Lately I have really been struggling with motivation to blog. Due to a depressive slump, I’ve been having trouble with the desire to do much of anything, but blogging especially has fallen by the wayside.
It makes me feel bad because I truly do appreciate this community and love the interaction I get with all of you, but when the whole world feels dark, it is hard to even try to reach for some light.
I’m not sure if my current state is just a continuation of the depression I was already feeling, or if it is worsened by gradually switching mood stabilizers (Seroquel to Lamictal), but I am hoping the situation improves soon. I have only been on the Lamictal since Monday and am only on the first dosage level, with at least two increases planned, so maybe my brain is just struggling to adjust.
I’m hoping my passion for blogging will return eventually, but for now, I’m trying to hang in there. If I’m not as active as usual, all of this stuff is probably why.
I had my first appointment with my new psychiatrist yesterday (my old doctor unexpectedly retired last month). Yesterday’s appointment had to be via video because of Covid. I was super anxious about it beforehand, not knowing what he was like or if we would be a good match. For a first visit, I would MUCH prefer an in-person appointment, but that wasn’t an option for now.
Fortunately, he seems caring and understanding and listened to me very well. I felt like he was trying hard to understand my situation and symptoms and that he took all of my concerns seriously. I guess I couldn’t ask for much more.
Because my anxiety and depression have both been bad lately, we are trying a new medication combo to see if that helps. I will no longer be taking the Seroquel and instead will be taking Lamictal. He is hoping I might be able to wean off the Prozac too if the new med works, since the antidepressants don’t seem to do much for me anymore (and if I take higher doses it tends to cause hypomanic symtoms).
Lamictal is known for not causing as much weight gain as other mood stabilizers, so I am all for that! I hope I won’t have many side effects from it, but we’ll see.
It seems that there is this stereotype about Bipolar patients not wanting to take their medicine or stopping medicine without consulting a doctor. However, like most stereotypes, perhaps there is some truth to it. I personally have Bipolar type 2 and often find myself wondering, “Do I really need these medications?” or “Are these medications actually helping or hurting me?”. Why do I wonder this? Mostly due to negative side effects. I can’t help but wonder sometimes if the cure isn’t worse than the disease at times. Weight gain, acne, digestive problems, being pushed further into depression or hypomania, anxiety, jitters, uncontrollable muscle spasms, irritability, crying spells, etc. Sometimes I really do wonder if I wasn’t better off before.
And about consulting a doctor before stopping meds, in my case at least, my psychiatrist is only able to see patients once every few months due to the shortage of psychiatrists in the area. He is EXTREMELY busy. It is unlikely I will hear from him in the interim, even if I have a question. Of course I can speak to his office staff, but that isn’t the same as actually speaking to a doctor. And even if I were to call and tell the office staff I wanted to stop taking the medicine, likely they would just request I wait until my next appointment, which may be months away. If the medicine is truly causing side effects I can’t stand or making me feel worse, why would I want to endure that for months before making a change?
I am not writing this post to encourage anyone to go off their meds or anything like that. I believe strongly in listening to medical advice, but I wanted to explain to those who are outside of the Bipolar loop why this can often become a legitimate issue. And no, right now I am not stopping my own meds, but I have been tempted many times, which makes me sympathetic to those who have.