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Posts Tagged ‘mental-health’

Lamotrigine Revisited…

May 10, 2012 3 comments

I was doing great on Lamotrigine and really looking forward to using it–then the usual complication reared its ugly head. The medication is loaded with lactose. I didn’t notice with one tablet, and I thought it was other things with two tablets, but with three tablets I had a non-stop lactose reaction. So I went back down to two tablets, but the reaction didn’t go away. I went down to one tablet (after all I had been on two for two weeks and three for only two days) and still kept having a bad lactose reaction. Tonight has been about a week and I’m going to go off entirely.

My psychiatrist, who is retiring next month, is impossible to get a hold of, so I feel like I’m on my own. I don’t like taking myself off a med on my own, but I had no choice in this case. Maybe my next psychiatrist will put me on the one of the lactose-free versions of the drug (chewable Lamictal or dissolving Lamictal).

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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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On Having A Bipolar Mom

April 6, 2012 1 comment

I didn’t know my mom was bipolar until I was in my late 30s, some years after I found out I was bipolar myself. My mom’s diagnosis was manic-depressive, so when I told her I was bipolar she didn’t make the connection immediately.

This post is one of understanding and forgiveness. I think my mom did a much better job of carrying on than I did, with much greater adversity, much worse meds, and much greater stigma.

I think my mom already had a suicide attempt and a diagnosis of at least depression by the time she was in her teens. She got pregnant with me at 18 and married my father, who was 20. Because it was the 1960s, she gave up a promising career as a ballerina (she studied alongside Karen Kain).

My father was killed in a construction accident (at my mom’s father’s construction company) when my mother was 20. So she was bipolar, widowed, and with a child at 20. She got depressed and she tells me now that her doctor recommended taking a vacation, which she did. No lithium or other meds. Just a vacation.

At some point she decided to take her own life. The details I have are sketchy, but she left me with someone, and made the attempt, which thankfully failed. She tells me she made three attempts overall in her life, and at the moment I can’t remember the details of the third, but I think this one was the last one.
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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.

Manic Spending #1

March 15, 2012 3 comments

My grandparents were a normal two-income middle class post-war family. My biological father was an only child who died in his early twenties. I was an only child. Therefore when my grandparents died I inherited modest, but not insignificant sums of money. I also have bipolar disorder, which means that sometimes I suffer from mania–specifically for this post, manic spending. However, no one knew, not even me. Everyone assumed I was responsible and that I had a few hundred thousand dollars invested away.

In fact, not only did I spend it all, I took a second mortgage out on my house, and I spent that. And I ran up credit cards. And I have a car loan. Until 2010 I honestly believed that I had spent it all wisely. Now I spend 70% of my income paying off all the loans (and that’s just minimum payments). Now I plug every debit and credit into a 12 month spreadsheet to see how it affects the future. Sometimes that dinner at McDonald’s in March means we miss a hydro payment in July. This is my penance.
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Status Report #7

March 12, 2012 3 comments

Well it’s been a week since my last Modecate injection and the side-effects have been nearly non-existent. I have joint pain in my right wrist where there was none before, and I have to watch my bladder capacity or else it will leak, and that’s about it. I had one weird blip which is more of a bipolar symptom than a side effect. I was working in my kitchen and suddenly everything I did was extremely important. It wasn’t cosmic godlike important, but it was still very important. Did I open the fridge or not? Did I hold a fork a certain way? Did I look left or right? Did I go into the dining room? Every choice was a grave one and every decision was a triumph. This is the kind of stuff the Modecate is supposed to stop.

At first I thought that the nurse must have messed up the injection, but I decided to wait and see what happened. There have been no more episodes; and no hallucinations; and no voices; so so far so good. I was having some minor hallucinations before the injection, too. One of them is very interesting. A phoneme is a component sound of a word. For example, “Hello” is composed of the phonemes H-eh-l-oh. Imagine hearing a stream of thousands of random phonemes, like a malfunctioning computer voice. That’s what I hear; or rather what I did hear last week. Just for a few minutes. That hallucination is actually kind of fun. There is a related hallucination when I will hear a room full of voices for hours. The voices are just a little too indistinct to understand. I’m quite hard of hearing, so to me it’s just like being at a real party.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Awards

March 9, 2012 4 comments

Clown on Fire has given me The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, which is great. Positive feedback feels wonderful even for such a modest blog as mine.

Very Inspiring Blogger Awards

Rules for this award:

1.Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Pass the award to 7 nominees

Thank you Clown on Fire. Your blog has a grasp on reality that mine severely lacks. I truly do wish I could write more like you.

I’m going to take listing seven things about myself and alter it to seven things about myself that no one knows. For added challenge, at least three have to be positive. These are in no particular chronological order.

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