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Trying everything I can, not sure if I'm getting anywhere


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Hi,

 

New to the site, this is my first post.  I'm an undergrad sociology student in Canada.  I've been working on my undergrad for 9 years and I am so close.  I have 96 out of 120 credits that I need.  Every day I feel like I'm pounding my head into a wall.  I've been in the mental health system since I was 7 years old.  I have so many different supports that I use, but at the same time I feel useless and pathetic.  I am currently working on an assignment that is 5 weeks overdue.  Classes are already over for the term but I have something like 12 assignments of varying lengths to finish.  I have very understanding profs who will mark everything whenever I get it in, but all my diagnoses and medications and supports just make things difficult.  I spend my parents money to see an adhd coach/mentor as often as I can because its essentially the only time I get my work done.  Every week I see her and I get so much done, and I feel so confident afterwards, but then, I sit in front of my computer and I either start or don't and I keep getting stuck.  I came home today sure i was going to finish this assignment tonight, and now I'm doubting I'll ever get it done.  Every week I say I'm going to get so much done and I end up just sleeping. 

I also work in retail and I barely function well enough to get to work, even though I'm good at my job. 

My self care and activities of daily life, as I learned they are called today, are horrific.  I shower maybe once every two weeks if I'm lucky, I brush my teeth about once a month.  I haven't done laundry in about 3 months, and I end up just rewearing the same dirty clothes.  

 

I found this forum today while trying to find resources to help convince me that going to shave my beard is a helpful self care activity instead of a waste of time and an avoidance tactic, and I am super impressed with this board.  

I still have no idea how I'm ever going to finish school because I barely do any work and I start new courses in may.  my bipolar depression has been awful because I feel useless and pathetic, but then I hope to get hypomanic when I take my adhd pills so that I can actually get shit done.  I'm constantly tired and I use sleep as my number one avoidance tactic.  

Essentially I feel like a complete fuck up who's never going to accomplish anything except when I don't

 

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I can relate. I've had times when my mental illness would flare up at university, and I'd find it hard to complete assignments. I'm sorry your BP precludes you from taking ADHD meds. Have you tried guanfacine, a non-stimulant for ADHD?

What helped me was to concentrate on one assignment at a time. If I thought about it all, i would become overwhelmed and avoid. The key is to get started - even if it is writing a single sentence. Take a break then next time try writing 2 sentences. And so on. You are training yourself.  You can do this, it just takes some planning and avoiding time suckers like the television, video games, and the internet.

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My lamictal is 200 mg and my latuda is 120 mg just upped to 140.  I didn't take the 140 last night because i was feeling really sick and hadn't eaten essentiallly all day and latuda makes me feel sometimes like I have to throw up.

Jt07.  I've never heard of that drug. I live in Canada so it may not be available here.  I've tried straterra for my ADHD which is also a non stimulant but it doesn't really help me also it's not covered by my disability drug plan so it's super expensive.

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"I spend my parents money to see an adhd coach/mentor as often as I can because its essentially the only time I get my work done.  Every week I see her and I get so much done, and I feel so confident afterwards, "

This is interesting.  Why do you think this is?  What's the difference that increases your productivity so much?

I'm also curious about the Oppositional Defiant Disorder from childhood.  Was that ever re-assessed in an adult manner?

 

I'm also a bit confused by your medications:

"Meds (current): Biphentin (for ADHD), Clonazepam (as needed for panic attacks and hypomanic epsiodes), Cymbalta (for GAD), Lamotrigine (for Bipolar Depression), Latuda (for bipolar depression).  Vitamin D helps with energy and B12 because I'm a hypochondriac and afraid mine is low.  

Meds (past): Ritalin (made me a hyper sensitive skinny af nerd with no emotions), Dexedrine (helped quite a bit until I realized it made me hypomanic all the time and resulted in hypersexuality), Concerta (gave me panic attacks), Prozac (did nothing), Zoloft (did nothing), celexa (don't remember), effexor (thought it helped until I ended up super depressed and lying in bed for 8 months - worst withdrawal in history), Risperidone (eyebrow twitches and man boobs), Abilify (gained 40 pounds in six months), Trazadone (super restful sleep, still have a stash), Zopiclone (tried to cut myself open and saw tigers on walls and trees in the middle of the street).  Seroquel (fell asleep constantly in all places)."

