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  1. I haven’t seen the interview with Charlie Sheen. I’ll try to find it. This, to me, is a constant conundrum – how much of this is biology and how much of it is something I created (I like your language on that). I’ve gone back and forth. But in my experience, I think there is quite a bit of biology. My mother took me to the doctor when I was 10 because of a depression. I hope that, if you created the monster, that you will be able to tame it. I’m going to see the nurse practitioner tomorrow. It’s the first time I’ve seen her since I was in the hospital. A disclaimer: since I was inpatient I think the minimalist ship has sailed. Also, when I say minimalist, it is in comparison to when I was so loaded with medication I didn’t know which end was up. The agreement that we had was that I wanted as few medications and lowest doses that I could. But anyway, I had tried a moderate dose of Latuda which didn’t work for me. So we began with 150 mg Wellbutrin and 100 mg Lamictal. Trying to keep the dose down and still get the desired effect. I wasn’t sleeping so she prescribed low-dose Seroquel, just 25 mg at night and PRN 25 in the morning if I felt I needed it. I also have PRN Hydroxyzine 25 mg if needed. So the idea was to keep doses low and provide as few medications as possible. This may seem like a lot but it’s quite a lot less than I’ve been prescribed before. When I was in the hospital I was on 300 mg Wellbutrin, 100 mg Seroquel at night and 50 mg in the morning. The Lamictal was raised to 200 mg. I also took Trazadone at night. I discontinued the Trazadone when I was discharged. Since I’m doing relatively well, I think the medications will stay at least where they are now. I’m still happy that it’s not worse than it is.
  2. You have every right and should feel proud of yourself. Using the healthy coping skills you have amassed to ride the waves is not easy. It takes perseverance – more perseverance than I have often had. And to do it without succumbing to self-medication is an achievement in itself. I can understand your decision to not use medication. There is that fundamental question of who are we when we are taking psychotropic medications. It’s hard to find that ‘sweet spot’ where we feel well, and like ourselves without too many side effects or becoming flat. Several years ago, I had been prescribed and ever increasing cocktail of medication in high doses by a series of psychiatrists. I felt like I was a mess. I finally decided to wean myself off of them and go without. My psychiatrist at the time told me I was becoming manic and that’s why I was doing it – and if I’m honest there was some truth to that. I managed fairly well for quite a while – doing ok but then having difficult episodes. Then I felt it became just too hard to manage (there are some long stories about that). The therapist I am working with encouraged me to manage my illness with medications as well as therapy. So I surrendered and waived the white flag. She referred me to a nurse practitioner who I really like. We are taking something of a minimalist approach. I’m trying not to feel over medicated. I really hope that you continue to do well. And feel proud.
  3. Thanks I’m doing much better. I’m glad you were able to turn things around. Did you have just the one episode of depression? I’ve been dealing with my bipolar illness my whole life. There have been periods when I’ve done ok. Then I’ll have some bad episodes. Sometimes I can do ok when I’m having mostly hypomanic episodes. The problem is, though, that when I’m hypomanic I can get in way over my head in what I’m doing – like taking on way too much at a job, or taking on things that I really don’t have the knowledge or experience, but think I do. Then when I crash it’s terrible. The depressions are brutal. Those are when I’ve been hospitalized. I hope that you continue to do well.
  4. You are dealing with some big shifts in your mood in a single day – they must make you feel kind of unmoored. What do you do to ground yourself, if anything? When I get to the point where my mood and perceptions are rapidly shifting, I’m halfway down the rabbit hole. Anyway, I admire your resilience in getting through them. Oh yeah, the crash after drinking for a long period of time is brutal. Once, many years ago, I did an inpatient detox. When I self-medicate I use alcohol as an anesthetic. That’s when I’m in a bad state and I just need it to stop. The problem is that it just becomes a vicious cycle where the alcohol just makes things worse and I need more and more to numb things. It also messes with medications. This last go around I had withdrawal symptoms and felt awful for a few days. Glad it wasn’t worse. I’m staying away from it now. I hope you are doing well tonight.
