Psycho-Babble Medication | about biological treatments | Framed
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Posted by Minnie-Haha on September 2, 2004, at 19:45:48

In reply to Re: SLS, posted by linkadge on September 2, 2004, at 16:25:22

> What is your exact medication right now, and
> what are your symptoms...
> Linkadge

Poor devil... you asked, so here goes, with background info first.

In 1996, I was successfully treated for depression Zoloft. (I had a toddler and had been sleep deprived for the better part of two years.) A couple of years later, when grief over my mother's death morphed into depression, I was again treated with Zoloft, but after about 8 months I *apparently* went hypomanic and was DXd as Bipolar II. I was on Depakote and Effexor for a couple years and that worked OK, but I gained 30 pounds and started feeling depressed again.

By this time, I had a new psychiatrist and we tried various drug combos -- the last I think was Trileptal and Welbutrin -- but never really came up with anything that *felt* right. My chief complaints were depression and insomnia. I also started having menstrual problems and got severely anemic (which I now blame on the Depakote, which I believe caused metabolism problems). In 2003, my anemia was under control and I went on a doctor-sanctioned drug holiday. Things went well until last fall, when I awoke in the middle of the night with nausea. Thought it was the flu at first, but it persisted for weeks, with insomnia, chills and eventually depression. I lost like 20 pounds in a month! I had lots of medical tests done and nothing was discovered except thyroid nodules (which we're watching, but my thyroid hormones are in the normal range).

The whole experience made me start to question my original diagnosis because I realized that I was having ANXIETY and feeling exactly the same "weird" feelings I'd had six years before when I was DXd BP2... though at that time I didn't *realize* I was having anxiety! I went to a new psychologist, wanting to just talk about the possibilty that my DX might be wrong and after one session, she DXd me as OCD... and kept the BP2 DX, too!

Anyway, my gut feeling is that the root of my problem is anxiety, which causes insomnia, which causes me to get depressed. My old psychiatrist closed her practice, so I have a new one and he says he's willing to reconsider my DX, but he wants to proceed with caution, as do I.

So, to answer your question, I currently take 150mg Trileptal in the a.m. and 300mg in the p.m. I also take 0.25 to 0.50mg Ativan at night, as needed, to help me sleep a little better. (For instance, on nights when I take it, I'll wake up at 4 a.m. instead of 2 o'clock. I usually don't have trouble falling asleep, it's that I wake in the middle of the night.) I'm getting psychotherapy and I've made some lifestyle changes re: caffeine, exercise, night-time routines, etc. I'd say now on good nights I get 6 hours sleep, and on bad nights maybe 2-4.

I hate taking the Ativan, even at such a low dose, because I don't like the thought of getting addicted to it, so the psychiatrist tried switching me to Ambien. The first two nights went OK: I still woke a couple times, but I went back to sleep (although I didn't feel more rested upon rising). But after a few more nights my daytime mood went in the toilet... hopeless and tearful. I started back on the Ativan, and my daytime mood is better. I can't say I feel well, but I don't feel like crying all the time and I sometimes even find reasons to smile or laugh. Still... my chief complaints are depression and insomnia. I told my new PCP that if I could have one thing in the whole world, it would be to just go to bed at 10 o'clock every night and not wake up until 6 a.m. She's suggesting I take 10mg Elavil at night, not a dose you'd give for depression, but for insomnia. My psychiatrists -- the old one especially -- are reluctant to give me ANY antidepressant because of my BP2 DX, even though in the six years since I received it, I don't think I've had one manic/hypomanic episode. I'm at a loss about what to do next. I feel better, but I don't feel well, and I ask myself every day: Is this as good as it's gonna get for the rest of my life?




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