I suppose it’s about time I give another update on the med change. I previously wrote about the situation here and here. Last wrote, things were going rather poorly, but I had stressed that this doesn’t mean the change would fail. due to the nature of the new med, I had to start it extremely slowly, meaning that for a time, I was on such as low dose as to not be therapeutic at all. Basically, I was a person with Bipolar Disorder, without a mood stabilizer for a time.
As my dose has approached the target level (as it did this week), I find myself coming back to normal. The struggles I’ve gone through recently have been more or less baseline for me. Of course, the goal of the med change was to improve the baseline, but we’re getting there. If nothing else, one of the effects of the medication is that I lost weight. That’s not so much an effect as the removal of the side effect of the previous med. The one I used to take made me crave food whether or not I was hungry. I was starting to get pretty heavy, especially after I quit smoking. Now that I don’t have that effect on my eating, my weight has gone down rather significantly in the last two months, given that I was too occupied to focus on it.
My doctor left me with plenty of room to increase the dose, so if needed I can increase the medication to potentially see much better effects, but I don’t think I will need to. I write this mostly to give hope to those going through a tough med change. Often it causes great suffering at first, but later it can lead to better things than you’ve ever had before.
As I met with my doctor today, I discussed my mania with her. She suggested that I am overly quick to assume that my energy is manic. I certainly seem quite energetic and giddy a lot, and I’ve assumed that that was my illness and my “true” self is rather serious and somber. Maybe it’s the other way around. Perhaps, my normal self is giddy and excitable and all over the place and it’s the illness that makes me all somber and overly serious. It’s very hard for me to know for sure, because unlike most with mental illness, I’ve suffered from it for nearly my entire life. Certainly as long as I can remember. Most have at least until mid teens to be healthy before they develop the disease. They have a better picture of the true baseline.
So I work to find my true self behind the illness. Perhaps just like a normal person, I have normal overly serious moods and normal overly excited moods. Maybe not all the things I think are broken about me are actually broken.
I do have actual depression and actual mania. My actual depression is deep enough that I sometimes find it impossible to get out of bed. Another sign of depression was the lack of posting on this blog for almost all of December. Some have suggested that my actual mania consists of my irritability. I can get extremely irritable and angry with the whole world for no reason at all. That’s mania.
So that’s a lot of good news for today. I know that I’m stabilizing with the meds, that I’m losing weight, and that I’m not quite as crazy as I thought. I’ll take it.