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Let's Have a Club: The Eternal Order of Those Impervious to Meds!


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So, I've tried (and please pardon my spelling):

Inipramine

Desipramine

Prozac

Zoloft

Vyvanse

Concerta

Stattera

Lamictal

Buspar

Trazadone

Xanax

Lamictal

Welbutrin

Latuda 

not to mention a lot of alcohol and lost most of 1993 and 1994 to a laundry list of illegal things that looks like Hunter S. Thompson dreamt it up.

Oh, and therapy. Lots and lots of therapy. Some therapists better than others.

Also- exercise and yoga and st.john's wort and b vitamins.

Pdoc doesn't want to do lithium because I'm too young and healthy and relatively functional, she says. She doesn't want to damn me to a life of kidney damage. I'm just vain and don't want to gain 60 pounds.

I've been bipolar since I was 14. I'm 40 now. None of these drugs works. The latuda kinda works- it cuts out the mania and the delusions, but nothing, nothing can touch the depression. Now I'm just depressed without being cranky (I have mixed states without Latuda). Instead of being extra-bitchy I walk around crying and bumping into things. I would really like to just not experience the depression. And I am close to giving up. 

What do you do when nothing works? ETC? A friend told me she just takes her meds because her boyfriend and family say they seem to make her better. Basically, she placates them by taking meds. Is that the best I have to hope for- that I just take my meds and at least everyone else is happy? I'm starting to wonder.

I'd kind of like my mania back, actually. It's the depression I'd like to kick in the ass, but apparently I have some powerful depression. I'm 99.9% convinced that I'm not really clinically depressed. Maybe I really am just a horrible, lazy, negative person. 

Where do I go from here?

Edited by girlwiththefarawayeyes
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There are still many other medications you could try.  Just off the top of my head: Tegretol, Topamax, Depakote,Trileptal, Geodon, Abilify, Risperdal.  Then there are also tons more AD's, like MAOI's and SNRI's.  I know it is terrible to keep trying meds and not feeling better, but it does take some people many years to find an effective cocktail. 

 

You could also try switching treatment providers or getting another professional's opinion if you do not think your current treatment is working.  The ECT board on here might have some useful threads to look at, too.

 

I hope you don't give up.  It is possible to feel better.  You might just be taking the scenic route to get there.

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what i really believe without a doubt is that you're not that "horrible, lazy, negative person" you think you are you just haven't found what works yet. What's most sensible is there to do is to stick with meds that actually help the depression. It may not be that a medication will work miraculously, but you can find a right coctail of them, that eliminates the symptoms. For instance you can still take Latuda if it helps and try to add another med that also helped although minimally, then with some effort it's possible to get ir right for anyone

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I have to agree that the problem is not about character -- you're neither horrible, negative, nor lazy -- at least not any more so than the average human being.

 

What would be a character issue would be ignoring your conditions, and clearly you don't ignore your illness, so that isn't the issue IMO.  I understand the feeling about 'placating others by having to meds' (or 'taking meds to placate others'), but then again, this is admitting there's a problem, which is a good thing.

 

Resistance to meds can be caused by many different factors -- the biology of your brain and the way your body eliminates drugs (liver/kidneys) come to my mind as common reasons.  Sometimes your sex will affect how your meds work, too (some women are not sensitive to Lamictal, for example).  You may also have conditions (or rational fears) that prevent you from taking certain meds (or in your case, your doc is the one fearful of lithium).  It's possible she is correct based on her own experiences with her patients and what she's read.

 

I'm also med resistant to pretty much anything besides APs, so I know the feeling.  Often it was a matter of simply raising the dose.

 

However, sounds like your brain is actually a bit sensitive to the Latuda.  I see it's the only antipsychotic on your laundry list.  You could talk to your doctor about trying something else, although most antipsychotics are more sedating than Latuda.  You definitely should tell the doctor it's making you depressed *and* bumping into things (the latter worries me a bit -- you could be overly sedated).

 

Given that you've been on meds for a while, you could give the med-go-round another spin.  14 (legal) meds over 20 years (if I have the timespan correct) isn't too many and I wouldn't be afraid of another visit to the med-go-round if I were in your shoes.

