I am very sensitive to medication changes. I have tried about 30 mood stabilizers/antipsychotics/antiseizure meds to control my bipolar disorder. Most of them gave me horrible side effects. I’ve been on prolixin (a very very old school antipsychotic) as my main antipsychotic for about 5 years now. The only side effects it gives me are that I sleep a lot (14 hrs a day minimum is required), and I have shaking in my thumb and involuntary chewing motions.
I’ve been thinking for the past 5 years that I’m pretty stable. But recently due to a new homework assignment from my therapist I’m realizing all the times I’m down or up or anxious every week. I’m down about once or twice a week. I am anxious every day of the week pretty much. I am up about once or twice a month.
In the past, I’ve fought with my psychiatrist about trying new medications– he doesn’t like me on the prolixin due to the risks of tardive dyskinesia (the thumb shaking and chewing motions). So I decided today that I would tell him I was ready to try something else.
Surprisingly, my psychiatrist and nurse practitioner agreed that I should not change my meds at all. They said I am pretty stable, and they don’t want to risk making a small change which might lead to big results. I was really surprised to hear that.
On the one hand, it’s great that I’m considered pretty stable. On the other hand, it sucks that “stable” for me involves so many mood swings and such anxiety. It is really disillusioning to think that this might be the best I’m ever doing, and it is still at a level where I cannot work or do a lot outside the home. I’m not really sure how I feel about not changing my meds.
Yesterday I got a free sample at Starbucks that included caffeine and sugar, both of which are no-nos for me. Ever since I’ve been a bit up. I think that might have had something to do with the psychiatrists thinking I’m OK. Brad says I was talking really loudly. My mood self-assessment wasn’t super bad, it was probably a 7 out of 10 during the appointment (0 being maximally depressed, 10 being totally, psychotically manic). Due to disappointment about not changing meds, that’s come down a bit, so I am at a 6. 6 is safe.
Brad was very worried that I started re-reading Twilight again, which has in the past led to a lot of psychosis. I don’t think I’m in danger of that right now, but as a favor to Brad, I won’t read any more Twilight today.
For the rest of the day today, I am going to take it easy. Brad says I’m not allowed to clean (cleaning up is often a trigger for mania for me) so my friends coming over tomorrow will have to deal with a dirty house. Luckily they understand! Just staying stable is the goal.