A Medication Change

In a previous post, I wrote that one should be extremely careful about changing medications when they are working for him. One of the dangers is that sometimes quitting a medication that is working permanently changes how one’s body responds to that med. Sometimes, a medication does not help when restarting it, despite having worked before. That is a great danger and is possibly part of the reason I have suffered this past year.

A couple years ago, I agitated for my doctor to remove one of my medications that I felt I didn’t need. I had reason to think this as a previous doctor had started me on it entirely because it fit his style of treatment rather than because I needed it. I had always wanted to get back off of that particular medication, but when I did, things went badly for me. Ever since the med change that took me off this medication, I have felt less stable. Having Bipolar Disorder, I find that my moods move back and forth between manic and depressed, despite having been stable earlier. My current doctor and I made some other changes back and forth, and I am now on the same medications I was on when I was doing fairly well, but I’m still not stable like I was before. It appears that having stopped the medication has permanently stopped it from working for me.

I should mention that there is a lot we don’t know about medications. Often times, we’re more guessing at what they do than knowing. At best, we have a general idea. What we do know is that they have excellent results much of the time. We also know that the side effects can be devastating. I am probably a good deal heavier than I would be without medications, which is bad. I’m not explosive with rage and suicidal thoughts which is good. Overall, the balancing of my mood is worth the weight gain, and recently, through exercise, I’ve been able to keep my weight stable anyway.

But like I mentioned, I am not as stable as I was, so I spoke with my doctor today and requested that we try a different mood stabilizer. My doctor recommended a different medication which may help based on my symptoms and other medical knowledge at her disposal. I hope it works. All I can do is hope, for now.

When trying a new medication, there is little we can do to ensure it works. In the end, trying a new medication is basically a roll of the dice. Sometimes it goes very very badly. But other times, it can bring someone back to normality after years of pain. We don’t yet have the technology to know ahead of trying it whether a medication will work. We dream of having the ability to do a blood test and having information from that to know what meds will work. For now, it’s harder than that.

I suppose this could be seen as a scary time. I, however, look at it as an exciting time. This new medication may bring me back to a place of stability that I haven’t seen in two years. That would be better than I can possibly describe. Some look at taking meds as a form of slavery or pain. I suppose that is one viewpoint, but I look at it as a possible way to have freedom back. The freedom to do as I choose, rather than being dragged around by a roller coaster of mood swings. This is a good thing.

I will keep you updated on whether this goes well for me. To know, fully well, if it works right for me will take a couple of months, but I should have some idea, at least,  within a week or two.

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