 

Lastly, if you're on herbals or any special vitamins, make sure the doc knows.  SJW is actually a med cocktail in and of itself.  (refer to http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/special_subjects/dietary_supplements/st._johns_wort.html for more info).  I haven't heard of B vitamins causing issues (at least at retail doses), but I have heard very bad stories with taking too much vitamin A, but those are just what I've heard.

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I totally hear you. I've tried so many meds it's not even funny.

At this point I don't even know what to do or what direction to take as far as meds go.

I'd like to be doing better than staying in bed all day and not sleeping at night. I just thnk I'm a lazy dumbass person.

I hope you find a solution to your med woes!!!!

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Does lithium really "damn you to a life of kidney damage"? I was under the impression that doses were much smaller today and therefore safer. Is that not really the case?

I guess the way I would put it is that lithium gives your kidneys a workout.  You need to drink lots and lots of water. I have kidney damage from illness and medication (not lithium). I think I may have had a rise of .1 creatinine (Sp.?) level after a couple of years. That is not very much.

 

I've taken a medication that damaged my kidneys, to the point it gave me a disease. And I lost 25% function in one kidney 25 years ago when I had the mother of all kidney infections. I love lithium, and fortunately I love to drink water as well.

 

If you have kidney disease, it is something you need to make sure your pdoc knows. For me, because of the low rise on my bloodtests, my pdoc and I thought it was worth it.

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Likeminded- I'm not overly sedated. That's one thing that's okay. It's more of the adhd-end of things for me. I tend to run into things and get bruised up a lot. Have no idea where I get them.

 

I think taking medication is actually one of my paranoid delusions. I'm afraid of meds altering me. Taking them is anxiety producing for me, so I'm resistant. A lot of those things on my list I'm not sure I took long enough to give them a chance. I just really, really don't like taking meds, but I've come to the conclusion that maybe it's a delusion that I have (that the meds are out to get me), and that it's something I need to work on.

 

I don't know what I'm going to do. The really heavy two weeks of depression seems to have passed for the moment. I think I'm going to try and be patient until my next scheduled appointment and really give the Latuda a chance. My goal this time: to not go off of a med until my pdoc tells me to. ;)

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Too young for Li at age 40?!?!?! Seriously? The first time I was put on Li, I was 17. I'm 54 now. I wasn't on it the entire time. I did stop it before/during pregnancy and when nursing. There were a few other years when I was off of it but mostly I've been on, not off. My kidneys are fine. Not even a smidgen of kidney damage. Sounds more to me that your pdoc either isn't comfortable prescribing it or they don't know what they're talking about. Either way, denying you the medication that might stop you from trying dozens more, isn't right. That's my opinion.

I've been doing the BP thing a hell of a long time. Were it not for Li, I don't know what I'd do. I'm not going to list all the meds I've tried for two reasons, this isn't a contest and thinking about it makes me feel bad. If your pdoc won't even let you have a trial of Li then if it were me, I'd be hunting for a new pdoc.

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Lithium helped me for awhile, for some reason it's not right now. But I was put on it at age 26 (last year). I didn't really know it was bad for your kidneys. I did try ECT at age 21. It didn't work for me and you can see how many meds I've been on in my signature. I know it's frustrating and I'm so sorry you have to go through it. It's not a character flaw, I promise.

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I can totally relate to being sure that you're not depressed and all the symptoms are explained by faults in your character. It's the depression telling you that. And it's completely false.

 

IRE lithium.. It seems like American doctors don't really like it. Here in Australia it's usually the first med tried when a dx of BP is made. I'm young, physically healthy and I take it. I don't think the long-term risks are that bad compared to the other options (Depakote, AAPs etc.)

 

I mean, your pdoc doesn't want to "damn you to a life of kidney damage" yet she prescribes AAPs. Isn't damning you to a life of diabetes, obesity or dyskinesia in her eyes?

 

http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/meds/lithium.html Read this, and maybe get a new doctor.

