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Lamictal: sanity or an immune system.


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New to this board but I've been "officially" one kind of crazy or another for years. I have been on Lamictal 300mg (actually taking meds almost every day) for almost 6yrs. I know that it works for sanity (the switch to generic landed me in the hospital, back to brand and I was okay). The problem is that I am constantly sick. I have a sinus infection, UTI, upper respiratory... always something. I was pretty sure that it was hypercondria but the doctor started culturing everything and I am getting new germs. The reason that I take crazy meds is to avoid the part where I lay in bed for a week (BP1). The rapid cycling is a big pain in the ass and the hallucinations suck but I can manage to avoid that if I don't give in to the urge to stay up for 5 days and don't let myself get overwhelmed. All of that coping stuff.

The thing is, I have been DX since the 90s and went on meds to be a stable parent. My kid's 10 and I am forever missing activities because I am so sick. I've decided to DC. My Pdoc is great and I had an appointment to talk to him about it but I was too sick to make the drive. I will reschedule and do this under doctor's care but I've just hit the wall. I bombed out of grad school, my career is non-existent and my marriage is rocky since he's doing everything with me in bed. For years we've pushed through it with ADD meds but now I am able to clearly articulate instructions before going back to bed.

Has anyone been through this and been able to recover their immune system?

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There aren't very many drugs that I can take. I lost a parent in a clinical trial 20 years ago and there are a couple of "generations" of drugs that are off limits. I had a bad reaction to Depakote and a really bad reaction to Geodon. SSRIs and SNRIs are okay at a very low dose for a few weeks but it always ends badly. As for the A1C, I went off of all meds for about 18mos (lost insurance) and lost quite a bit of weight. I started back on meds and the weight slowly piled back on, so I have had a couple of rounds of testing. Everything is normal except hormones but excess body fat = excess estrogen (chicken? egg?). I started taking D3 awhile ago and it helped regulate my period. 

 

As for now I feel gross but my sleep schedule has been so screwed up lately that I felt like this last week with my normal med routine. I get sick and sleep for days but I get up for food or the bathroom at random times. 2pm? 4am? I'm getting over the infection, so I'm not sleeping as much but now I'm all set to go to bed at 4pm and wake up at 1am. I know that I have to get my big 3 in order before any kind of med change will be effective (routine sleep, food and exercise). I'm just tired of always being sick, tired or crazy. I haven't been crazy in a few years, so it looks more and more appealing. I am able to take lithium and it puts me on track pretty quickly. I just don't like the side effects (can't recall exactly what now, it's been 6 years since I was on it) so we used it until Lamictal was at a high enough dose to start coming off of the lithium.

 

I'm sure that this is just one of those super crazy thoughts (seems like a common notion) but I sometimes wonder if the meds are actually doing anything. Logically (and historically) I realize that I need to be medicated in some way but there's that little imp in the back of my head that says "Don't you remember how much faster/smarter/greater/bigger/better you were before?!" I sometimes feel like those with BP1 deserve a freaking medal for taking meds that make you feel LESS awesome. But, I know that if I hit a mania the depression will suck soooo bad. In fact, there is NO medication that has kept me from that whole gravity thing. I've never had a nice dose of superwoman followed by a medicated normal. Even when I went in to the hospital still amazing (because, I was amazing enough to anticipate the need to be less amazing) I had to hit rock bottom and then crawl out to the slightly okay. I know that I'm being self-indulgent and rambling but it's hard to remember what amazing feels like. 

 

I told my daughter that I was going to be working on my medicine so that I wouldn't get sick and sleep so much and she said that she doesn't really remember those days. That was a punch in the gut. 

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I just wanted to update, in case there are other people who are experiencing this but lurk (like I did forever). I take brand Lamictal, 2 of the 150mg tablets and I have been breaking one of my tablets in half at night (225mg). There have been 2 or 3 nights that I forgot to take it because I told my husband to back off and let me take it when I feel like I need to take it. A couple of the mornings after I didn't take any I felt really bad and took half a tablet (75mg) with my morning meds (Vyvanse and Tramadol or Etodulac - pain meds for a back injury that has arthritis now). I am feeling better. I am sleeping at night. I have had a few days of hypomanic spurts and some of the times where I don't want to ever leave the house again ever ever. The important part is that I *knock wood* have not had an infection. I had a stuffy nose/respiratory thing but I took some OTC allergy meds (short acting, not even the daily stuff) and it has cleared up. Cranberry caplets and high doses of D3 (as usual) seem to be working and I was able to have some private time with Mr. Manic without a trip to the doctor the next day. 

 

I am scheduled to see a medical doctor tomorrow and have him test urine for any fledgling bacteria colonies and do some labs to check on hormones and everything else. I do have the foggy head and my writing has been awful (it's kinda what I do for a living ATM, not good) but I feel like I am getting used to this level and will stay here for awhile. When I am ready, I'll try just 1 tablet. 

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