The first time I was medicated for Bipolar I, I was living in Las Vegas and I left shortly after. I didn’t really feel like the medications helped, but I was still on the lower dosages so the psychiatrist hadn’t had a chance to increase them to levels that would help me properly.
When I was in Las Vegas, I still had periods of mania and depression. When I was manic, I would gamble or shop, maybe even get in the car and drive five hours to the beach. I would be hypersexual and I’m quite surprised that I never contracted an STD or became pregnant.
When I would become depressed I would feel like I had the flu and would not want to get out of bed for a few days.
However, I had days of normalcy, too.
The bad thing about being unmedicated when I’m manic is that I do some dangerous things. When I drive, I drive fast or don’t pay attention to the road like I should. I married a man three days after meeting him in person and it led to a horrible experience. I took out $60k in private student loans (with my father as a co-signer, who has since passed away) that now amounts to over $100k, and none of that money was spent on school.
One thing that could’ve ended badly but ended up being the best thing in my life, was when my brother brought home his roommate from Phoenix. That roommate was Quay and we have now been married for five and a half years. However, we slept together on that first night, and then I stopped talking to him for almost a year. But then I just hopped on a Greyhound and within three weeks I was living with him in his ex-girlfriend’s house, I had a job in Phoenix, and we were moving into our own place a few months later.
A year later, we moved to Vermont, where Quay grew up, and I got and held a crap job at first, and left there only when I got one that offered me $30k a year with bonuses. I worked there seven months without medication or therapy until the working conditions became so horrible that I had a mental breakdown and ended up in a psych ward. Since then I have been seeing a psychiatrist. I started with a therapist, but once I was stable, that stopped. However, I got worse, and they sent me to another one. This one specializes in DBT therapy.
The medications I have been on over the last five years have been all over the place. Some I can’t take anymore because of side effects. Right now, I believe I’m overmedicated on the mood stabilizers, and my anti-depressant I have become immune to as it’s the same one I started with and I’m on the highest dosage recommended.
Mood stabilizers help push your mood down so you don’t become manic, and anti-depressants help keep your mood up. Mine are not in-sync or something because I spend 90% of my life not wanting to get out of bed, or shower, or take care of the pets, or clean my house. Before I was medicated, I could at least keep a job for three to six months if it was full time, and I wanted to do things outside of the house, and I took my dog for walks, and my house was cleaned on a regular basis.
What brought me to realize all of this is my therapist yesterday asked me what my manic episodes were like and I had to explain that I used to get happy and have energy, and now I get angry and irritable. She asked me why I was medicated then, and I came up with the best answer I could at the time, but I don’t think that I would do those dangerous things if I were to have the DBT therapy with her, plus my more stable life now having been married so long, having lived in our own home for so long, having health insurance for so long, etc. You know?
I still have to talk to more people I trust, family and friends and the like, but I think I want to come off my Bipolar meds, or at least reduce them.
Sorry this is such a long post, but this is an important decision and I need to make the right one so I can start feeling like less of a failure and more involved in my own life.