Jump to content
CrazyBoards.org

Off meds...and feeling fine. What now?


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I apologize for the wall of text, but I don't know where else I could go without getting the "get to a doctor now" spiel.

I was diagnosed with bipolar when I was quite younger. I grew up with a family that drinks too much sometimes, but is otherwise, more or less, functional compared to a lot I've seen. I was on meds since third grade (I'm 23 now) after being diagnosed with type 1 bipolar; which the doctor arrived at after I started freaking out and having hallucinations during tough classes in high school.

This was an issue on and off up until about a year ago, when I decided to gradually wean myself off of them. Long story short, I'm off the meds now, and the only thing has changed is that I no longer have such intense negative emotions and instead feel very neutral. I still have hallucinations on occasion, but they're not very intense and I'm able to ignore them, and I had them on the meds anyways. They're actually less intense now.

I feel a flat affect, but my memories of my emotions are enough that I'm able to portray them convincingly to others, even though inside I'm not really feeling anything, positive or negative. To be quite honest, this is preferable to the emotional roller coaster ride I was on before while on the meds, when I used to worry about everything and take responsibility for everyone, but I still sometimes wish I could care about people like I used to. I assumed because of the bipolar I'd be a wreck off the meds, but on the contrary, I feel less emotions, both positive and negative, than I ever have.

I was on Seroquel, Risperdal, and Lamictal, and have been off of them for 9, 5, and 2 months, respectively (I don't remember the doses but the dose of Risperdal I know was 5 mg before I started reducing it over 4 or 5 months). I didn't go cold turkey on any of them.

I have a small, but close circle of friends who I can count on for support and (I hope) can count on me. I'm going to school part time, and getting good grades, but I'm not able to get a job, and have trouble finding employers who will hire me due to my lack of experience (I dress the part for interviews and don't say anything weird, despite the temptation to). I wish I could work, but at the same time, it's hard working up motivation to get a job, because I'm on government income that pays a similar amount, have a stable living/financial situation, and am quite cynical of society and the world in general and the direction it's heading. I'm trying to find a psychiatrist who can give me a second opinion since I think my current doctor is far too attached to me, but being solely on a government HMO makes it difficult.

So what now? Have I been misdiagnosed perhaps? The symptoms seem like mild paranoid schizophrenia, but I'm not sure. Could it be something else? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Both Manic-Depressive Illness and Psychosis can go into remission that lasts years. I would highly suggest you consult with your psychiatrist (or whoever prescribes you medication) and discuss this with them. Is it possible that everything has gone away? Yes, but not extremely likely. Is is possible you're in remission and could later relapse? Yes.

What people don't realize with illnesses like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, is that there is degeneration of certain areas of the brain. Without medication, it can get worse, thus worsening symptoms in the long run.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest JacquiB

Both Manic-Depressive Illness and Psychosis can go into remission that lasts years. I would highly suggest you consult with your psychiatrist (or whoever prescribes you medication) and discuss this with them. Is it possible that everything has gone away? Yes, but not extremely likely. Is is possible you're in remission and could later relapse? Yes.

What people don't realize with illnesses like schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, is that there is degeneration of certain areas of the brain. Without medication, it can get worse, thus worsening symptoms in the long run.

My husband has done this at least 3 times before (coming of all meds) the longest was 9months,then he would relapse. The doctor told us that everytime he relapses it will get worse and so far that has been true. Do talk to your doctor, my hubby would do well of meds but only because there was already a build up in his system and when that ran out he would become unwell. He has paranoid schizophrenia, severe personality disorder and drug/alcohol misuse/abuse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate your attempts to help, and I realize your intentions are good. Like I said, I'm seeking a second psychiatrist for another opinion, but my insurance makes it difficult. As it is, my current psychiatrist is not much help, perhaps because, subconsciously, he doesn't see me as an adult and still sees that third grade kid who walked into his office.

However, some food for thought (stop reading here if you don't want to hear another rant):

Somebody said my disease (be it bipolar or schizophrenia or whatever) may be in remission. But really, when I think about it…I can't think of a time when my “bipolar” was NOT caused by some obviously messed up interpersonal interaction. And regarding the remission without meds thing…I’ve been reducing these meds gradually over a year. The half life on most of these meds is less than two days. There can’t be much medication left in my system.

To Jacqui: I don't know if your husband weaned himself off the meds or went cold turkey, so I won't make assumptions...but I understand that you can't just "stop" meds. The process I've used to take myself off them has been very gradual and calculated. I understood that if there were problems, I would go back on them. There have been few problems that were not just because of my life.

Am I different? Of course I am. Am I different in a way that most people would consider mentally ill? Probably. But do I see that as a bad thing? Not particularly. I like being different. I’m happy for the most part right now. And I’ve accepted that suffering is a part of the human condition and doesn't necessarily need to be "fixed" with pills. And really, I don't think I've ever been unhappy for an invalid reason. I’ve got an alcoholic father, nobody will hire me, I’m gay and unable to find a gay man who understands me, wants a relationship, isn't a total man-wh*re, and isn’t totally messed up himself, the world is going to hell in a hand basket…who wouldn’t seem bipolar/schizophrenic/whatever with a situation like that?