Edited by mcjimjam
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I have been thinking about switching p and tdocs because I don't feel like this is going anywhere anymore. My problem with doing this is that I've been charmed by the fact that they're very nice people. I genuinely enjoy visiting my pdoc. I like the tdoc too, but he's ready to start cutting down on my visits. They both seem to think I'm stable- or as stable as I'm going to get. I still have long episodes of feeling like sh**.

I've switched tdocs before because they pissed me off. One of them, in retrospect, was probably a mistake. She pissed me off because she said I was bipolar. Yeah, okay, she was actually right about that. So, going back to her is an option. My problem is that I live in an area where any kind of psychiatric care is very limited. You don't want to know how far I have to drive to visit these people. Switching therapists would mean an even longer drive.

So, that's just something I have to decide. I found the cbt people to be very helpful when I was going through issues that were coming from outside of me (husband, family, work), but not so much with my own internal stuff. Is talk therapy even useful for bipolar? Or is it useful if the meds aren't in play? The times when I've felt truly stable, I didn't feel like I needed to see a tdoc. The times I got to an office when I was really unstable, all I did was blather and talk sh** anyway. There was no sense to be made of it aside from calming me down a few notches. Maybe I just need to blow my cash on a really, really solid pdoc and the travel it will take to get to one.

Anyone else finding therapy useful/ not useful?

 

Also- jimjam, thank you for the link. At this point, I guess I don't consider li to be any scarier than any of the other stuff I've taken. I wonder, sometimes, if I'm kind of a strong personality and if my pdoc is holding back. I'm the one who started with the "no lithium" thing, and she's done nothing but back me up with more reasons. Does she just not want to argue with me? Not like I'm going to bite her or something. Maybe she's had patients who bit her in the past. ;) Whatever the case, I'm not feeling a whole lot of useful back-and-forth going here.

Edited by girlwiththefarawayeyes
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McJimJam, as far as I know, lithium is commonly prescribed in the US. I think that pdocs don't want to do blood tests. And for people who are on some kind of aide, the pdocs may be overburdened. That may be a genuine concern, just because of the sheer volume of tests that would come back.

 

That is just a guess, but as you have, I've noticed that some pdocs seem reluctant. But I notice many of them are supplied by the county or state.

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It took me from 1995 when the shit started hitting the fan, to about 2009 (?), for me to find the right cocktail with the right doses to stabilize me.  We tried some meds more than once because there were so many different cocktails we tried. 

 

I hope you find the right cocktail that helps you!

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So, basically, I'm right on time with this diagnosis thing? It's only been 26 years since my first manic episode and 21 years since I first went to a therapist. Wheee!

Crt- I never thought about that. I have insurance now, but I've been using the organization that does sliding scale out of convenience and habit (didn't always have this insurance). I'm sure they are completely overwrought. I've been thinking about changing providers. It would mean a longer drive, but it's only for a pdoc, so I'd only see him/her on occasion after the initial intake.

I would like someone to do the testing again...and then show me the damned results. The place I'm using now won't show me the assessment results which bugs me. It's like they're guarding some secret. I've told them that I feel like I didn't answer everything very honestly the first time and I'd like to try it- or something like it- again. I'm willing to pay, but they don't feel it's necessary. 

So, can I just call up a psychiatrist and saw I want an appointment or does my gp have to make a referral? I've never done a gp referral before- just walked into these poor people's office space and said I was going nuts.

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Some fill-in-the-dots thing that was sent away to an actual psychiatrist and then the results were given to the MSW. I don't know the name of the test. It's some kind of rating scale. Anyway, I'm told that it put me solidly in the ADHD plus major depression category, but right after that the MSW began suggesting the bipolar too. I think they started looking hard at the bipolar when I had such squirrilly reactions to any and all adhd meds. 

 

I have never actually seen anyone with a Dr. in front of or a PhD after their name for any of this stuff. Well, not since the early 90s, when I was still only being treated for major depression and alcohol dependence.

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You haven't been diagnosed by an MD? You should. I wouldn't trust anyone other than an experienced psychiatrist to diagnose any type of MI. You need a real Dx from a real psychiatrist. 

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