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Is it the bipolar disorder or the meds


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My wife has even noticed that I am not as bright as I was when we met.  It seeemd to really become noticeable when I started on the abilify, but I think I noticed it sooner, when I was just on AD's.  My memory used to be great and now it sucks.

Tommy

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Heya, Tommy, how long have you been on this cocktail?  It's possible it's a side effect that will pass with time.  Depakote was like that for me.

Another possibility is that when you were manic or hypomanic you seemed smarter because of the mania.  Even though we BPs often felt sharper and more creative when we were swinging like monkeys from the trees, I've found that since I've been on medication I've actually been more creative in measurable ways.  I no longer thrash around.  Recently I've picked up the flute again and am enjoying it more than when I was really good at it.  I've even started doing scales so my Bach is better!  And my creativity at work is definitely better.  All this is partly because the anxiety and pissed-offness is pretty much gone, but also because medication has made it possible to work through a lot of stuff in therapy.

I hope this passes for you.  Until then, remember how nice it is to be away from the dark side of BP, and explore ways you can use your brain in new ways.  You've got a new life, your brain is working differently than it used to, and that means you can exploit it in different ways.  I predict you'll find it quite interesting!

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Hmm, watercolors, firearms, watercolors, firearms, I wonder which is better? 

I can understand why your wife might think you're maybe not as, um, "exciting" as you used to be.  It's an adjustment.  And I think 2 months isn't that long when you're talking about cognitive side effects.  Another idea is to use the "check your meds" tool at aidsmeds.com.  You enter all your meds and it tells you whether there are any drug interactions.  It's possible something you added in December raised or lowered the abilify levels.  Always worth checking.

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Ah, the dreaded grapefruit interaction!  Now that I'm on lamictal and wellbutrin I can eat grapefruit again, which makes me happy.

If you have a bunch of moderate drug interactions and some of them affect the same drug you may have cumulative effects, too.  Or not.  I'm hardly a biochemist, I just like to talk about this stuff.  Anyhow I'm just glad you're doing better, even if life does seem a little unthrilling right now.

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Now my wife wants me to talk to pdoc again about my "severe memory lapses and cognitive loss".  She says the doc agreed we have to have only those side effects agreeable to both of us.  All this because I couldn't think of a word and I forgot to move some medicine from the dining table to a shelf.  It just doesn't seem that"severe" to me.

Tommy :embarassed:

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NARS,

My pshrink believes that if a medication isn't working for the whole family then it it is not working.  So my wife gets to exert her influence.  She is so into being smart that she actually joined MENSA (no offense intended to any MENSA members).  I think she'd actually rather have me smart and with a good memory and depressed than without the intellectual gifts.  Of course, she was calling me stupid long before the meds, so I don't know how much change she's actually observed.

Tommy

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I have to say that if my family had been around while I was getting onto meds, then switching from one to another, they'd have been panicked by the cognitive effects.  Being smart and witty and using one's wits to survive is who we are.  So I guess I can see where she's coming from.

It's hard for family to deal with this kind of stuff.  Not only do you have to deal with having a MI that changes your image of yourself, but she has to deal with a new idea of who you are and how you deal with the world.  Do you guys have a NAMI chapter nearby?  There's some excellent information available for families of people with BP.  Any good book on BP disorder usually has a section directed at families.  "Bipolar Disorder" by Frances Mondimore had a great chapter devoted to explaining both the disorder and it's treatment to families.  People also talk about the Biplar Survival Guide (I think) being extremely helpful for them and their families. 

I encourage you to speak up for yourself when you meet with the pdoc, and in the meantime try to get your wife to read up on the disease from the point of view of treatment.

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I just bookmarked this at Amazon the other day: Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder. Can't vouch for it; haven't read it. Looks like most of the readers' reviews were high, though.

At the same time, I also bookmarked The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide: What You and Your Family Need to Know. Again, I haven't read it, but I keep seeing people here refer to it favorably.

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Heya Tommy,

DH commented early on that he wasn't sure how he felt about "all this routine ncc says she needs."

This was with crappy therapist, but still.

Seriously.

Would she rather have you a bit absent-minded or wacked out of your gourd???

You have to do what's right for *you.*

And for me, I *know* that regular sleeping habits and quiet mornings, and sunlight, and short workdays, and fewer social situations, beats the hell out of me being all mixed and mean and scary.

Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide is an excellent, excellent book.  I carry it everywhere.  It is the *only* book in which I have done *all* the exercises.

And the only one I'm asking DH to read.  I thought he'd like personal stories better, like An Unquiet Mind or A Brilliant Madness.

But, when he started An Unquiet Mind, he said, "She's crazy."

Not.A.Good.Sign.

So I'm starting over with the good bits from BPSG.

And, BPSG is much, much less intimidating for a spouse than Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder. 

I think the latter is also fantastic, but very intense, and best for people like wifezilla who already know a lot about BP and buy in to being married to BP. 

Read Loving Someone.  It helped me see where DH is coming from, and maybe one day he'll be ready to read it himself.

In terms of treatment, what I said.  IMHO.

--ncc--

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6 of one, half dozen of the other. Well, maybe 8 of the other. I do think the meds play a little greater part, especially in my memory. I literally cannot think of words I need to say, I notice when I type I'll leave out complete words (or two or three). It's fragmented. I can't even remember the dogs' names usually, won't even mention how many times I call my kids the wrong names. Oops. But, yeah, when I was hypomanic/manic (jury's still out on that one), I think I just *felt* sharper, you know "I'm on top of the world, Ma!" kind of feeling. I know my husband would be CONSTANTLY frustrated because I couldn't remember where I left something. And I would just say "hey, I'm an artist, I'm flaky, get over it". Well, I did get the bills paid on time then, at least. Now I keep forgetting. Not good.

I need to get the Survival Guide. There's an ever-so-slight feeling that my husband thinks, hey, you seem better now, is it time to get off the meds? Nooottttt good at all. Because sometimes I wonder the same thing myself. No. no, no. Not going there. I know what would await me.

Sorry, didn't mean to write a book. Shouldn't have had so much coffee this morning!

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