Lithium

Posted: March 14, 2015 in Bipolar Disorder
Tags: , ,

After the week I had, and the 2 pretty rough periods of depression prior to it, I knew I had to see my doctor. I’ve been medicated for nearly 10 months now, and although they do help somewhat, the recent episodes are proof in themselves that it’s not entirely doing it’s job. I called on Thursday and was lucky to get an appointment for the very next day. 


Sitting in his office the next day, fidgeting and gazing around the room that looks nothing like a doctors office I now notice, I try to remain patient as he looks over my chart but inside I am bursting to talk! All of the feelings that have weighed me down all week are ready to spill out onto the ugly blue carpet. 

He stops reading the file, sits back and looks at me, thinking a minute before he starts to speak. Then the questions begin.  

Any periods of depression? Yes. 

Suicidal thoughts? Hesitantly, yes. 

Any high phases? Happy or angry? Yes, both. 

How are you sleeping? Fine, off and on. 

Any nightmares? Yes, periodically. 

How are your mood swings? Terrible. 

Explain!

And then it all comes pouring out of me. The frustration and agitation, the anger and upset, the amplified sounds. I spill it all as he scribbles onto scrap paper (maybe he cares about our environment?) as I talk. When I’m done he continues to scribble briefly, then places my file back on his desk and begins to talk meds. 

Seroquel increase from 200mg to 300mg for the next week- 100mg at 6PM then 200 at bedtime- followed by another increase after 1 week- 100mg in the morning, 100 at 6PM and 200 at bedtime. 

Effexor stays the same- 75mg in the morning and another same dosage at 5PM. 

Lithium was to be added to my cocktail at 300mg twice a day for the first week, then 400 twice a day after that. 

He wrote the prescription with strict instructions to come back in 2 weeks at which time I would have to go to the hospital and have some blood tests. I left his office for the 2 hour drive home, deep in thought much of the time. The new changes to my meds was a bit overwhelming but he knew what he was doing, right? If he was convinced this is what I needed to do then that’s what I would do. I stopped at the pharmacy on my way and had the prescription filled, receiving the same directions from the pharmacist as I had received from my doctor hours before, and was told if I had any questions not to hesitate to call. Attached to the paper bag filled with pills was information on each drug. 

When I reached home I sat back and started to read about the new drug that was supposed to keep my moods stable. The information contained in the several pages stapled together was startling. The side effects, which included weight gain, dizziness, drowsiness, increased thirst, and tremors didn’t sound too bad, and it did state that they should go away once my body adjusts to the medication. However, the more serious side effects that can occur was what scared me- fainting, severe dizziness, trouble breathing, seizures, irregular heartbeat. From there online research began which was even more terrifying- possible kidney damage or failure, severe reactions, and serious side effects associated with drug interactions. Was all of the risks really worth the desired outcome? 

My first dose was scheduled for an hour before bed. The trip to the doctor that day had been a long one and I was exhausted by 8PM. So, I popped my first lithium and waited an hour before taking my normal seroquel dose before bed. Before the hour had passed I could barely walk or talk. I remember taking my seroquel and getting a blanket from the chest in the hallway- and that is it! The remainder of the night is a complete blank! At 10:30AM today my mother awoke me from where I was asleep on the couch- 13.5 hours after I had passed out there. 

Even after so many hours of sleep I could barely pull myself to my feet and the first hour was a sleepy daze. The remained of the day was groggy, dizzy, lightheaded, and a little confused. My head felt “funny”- the best explanation I can find to describe how I felt the entire day. I felt awful and I hated it. It was then that I made a decision….

I flushed the Lithium down the toilet! 

Living with the mood swings is horrible at times, yes, but no more so than walking though the day in a complete and utter daze, unable to communicate with people around me because of the muddled feeling in my head, and wanting to sleep all day after already sleeping for over half a day! My mind, once it was clear enough to form reason, was boggled with questions and thoughts. 
Were all of these pills really what I needed? Were they really going to fix whatever was broken in my brain? Was all of the nasty side effects really worth the outcome? What were all of these pills going to do to my health in the long run? 
Something has to change. That much I know for sure. 

But is the change that’s needed in the drugs….or is it in me




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  1. […] Lithium  – Writing of Passage […]

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