Thursday, October 23, 2008

The meds they are a changin'

You all know I'm on medication for depression. Right? I've mentioned in someone else's blog that we (my doctor and I) have been trying to figure out for years if I have Bipolar II disorder.

From the website link above: Bipolar Disorder has many variations. Bipolar II is one of them. You'll read here about those forms which do not have "mania" to make them stand out or easily recognizable. Depression is the main symptom, including especially sleeping too much, extreme fatigue, and lack of motivation. What makes bipolar depression different is the presence of something else as well. But that "something else" often does not look anything like mania: "hypomania", which you'll learn about here, can show up as huge sleep changes, irritability, agitation/anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. And finally, some people can have some bipolarity without any hypomania at all. Really. Wait a minute: isn't there concern about overdiagnosis of bipolar disorder? Yes, we'll talk about that too, after you've learned some basics.

Me again: It's really confusing and quite scary when it's first brought up, which for me was several years ago. Yes, several YEARS. If you read the information you'll understand why it takes so long to make any sort of diagnosis. Of course, I've been on anti-depressants for several years, and when I first started it I was trying to get off it in six months. Patience is required. Which sometimes I don't have a lot of.

But time has gone by, and more and more we (the team of my psychiatrist and I) have come to realize that I likely have Bipolar II. I sit here right now 'humming' and I was just about ready to smack my boss if I could reach her, which I can't because I'm at home. Thank goodness. And it's not normally like me. Last month, I was doing ten billion things a day, and not really tired.

Now, don't start with the what if's and do you really know's. Because I've gone through them for years. I'm finally comfortable with this diagnosis, or at least the possibility of this being my reality. And though I would miss the higher times, being on a medication that makes sense for me will be the best thing overall.

What I'm being put on is Lamictal. It's a scary drug in some senses, because one of the potential side effects is a rash that can kill you. No kidding. So you have to start really slowly. There's other possible side effects, of course, but many people have really good experiences with it, and I'm hoping I'll be one of them. No weight gain, get my sex drive back, etc. The other drugs for this are really no fun, and not sure what I'd do if I had to try something else. I guess I'd have to try some non-medication alternatives then...but not sure I believe in them.

So, cross your fingers for me.

Interesting: Wikipedia lists the following as treatments:
Treatments for Type 2 Bipolar:
Social rhythm therapy - Maintaining a regular daily schedule.
Interpersonal therapy - Acceptance of the illness.
Behavioral therapy - Limiting toxicants like alcohol, maintain a healthy body by exercising.
Cognitive Therapy - Relying on only positive, helpful thoughts.
Psycho Education - Learning about the disorder.
Light therapy - Light therapy used mainly for the depressive symptoms.
Family-focused therapy - The family acknowledges the disorder and helps


Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

getting a proper diagnosis and the right meds can be a difficult taks for both you and your team of doctors.. I suffered for years with Depression but I was one of the few that didn't get the Bipolar part( I now am happy again and although I have some rough days I don't feel the need to self-medicate/doctor order meds anymore).. Also my ex was diagnosed with Bipolar and Depression after much trial and error .. (on their part) to get him the right meds.. he had been on many but one that sticks in my mind was with Sulfur base in it and he had to have his blood work checked all the time to ensure there wasn't an overdose.. Unfortunatley most Anti-depressants do have mild to severe side effects.. I hope this all works out for you and you can get back to a somewhat normalcy..I will keep my fingers crossed for you..

laura b. said...

I imagine there is some relief in finally moving towards a diagnosis that feels like a fit..and in getting the proper meds.
Anyway....fingers crossed and thinking all good thoughts.

Tara said...

I too am keeping my fingers crossed for you about the meds. I hope they work out. If only all meds actually helped without any complications.

shine said...

i know how scary medication can be but i'm glad that u were brave enough to seek help. sounds like u have a handle on the situation--i'm sure that blogging and self reflection helps.

NoRegrets said...

Yes, Mrs. I know. Luckily I was ok the first go 'round. Hopefully this time it'll be ok too. This is I think the only one you don't have to get regular blood work for.

Thanks Laura and Tara!

And Shine, thanks for visiting!! I'm not sure what helps anymore, but I know I'm doing far.

M. Robert Turnage said...

Not sure if joking about depression is appropriate now, but all I could think of was Bipolar II: Electric Boogaloo.

Mel said...

I'm gonna hope for good results with the Lamictal.

*crossing all the crossables*

NoRegrets said...

MRT - I was hoping for a good joke, actually. Um, should I say whether yours is good or not? ;-)

Mel, thanks.

Squirrel said...

Good luck with the new meds. Fingers crossed for you. I've sometimes wondered about bipolar 2 as well.

NoRegrets said...

Thanks Sq... I think given the definition there could definitely be overdiagnosis - kinda like these days with kids and ADHD. It's hard.

Susan said...

Fingers crossed, dear.

Churlita said...

I hope they work with minimal side-effects. At least you were finally able to diagnose it.

MRT cracks me up.

Suzanne said...

Fingers crossed, and hope it helps. I agree with Laura B. - having a diagnosis can be such a relief.

NoRegrets said...

Susan, and toes?

Churlita, well, yes. It's odd though, I consider it less a diagnosis than an acceptance. huh.

Suzanne, yes...indeedydo.

Glamourpuss said...

Ah, well, of all the mood stabilisers I looked at, Lamictal was the only one that I was prepared to try. When I find a psychiatrist I don't think is a dickhead, I'll discuss it. Good luck with it and please let me know how it goes. Like you, I don't really want to give up the highs, but the lows are so awful it may be the right thing to do.


NoRegrets said...

yes, finding a good doctor is an important thing. mine is great - wish she did work across the pond! I'll write about how it goes...