When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar depression, I was mad. I did not want to take the medication. But, I did. At least for the first few months, I was really grumpy about having bipolar. But, I persisted. As a new patient, I patiently waited for the medication to take effect and fix EVERYTHING (all at once, a magic pill). Unfortunately, I was not noticing any improvement in my mood, it was not getting better. The depression was not lifting and I was past frustrated with the process. I was under the assumption that Psychiatry was the end all be all of Doctors. Not only do psychiatrist go to medical school for 7 + years. Then they decide they have not learned enough. They sign up for years of additional education specializing in the mind.
I was greatly surprised with my psychiatrist told me the following after I had expressed frustration with the process of finding the right medication. He basically said the following “Look, this is not based on hard facts. We are not “Doing medicine”, we are “Practicing Medicine”. The human brain is the most complex organ in the body.
He explained that we don’t know that mix of medications were going to be effective and we were going to have to try different meds and dosages and durations and frequencies. This is how I began to call my psychiatrist my monsters bartender. personally, I’ve never been a big drinker. I’ll take a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream over a beer any day of the week. Except for once or twice a year, I crave a Newcastle Brown Ale (or two) or a Dirty Vodka Martini (technically it’s called a Dirty Bird). Almost James Bonds Drink of choice but with a splash of the brine from the olives adds for a salty finish. While I only crave a drink once in a while, my monster was going to require a lifelong supply of cocktails and Monsters are picky little jerks.
I was used to medicines that were fast acting, like an Advil. Take an Advil and 30 minutes later, my headache would be diminished. But, these new meds that I was taking for Bipolar are not “Fast Acting”. They take forever to “kick in” and start working.
This slow uptake of medicine in your body is called Titration. Titration is a fancy word that Psychiatrists use to figure out what cocktail is going to be perfect for your monster. These are no normal cocktails, they are powerful, long lasting and extra strength. Some monsters require a simple yet powerful cocktail. With Bipolar depression, the classic cocktail is a Lithium shooter served straight up for example. Nothing else in the glass just a white chalky pill cocktail served up to your monster every day. My current cocktail is 2-450mg Lithium Bicarbonate extended release shooters in the morning to be taken with food and 25mg of Mirapex.
Before I found the cocktail that was right for my monster, I had to work with my psychiatrist(s) for several months. This was an incredibly frustrating year and half for me. I started with a simple anti-depressant. Served via the courtesy of my family doctor. It became apparent pretty quickly that this was not the cocktail for my monster. We tried another antidepressant. We mixed the cocktail and slid it down the bar. My monster grabbed the glass. Took a sip and did not care for the taste. This was not the cocktail for my monster. My psychiatrist mixed several other cocktails and my monster acted like a toddler.
Finally, after 18 months of experimenting with mood stabilizer, anti-psychotics (I know, scary name for a class of drugs), anti-depressants, dosages, and frequencies. We found a winner. A simple yet timeless Bipolar Monster Cocktail. The Extended Release Lithium Martini, 900mg, with a twist of Mirapex. We poured the cocktail, slid it down the bar. My monster was pleased with the presentation. Two small white pills and one little brown one. My monster slowly enjoyed its new cocktail. It took about 6 weeks for the cocktail to begin working. My monster is calm. It no longer yells at me. The suggestions of suicide have ceased, there are no crazy recommendations to buy stuff or go on trips.
While my monsters taste my change in the future. This cocktail is perfect for now. We still go see our bartender every month or so. He checks to make sure the cocktail is working and there are no adverse side effects. My body struggles with this new cocktail. It changes my metabolism, I put on weight even easier than I have been able to in the past. I’m thirsty all the time, I pee a ton. This is annoying, but this is the cost for my monster’s cocktails. I know that I will always have to give my monster cocktails for the rest of my life. But, my life is worth it. I will gladly pay the tab for my monster.
If you are struggling to find the right medications for yourself, you might want to see what other people are saying about a medication or how they treat their mental health with medication. Your psychiatrist cannot do this on their own. They need your help on finding the right cocktail. This includes you paying attention to how the medication is impacting you and your monster. Some of the medications we tried for me caused issues and other just didn’t work at all.
Also, I recommend that you don’t hop online first thing and look at the side effects for the medication. I know this sounds odd but, I noticed that if I did that. I would have all of the side effects for that given medication. The mind is powerful and if you gotta monster in there. The monster could use the list of side effects as a great list of reasons not to take the medication. Be patient, i know it sucks. I’ve been there (several times), I’ve read countless webpages about how medications are impacting people. Their personal stories. I feel grateful to have finally found my monsters cocktail. But, it is not an easy thing to do. Hang in there, it’s a tough process. But, you are strong person. You would not have the pleasure of owning a monster if you were not strong enough.
Thoughts? Let me know. Positive and constructive feedback are welcome. alternative ideas and feelings are welcome as well. Want to share? Leave a comment or two below.
Thanks for reading. Now, go be awesome. , Lee @ guardian monster.
A useful websites for seeing what others are saying about how medication is impacting their lives.
Since it began in November 2003, Crazymeds has been about learning what the drugs and other treatment options can and cannot do, and what they are likely to do for us and to us, so we can work with our doctors to make the best, or least bad, choice in treatment as quickly as possible.
The presumption is you require medication in the first place. While we do have a checklist to help you determine that, it is more of a guide to determine if you need to see a doctor in the first place. Once you know for sure, or are fairly certain that you need a treatment that a doctor or nurse practitioner prescribes, we can help you figure out which one is the least bad based on things like your symptoms and your history with any previous medications, and not which drug will make some manufacturer and your insurer the most money.
The information here is meant to complement what your doctors, other medical professionals, and everyone else with training and certification who is involved in your treatment tell you. At no time is the information on this site1 meant to replace the advice and relationship you have with those doctors, et al.
Although we sometimes mention children and adolescents, usually when discussing approved and off-label uses of medications, the information on Crazymeds is primarily for and about adults. If you’re a parent looking for information about medication for your child you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. If you’re under 24 and reading this site, keep in mind that how you react to the medications discussed here might be very different from what is typical. If you’re under 16 and reading this site, I don’t even want to think about what’s going on in your life as I have enough problems of my own.
Thoughts? Let me know. Positive and constructive feedback are welcome. alternative ideas and feelings are welcome as well.
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