Cymbalta can absolutely help with anxiety and even neuropathic pain.. but it can be problematic for those with Bipolar, causing anxiety and hypomania.  The Biphentin seems to be exactly the same as the Concerta that gave you issues -- with the main difference seeming to be that the majority of the medication is released in the morning (assuming that's when you take it); whereas, Concerta releases more of it's stuff later on.  Granted that's a very brief look on my part (it's not in the US).. but that makes me wonder if the differing results are timing based (aka when you took the other meds alongside it).  That, or the Biphentin dose is just much lower than when they gave you the Concerta.
 
When you were taking the Ritalin and Dexedrine, were you also taking the Prozac, Zoloft or Celexa at the same time?  I find it curious that you'd have ADHD and the medication would be stimulating rather than focusing.  If it was at the same time, the Prozac/Zoloft/Celexa could totally explain that and actually may have been the true cause of the hypomania.
 
Lamotrigine is awesome for BP, IMO. There's also a new version of Effexor called Prestiq (here), that has some pretty good improvements.  From what I've seen in person, people with BP tolerate Effexor and Prestiq easier than Cymbalta (ie: not getting hypomania/anxiety/agitation as much).  I do like Trazadone too.  I don't know how Remeron would affect you, but that's another goodie along the same lines.  Zopiclone seems to be a relative equivalent to Ambien here... hypnotic sleep meds... *shudder* I didn't get hallucinations, but I slept-drove my car into another car when my sleeping self got cold and decided to drive to the store to buy a space heater.  Fun...
 
Anyway, those are just my ponderings.  My spidy-sense is going off.  Think on it, and if anything resonates, feel free to share it with your team.
 
I hope things get better for you soon.  Don't give up on school.  I had to take an entire semester of Incompletes (aka finish later over the summer), and one class, I even took again with a different professor (but not enrolled), and had that grade put in for the Incomplete.  So things can work out.
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  • 2 weeks later...

I can definitely relate. I was a pretty high achieving student for half my time... and then I royally screwed up in University. 

I am also in Canada. I went to two different universities (on opposite sides of the country). I changed majors... and ran into a hell of a lot of trouble due to incorrect meds. Towards my 99th credit (counted, I did more... way more) or so I was diagnosed with ADHD. I graduated a 90 cred degree, and just applied to graduate my 120 credit degree, after dual diagnosis BPII / ADHD. It'd be a lot easier knowing beforehand, but somehow I got through and I think you can too. 

The first thing that helped me was getting accomodations. I was reluctant at first - as I was wary of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Counsellors and the like (after severe mania etc)... but it allowed me to write many exams solo (without others in the room).

Getting registered with Counselling and Disability Services at University - enabled me to write exams in Alternate Exams (by myself) and gave leniency regarding handing assignments in. 

 Maybe your ADHD mentor (or a friend) can be an accountability partner, even when you can't come in to see them (through email or text). Like maybe you can have the 5 most important tasks per week, and they can call or you can text/email to see where you are. Two things helped me a bit: A program called Tick Tick on Android and Iphone (and web) https://ticktick.com/ And also this: http://www.superiorlifestyletransformation.com/productivity/the-ivy-lee-method/ 

Also exercise... Sorry its easy to recommend things, but honestly I can't pinpoint exactly what helped me except the knowledge and acceptance that life would get better after school. The rest of it was a grind for me... I handed in 7 essays for one course at 4am, on the last day, and had an extension for the final assignment for my last two courses. Without such leniency... it'd be impossible. Although you said your profs are understanding which is really good. Always ask about expectations if they are unclear. I didn't ask because I was shy/nervous until my later years - which was a huge mistake. 

Also a school therapist (PhD) helped me out a lot.. they helped me actually realize I had ADHD and other issues and helped me accountability wise to an extent. 

TO recap: I'd get Letters of Accomodation, a school therapist, and meds, an Accountability partner, and choose a major I like -- day 1.

That's all I can think of. I think you have some of these... There's really no one silver bullet, but maybe meds need to change. I'm not sure. My heart goes out to you.

Edited by MNK99
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