Trying to Stay on Medication

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5 Oct 99 – Diary

I been off medication now for the last three days and I feel much better than I’ve felt for the last three weeks.

This is ridiculous. How am I supposed to stay on medication when I feel better when I don’t take it.

Objectively I know what it happening. As the medication wears off I go hypomanic, so of course the world feels great. I know that in four more days I’m going to fall into depression, which will throw me off course for the next three to four weeks.

I’ve done all this before. This is what happened in mid-July and my life dissolved into chaos for the rest of July and all of August back then.

I know I have a six or seven day grace period after I stop taking medication to get back on it. But hypomanic doesn’t mean rational. Just because the future holds gloom doesn’t in the least affect my desire to stay hypomanic now.

In fact the only reason I’m halfway rational at the moment instead of gloriously breezily efficient and charismatic is that I’ve gotten five hours sleep in the last three days. Apparently the tiredness due to lack of sleep is counterbalancing the hypomania at the moment. Even as the lack of sleep itself is contributing to my remaining hypomanic.

With a little luck I’ll be back on the medication as of dinner.

Which brings up the point of the medication itself.

I’ve been taking 600 mg Epilim (Depakote) daily . Although it stabilised me, the dosage was apparently a bit heavy handed. That could have been the reason why I kept on feeling lethargic for the last two or three weeks even though I didn’t feel depressed.

But I am now a bit concerned. If just minor changes in my dosage can have dramatic effects on how I feel, then I’m going to have a hell of a time getting my medications fine tuned enough to work to my advantage.

I’m back down to 400 mg Epilim daily. I’m hoping this works. But suppose it is too weak a dosage. It could be. I could be adjusting dosages between 400 and 600 mg for the next few weeks. I can easily envisage myself chopping up tablets to get a dosage of 475 mg Epilim daily. That would be really silly. But it would also be survival. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

And what happens if small changes in my internal chemistry require that I adjust my medications. Would I need to spend five to six months just getting the new dosages right. That scares me. And the possibility that I may become resistant to the existing meds and have to start this all over from scratch with a new drug is something I am trying not to think about.

6 Oct 99 – Diary

Well, I still haven’t gotten enough sleep. Which is still a good thing because I am so tense that my jaws hurt. Clear sign of hypomania, but so far the only one. I’m still reasonably in control.

I did start back taking medication last night, with a little help from my friends. And once started, I should be able to keep on track, at least for a little while. It helps that the side effects of the lower dosage are negligible, so I am more likely keep taking medication.

Now that I am not having the nausea and heartburn that the Epilim caused at the higher dosage, I can now say that I truly hated it. I bore it only because the alternative, being crazy, was worse.

Of course the Epilim hasn’t kicked in much yet. Quite frankly I like how I am, slightly hypomanic. I’m perfectly willing to trade off a bit of coordination and being tense for the feeling of well being and cheeriness that I currently have. Can’t say I mind my efficiency at the moment either. Of course I have no memory to talk about, but since I never had one anyway, it’s no loss.

My sneaky hope is that I can find a medication dosage that bounces me between normal and slightly hypomanic. We’ll see.

I don’t have a fixed schedule at the moment. My godfather’s death is allowing me to have a freewheeling schedule – anytime I want a rest I go across to his house to be with the people there. Even at two in the afternoon. I’m finding it very handy to have such a flexible schedule as I start picking up the pieces yet again.

It’s too hard to do everything I’m “supposed” to do when I’m just starting up again, a fact usually overlooked by family and friends who expect me to be as perfect as I ever was from Day One back out.

10 Oct 99 – Diary

Spent the day hacking at my heliconias. My neighbour in the apartment upstairs mine complained about there being a snake in her balcony.

Of course the fact that I could hack at the heliconias is an encouraging sign. The fact that I completed the job was an even better sign. Given this and the fact that the week went well, apparently I have stabilised to “normality”.

I don’t have the lethargy I felt earlier either. I do feel a little unstable sometimes, which means the medication could do with a bit more of fine tuning. Well, I’ve gotten what I wished for, which is normal with a bit of mania. Suddenly it doesn’t seem to be as attractive any more. The problem is it means I am also prone to destabilising. But one problem at a time.

Where was I. Oh yes. I have to figure out what to do next with my life.

At least I don’t have worry about snakes now.

12 Oct 99 – Diary

Still stable. This is good. I suppose that eventually I’ll stop marvelling at how nice it is to be stable and iron some clothes for the rest of the week. But I’m in no hurry.

I’ve made it to work at an hour late yesterday and an hour and a half today. I’m not anxious about this yet – I figure that I have just recovered and I don’t need to be in my top shape yet. The people around me will have to live with it. I plan to get my life back up and moving at my own speed.

Of course, I am in a wonderfully protected environment within my family’s business. I wonder how many other people are so lucky.

Over the last week I began to realise my habits are geared for being manic or depressive and my reactions to events and people can be wrong.

The most obvious is that when dealing with people I start off being very anxious. This unreasoning anxiety was typical of being depressed. However, I still deal with people with anxiety. It is only when I actually check to see if I should be anxious I realise that I should not be. Moreover the anxiety immediately goes away since it has no basis (it never did in depression).

I am realising that I have to relearn many habits and retrain many of my patterns of behaviour.

Stabilising is only part of the way to leading a good life.