job, kids, friends, family etc.

Then I was terrified I was going to lose my life.

Then I became willing to let the professionals in because, of course, they are the ones that have studied for a really long time on these meds.

Not just any Pdoc, but a Pdoc that is helping you get better and better. Someone who is on the cutting edge of medications.

I am on Abilify too and I also experience some Akathesia. But it is better than not being able to get out of bed, and as a result, losing everyone and everything.

Yes, it sucks being mentally ill. It also sucks to have any other serious illness. It is treatable! I suspect that you could feel much, much better than you do now.

Going and staying on meds is not fun, but when your Pdoc finds the right ones for you, they will probably way outweigh the pain that you are in now.

I'm not trying to convince you that it is the thing to do... But I have done years of research and my own personal experience along with the experiences of many other people I know,

indicates that it is in my best interest to try the meds.

The costs are a bitch. I don't know what else to say about that. It is a matter of radical acceptance on my part.

You are going through a very normal part of this process and you will make the decisions yourself. It is good that you are asking questions. Do your research. Then make the decisions.

Just my opinion,

Sunshine Outside

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Turns out this Pdoc had a record, so yes, she's crap.

I finally got ahold of the tdoc and I'm going now.

And I'm taking new meds that don't worry me as much. At the time of the post, my options for meds were very limited. Now that the therapist FINALLY got back to me, a lot more is available through CFC.

Sorry I missed the topic the first time around. In retrospect I can't say I'm surprised that the pdoc wasn't much good for you - putting someone with bipolar, who had done well on Wellbutrin, on Prozac and Haldol doesn't strike me as a treatment plan with high odds of success.

As to the meds causing worry - the drug companies are required to disclose almost everything possible. Everything. Any reasonable person reading the full list of contraindications and side effects would be worried.

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