Archive for the ‘doctors’ Category

Re-evaluating Things a Bit…

March 29, 2014 3 comments

I think I’m going to need to manage my expectations about my illness differently.

From one perspective I’m very lucky. My lows and highs used to be very extreme and both of them made me pretty dysfunctional. That’s not remarkable, but it’s not pleasant.

Since I’ve been on decent meds the extremes have levelled out and I’ve been able to live a mostly normal life, however saying that things are completely normal is still wishful thinking. I noticed this fact this week when my brain tipped over from low to high (it is a gradual process).

I am a computer programmer and for months I have been having a lot of difficulty at work. I’ve been making all the usual excuses, telling myself I’m a procrastinator, that I’m just bored, that other people are making my work difficult, and so on. Even my psychiatrist told me what I needed was a good kick in the backside.

Then my brain switched into high mode and suddenly how to do all my jobs became so clear and I started working my way through them. I saw my excuses for what they were. It was my brain that was still impaired.

Don’t get me wrong: my meds deal with the worst of my symptoms. However they are not 100% effective, either.

I suppose I need to look at adjusting my meds, which is a scary thing because they do work very well. I certainly don’t want to become less functional again. Still the way things stand when I’m low things at work are pretty hard, so something has to change. No more wishful thinking.


I’m not Dead Yet…

April 27, 2012 4 comments

I’m feeling better.

I’ve been using up all my creativity at work and coming home, walking the dogs, and watching TV episodes on my computer, and going to bed at 8pm. I haven’t had much to say lately.

I am up to 50mg of Lamotrigine and I think the only side-effects are are runny nose. I’m extremely lucky.

I have had such bad tremors that I can barely operate a mouse, but my pdoc thinks that is the Modecate and is cutting me back to 12mg every three weeks. We’ll see how that goes.

I could really use some hypomania right now.

On Having a Bipolar Mom #2

April 7, 2012 1 comment

In my last post I talked about having a bipolar mother, but I didn’t really talk about it. All I did was offer some dry facts, but I didn’t do much in the way of analysis. In this post I hope to correct that situation.

As I tried to get across in the last post, none of us is merely the symptoms of our disorder, and my mom is no exception. Part of the job of writing an article like this is trying to separate my mom the person (the much larger part of who she is) from my mom’s bipolar symptoms (the much smaller part).

I was self-centred as a little kid, and I never once questioned that my mom was 100% committed to me, or that she loved me. My mom had a (very) explosive temper, but she got her anger out of her system quickly, and moved into to forgiveness equally quickly. I was deathly afraid of my mom’s anger, but I rarely stayed in trouble for very long. My temper is similar: explosive and intense, but quick to extinguish and to turn into reconciliation.

As a kid I was oblivious as to whether my mom was having a good day or a bad day. I remember her laughing a lot. When she was feeling good she used to laugh at everything. I think she went to a lot of effort to shield me from what she was going through. Looking back I can remember four or maybe five major derepressions, one of which she was hospitalized for. Her bipolar cycles seem to be fairly long.

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Status Report #10 (My Doctor is Retiring)

March 31, 2012 2 comments

Well, I found out yesterday that my long-time psychiatrist is retiring in July. I’ve been seeing him since 2003 and while I had another doctor before him, that doctor retired after only a few visits. In Ontario it can take 4-6 months to get a new psychiatrist, so if I start now I might have a replacement in August or September. This doctor was a good doctor as far as I’m concerned. He did very little psychoanalysis; his approach was more of asking what were my symptoms and prescribing the meds to control them. I know a lot of people would be horrified by that approach, but it was just what I needed.

I suppose that going to a new doctor will be like starting over, to a degree. I suppose I can just cut-and-paste parts of this blog (maybe he or she doesn’t need to see the post on bullshit), fill in some more detail (did I mention my mother is bipolar?), and print it out. Seriously. On a positive note, I used to work right in downtown Toronto, so my doctor is in downtown Toronto. Now I live and work in the greater Toronto area (GTA), 40km away, so this is my chance to get a doctor closer to where I live.

At the moment I am taking Divalproex and lithium, but for a long time my doctor has wanted to put me on Lamotrigine, which is yet another mood stabilizer–this one also effective against depression. I was on it for a short time a few years ago but I lost my health coverage. Now I have my health coverage back, so we are trying Lamotrigine again. Anything that keeps away the depression is fine by me. If it doesn’t work I can stop it.

No Emotions…

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

I hang out a little bit on a message board for young gay men, hoping to provide an example of a moderately successful and happy married gay man who is also bipolar. Mostly no one is interested, which is fine, but the other day I got a message from a young woman asking how I deal with not having any emotions. I do have to deal with that issue fairly regularly, but the story goes deeper.

First of all, I’m lucky being bipolar. Nothing ever stays the same. This month, I’ll be emotionless; next month I’ll be alternately laughing hysterically or raging at everything. If you have to have an illness it really is a blessing not to be stuck with the same stuff day-after-day for too long (although any amount of depression is too long!). This dynamic nature means that when my emotions are in hibernation, I can at least remember, fairly recently, what it was like to have them working.

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February 7, 2012 Leave a comment

I know these status reports aren’t as interesting as the true confessions.

I am writing this post at 3:16am and I’m not tired. I’ve been working for the last few hours. If I’m depressed I’m definitely not showing many symptoms except the occasional fatigue, which can also be explained by my lack of sleep. Every once in a while my limbs will get heavy, or I’ll get “stuck” mentally. These are definitely depression symptoms, but they are sporadic. Am I “in between” manic and depression, or are the meds just doing their job?

Today for a few seconds I had very loud music playing where there was none. Luckily my doctor is increasing my next dose of Modecate (the anti-psychotic I take) by 1.5 times. I’m on a three week schedule for my injections, however, so I have to wait until next Monday.

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Darkest Before the Dawn

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

I went to an after hours medical clinic (where they’re not equipped for anything serious) and I told the doctor I was hearing voices. This wasn’t true at the time, but I needed to cut through the bullshit and get a real psychiatrist. Ontario’s medical system may be free (actually it’s paid by our taxes) but you have to wait for a specialist. I had to wait even to find out when I’d get to see a specialist. A week later I got a call that I had an appointment for six months later.
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