Bipolar disorder comes with many side effects one of them being a lifelong dependence on medication to maintain a sense of equilibrium. Psychiatrists and doctors will say its not an exact science and that everybody reacts differently to different medications. I am here to testify that it is indeed a matter of trial and error which can be frustrating but if you are dedicated to your well being you will find the right drug cocktail for you, to keep you sane.
When I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was experiencing a psychotic manic episode. I was having visual and auditory hallucinations, as well as, delusions, paranoid thoughts, and delusions of grandeur. They prescribed lithium and olanzapine which allowed me to think more clearly and see reality once again. The hallucinations and paranoid thoughts subsided, however, I was left with an inability to concentrate or retain information. I was on a very high dose of lithium and it made me lethargic and unable to leave bed for days at a time. Lithium is a staple drug used to treat bipolar disorder and majority of people suffering from bipolar use this medication to remain stable. However, for me, it became detrimental to my well being and led to my depression.
I was hospitalized for depression and gradually weaned off of lithium and put on two antidepressants known as Cipralex and Wellbutrin. I started to do much better and began going out with friends on a regular basis. However, if you have bipolar disorder you should rarely if ever be prescribed antidepressants since they may trigger mania. This is exactly what happened to me. My life turned into a whirlwind until I suddenly found myself in the hospital, delusional and raving on about all the money and things I had to offer. My manic brain had convinced itself that it was a millionaire with a never ending supply of sports cars and businesses. If I could conceive it, I believed it.
The psychiatrists at the hospital decided to try something new after first putting me on lithium again and finding that I had turned suicidal. I remember lying in my mother’s arms in the hospital bed crying about how I just wanted it to end and that I wanted to go to heaven with my father. I was trying to conceive of ways to kill myself in a room that was safeguarded from anyone killing themselves. The best I could come up with was to fill the garbage pale with water and shove my head in forcibly drowning myself. Of course I realized how ridiculous this was and decided against it. The psychiatrists at the hospital decided to put me on an anti-psychotic called Abilify and this would be my first experience with it.
After a few injections of Abilify, I found I was completely sane, well as sane as I was used to, haha. I no longer believed I was a millionaire celebrity who could buy and do whatever they wanted. The suicidal thoughts caused by lithium subsided and my brain was the most clearest it’s ever been. I have now been on this injection of Abilify for a couple of years and have experienced little to no side effects, the only side effect being a bit of weight gain. In these past few years, I have not experienced a full blown episode of mania or depression, nor hallucinations or delusions. I think I have finally found the medication that works for me! However, that being said I was in a six year period of trial and error with medication. I was at the mercy of my doctors and psychiatrists who never gave up on me and always tried to push me forward.
I am writing this blog post with the hopes that if you are a reader struggling with a new medication that you may know there are medications that are out there tailored for you. You just have to find them and not give up hope that something may and eventually will work for you.
Stay Positive and Know that this is a process, but one you can most definitely make it through.