  5. I’m happy that you are managing to keep from going down the rabbit hole. I hope your life improves. I know sometimes that seems fanciful, but nevertheless I wish that it will get easier for you. Yeah, it was the self-medicating that pushed me over the edge and into a scary place. If I lived alone I’m not sure what would have happened. I have a good idea though. My therapist, partner and nurse practitioner are working with me to develop a plan – basically to get me to a hospital if I start the downward spiral again. It requires me to be honest and open about what is happening. That can be a tall order for me because 1 – I don’t always know when I’m falling into a bad place and 2 – the secrecy seems to be a symptom, kinda sorta. But I have acquired some ‘tools’ in the PHP to help with me identifying what’s happening and telling someone. Like you, once I start self-medicating I need help coming back. I also know what you mean about a diagnosis. I have questioned mine, and have had it questioned by a provider or two. It doesn’t always behave in textbook fashion. But what it is doesn’t seem to matter – it’s the management that’s important – and often difficult. Be well.
  6. The nurse practitioner who prescribes for me referred me to a Partial Hospitalization Program because my bipolar depression was, let’s say, getting out of hand. I was admitted to the PHP at the end of October. After a week and a half in the PHP the Social Worker sent me to the hospital and I was admitted to the BHU. After a week as an inpatient I returned to the PHP and was discharged at the beginning of December. I spent over a month in intensive treatment. I’m reorienting to life that isn’t highly structured and my partner is reorienting also. This latest bad episode scared the heck out of her and she is watching me very carefully. I don’t blame her. She’s also getting some good support. My sister has been helpful – she says ‘We’ve been here before ’. My partner also has a good therapist. Life is slowly getting back to a sense of ‘normalcy’, as normal as it gets for me. It’s been a while since I was last hospitalized. I think this time it took my partner by surprise. I wasn’t open about how I was feeling, and self-medicating behind her back. I wasn’t really safe and didn’t reach out. So, anyway, I’m sure that others here have had the same type of experience. One of the things I really liked about the PHP was that the patients all ‘get it’ because they are all struggling with mental illness. Some had even been in the BHU with me. It made it easy to open up. I’m convinced that people who don’t suffer from mental illness don’t really ‘get it’. Even those who are close, like spouses, partners, and other family members. But we who are here do.
  7. I'm sorry that you are having such disturbing dreams from the Lamictal. Since my last post, I have been put back on Lamictal. I do notice some vivid dreams but not nightmares. I wish you the best and hope the side effects subside.
  8. Yes - and I am also depressed. It probably all contributes.
  9. The "flatness" is just not caring about anything. When I talked to my provider she said this type of apathy is fairly common among her patients who take Latuda. Could also just be continuing depression. I do take it with food. Thanks for responding. Hope you are doing well.
  10. Dogs can be very wise. They are also the best listeners.
  11. I've found that it is really hard for people around me to understand. Mental illness is often called "the invisible disability" because others might not be able to see it. If you are feeling bad, and can say that to yourself and others, that is a good thing. We often have to be advocates for ourselves, which is admittedly difficult when we aren't feeling well. But trust yourself - if you aren't doing well, and you know it, then seek the help you need. It's a way of believing in yourself. My hope is that you can find some caregivers who can help you. I am fortunate because I have both a therapist and ARNP who get what's going on with me - and I think they are the only two who do. So I hope that you can find some providers or clinicians who are a good fit for you. BTW - I've really found a forum to be helpful because it is a community where you can be understood. Hang in there and keep trying. C
  12. I’m sorry you feel so awful and have been having a hard time with therapists! Therapy can be good – I have a therapist. But sometimes medication is necessary. I hope that you can find a good doctor or ARNP who you can trust. Treatment works much better when you can get to know and trust your provider. Many of us have been through difficult times with therapists or doctors. I had one psychiatrist who was treating me lose his license. The best thing is to keep trying, no matter how discouraged you feel. It is helpful to come to the forum to vent and find community. You are not alone, and you can find people who “get it.” Hang in there and welcome. C
  13. It seems like getting the job during the pandemic didn’t let you acclimate and get to know the people at your workplace. It must be hard to try to get into it from home. I’m sorry that has happened for you. Are you still in touch with the doctor and/or therapist who helped you through your depression? I wonder if the situation is causing some underlying depression/dysthymia to be present. I hope that you get some of your enthusiasm back! Stay safe and be well. C
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