And really, being off the meds, this is the first time ever where I feel like myself. Especially when I look at what the side effects. They made me eat tons, they drained me of energy, AND they created sexual dysfunction (something that, in our puritan, sexophobic society, is often overlooked). To me, this was my body saying, “What the heck are you putting in me? Whatever it is, it’s bad!”

I realize there are physiological causes for these side effects, and they're not "evil" or whatever – being in school for the medical field has taught me that. But that doesn’t necessarily mean what’s happening is healthy. On the contrary, if somebody could prove they weren’t on medications, and went to their doctor with these symptoms, I think that doctor would say that something is terribly wrong.

I realize some people need these meds, and that’s their decision, and I fully support that. But I understand what’s happening to me, and I think that psychiatrists who will tell me I am sick and don't think that most "normal" attitudes in our society are mental illness - i.e, thinking rap music is art (how anybody can think that looking at some of these lyrics is beyond my comprehension), encouraging underage girls to make themselves look like sexual objects (e.g, Miley Cyrus), and putting people in charge of our governments who lie, steal, cheat, and still stay in office, are people who may have a perspective that is somewhat misguided.

To me, the rise in mental illness we've seen over the past couple of years is primarily because our society is unwilling to admit that our most visible representatives (media, celebrities, politicians, etc.) have incredibly awful values and morals, and also just the fact that we're having a harder time than we used to understanding that life in the world is difficult - it always has been, and always will be, but we don't seem to be comfortable with that fact anymore. I'm not saying mental illness is a myth, or that part of it is not physiologically based, but I think that the line between a chemical imbalance and perfectly understandable conflict with life in general is a very thin one.

TLDR version: I'm going to try to find a second psychiatrist, but I'll take his/her advice with a grain of salt considering my situation. Thank you for your time, everyone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think if someone has been medicated since childhood, it's not unreasonable to try a period of time without meds. A lot of people do it. I always recommend staying with a psychiatrist if possible for monitoring if it all goes to hell (it often does).

In any case, Dan, I would just advise you to stay realistic about the likely outcomes, and keep a willingness to go back on meds if you need them.

And, only try it ONCE. If you decompensate off meds once, it is GONNA happen again, 99% likelihood. Continuing on and off meds really can worsen your illness.

But, good luck with the experiment and I hope it works out.

For me, I am glad I didn't have to go through that for myself. I am so freaking BP I don't question (OR resent) the meds. My coping skills and interpersonal relations are just fine: When I am on meds.

Anna

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also Dan, you said your problems start with "messed-up interpersonal interactions". You can never predict when or where that will happen. Even if somebody develops an MI in response to a stressful event, you can never predict when a stressful event will occur. Something to think about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Guest randomguest

If the original diagnosis is not correct, none of the rest of it is correct either. I am off all meds, and have been for 18 months. There is nothing wrong with me, that hasn't been "me" my whole life (5 decades). I continue seeing the shrink regularly, in case something goes wrong. And a very odd thing happened along the way. I don't view myself through the lens of illness. Pretty strange. I don't really know how all that happened - it is far too complex. But I do know, it is just not true that I need to take those meds. It almost appears I grew out of the problem. Most striking is I want to live. I have no idea whether this change is because I grew out of the problem, or the meds themselves caused the problem. And there is no one who believes me, except for the person I live with every day. But it is true. Not a fantasy of a crazy person.

randomguest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi randomguest. I'm glad this has been your experience, the feeling fine w/o meds, that is. It's possible for people to be misdiagnosed, but as far as I know, we don't grow out of bipolar. What can happen, though, is long periods where bipolar is not active. I'm a glad to hear you are still seeing a shrink. That's a smart move when discontinuing meds. Keep one handy is my suggestion. It can't hurt and if bipolar starts acting up, it will be a benefit to have easy access back into the psych system. Good luck. Although it is unlikely, maybe you really don't need meds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest randomguest

It's possible for people to be misdiagnosed, but as far as I know, we don't grow out of bipolar.

But you can grow out of the mood swings that accompany pre menopause. This is why I suspect, I grew out of it - and the diagnosis in the first place was not correct. I had a headache everyday for 12 years, until I grew out of it (passed through menopause). They poured brain drugs in me to prevent the headache, and then declared me Bipolar, and poured more brain drugs in me. The headache is gone. Perhaps, the Bipolar diagnosis was never correct in the first place?

No one believes me. There is no proof of Bipolar, or proof of it's absence. The same is true about the headaches. No proof. I always knew I was taking those meds to try and prevent that headache. No more headache - so perhaps I don't need those drugs? Apparently I don't. And no one believes me. Except the person I live with everyday.

Here's another weird twist. The medical problems I have today (physical, they have tests for) all trace back to those drugs.

I am not angry about this. Folks were just doing the best they knew how. The original poster was a child when placed on medication. A child with a developing brain. What if the diagnosis was never correct in the first place? That is all I am saying.

randomguest

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

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

×
×
  • Create New...