wintery reflection

drugs-god’s gift to me???

I want a new drug
One that won’t go away
One that won’t keep me up all night
One that won’t make me sleep all day

Huey Lewis & the News

i have a long and sorted battle with meds in regards to my depression. i might as well start at the beginning.

my first depressive cycle, diagnosed as seasonal effective disorder, sad, coming in the winter, ended up to be a relatively minor one. i beat it back with just a careful regimen of good diet and exercise.

annually for the next three years, the winter based sad came back to haunt me. i reluctantly agreed to meds. the pattern for these cycles followed this pattern: take a drug or two until i found one that sort of, kind of worked, i think, my cycle would end and i’d go off. at the beginning of the next cycle, i’d try the drug that seemed to work in the previous cycle. not once did it.


Then i had a couple summer based depressions, nearly following the same pattern as above. i attribute cbt as the most important thing in getting through the first of these cycles. i said nearly followed because ,this time, i stayed on the meds when my cycle ended.

that brings me to my current cycle. My gp had reached the end of her rope and sent me to a psychiatrist. there, i started on lithium which didn’t seem to do anything. even though it didn’t seem to work, i stayed on it because my psychiatrist said studies show that it will likely extend the time out of depression. i hope to god it will; that would give me about three years or more out of depression. what a gift. that’s if it’s true.

from there i started the process to find a cocktail that would work for me. i’m not sure of all the drugs i tried, but two stick in my mind, lomotragine and wellbutrin.

first came lomotragine. when taking that med, a person takes a higher and higher dose until it become effective. each time i increase my dose, i experienced some mania. the manias kept get worse and worse as the dosage increase. i talked to my doc and he promptly told me to titrate down and stop taking it.

i also recall taking wellbutrin or in generic form bupropion. i started off with 300 mg and i didn’t experience any improvement. from there i got stepped up to 600mg. about the only effects i got with this dosage went sideways, the main one being rather serious trimmers. since i received no benefit from the higher dose and troublesome side effects, i backed down to 300 mg.


this next part of the story plays an important roll later in the story, so pay attention.

as my body readjusted to the lower dose, i experienced 5 days of bliss, meaning feeling as good as i normally feel when not in a depressed state. it felt wonderful while it lasted. the state didn’t last and i soon returned to the fog of depression and despair.

i felt i had given this psychiatrist enough of a try with limited results. additionally, he had a conservative tilt to him. i don’t mean he like ronald reagan, he just stayed with old schools drugs and didn’t seem very proactive.

i started with a new arnp. when i started with her, she ordered a genetic test, first thing. There are only about 8-10 liver pathways that all the anti-depressants use in different combination on their trip to the brain. each liver pathways has three states: open, partially block, or choked off. my results show i had one open pathway, some blocked pathways, and one choked off. that offers up a partial explanation why i went through so many meds that seemingly didn’t work. that makes me wonder with my early depressive cycles, if maybe the cycle had ran their course and the drugs didn’t really contribute to my mental well being.

without a clear wonder drug, next we tried prestiq, one of the new, up and coming mental disorder drugs. i lived on samples for a month and a week. that’s a good thing since it costs $250 a month! again, i didn’t see much change. and since it didn’t excite me to pay $250 for a med that didn’t seem to be doing anything, that med got put to the wayside.


i remembered back to the bupropion and the near bliss i experience coming off the 600mg. i wondered if we could try a dose between 300mg and 600mg and reach near the blissful location. they had 150 mg tablets, so 3 of those would put me right in between the dosages i had tried. we decided to give that a try.

within two days, the fog of despair lifted, my mood improved significantly, impulsivity nearly zeroed out, and my emotional stability became nearly rock solid. two examples of that can be found and one friend’s party and then other party. both of those situations would have seriously rocked my world if they would of happened on the lower dose.

unfortunately, bad came with the good. if someone could answer my ears, i would appreciate that; they ring all the time. for the second side effect, imagine a vise on your head just behind your temple. now tighten that down until you feel a good squeeze. i feel that all the type. because of lithium interactions, i am limited to tylenol for the headache. i took 1000mg and that didn’t even touch the head ache, it would have been equally beneficial to drink only the water.

then, last week, things took a turn for the worse. one day, someone had the nerve to crank down the vise a couple more turns, making the headache even worse than before. i have either gotten used to the headache or it has ebbed. the day after that, i started to feel myself surrendering some the advances i had made. first went the mood; i just did not feel as happy as i had the previous few weeks. at first, i seemed to hold on to my emotional stability, but i now notice that slipping back. finally i notice an increase in impulsivity. that takes me precariously close to the side effects outweighing the benefits. damn, another non-sucess.

so, that’s my long and sorted tale about meds. now you might see why i feel frustration with meds. now you might see why i feel meds have not fulfilled their promise,

i just want to feel better. i don’t care how, as long as i don’t have to sell my soul to the devil.

I want a new drug
One that does what it should
One that won’t make me feel too bad
One that won’t make me feel too good

Huey Lewis & the News

8 thoughts on “drugs-god’s gift to me???

  1. Anxious Mom

    How frustrating to find something that seemed to work, only to have other side effects thrown in to make it not worthwhile. It’s something, how it’s all a guessing game, which certainly works out well for the pharmaceutical companies.

  2. bipolarsojourner Post author

    i would say the pharmaceuticals are in cahoots with the regulators. did you know pharmaceutical companies can hide test results that they don’t like? that’s kind of crazy. To me, it looks like the fda checks to make sure testing was done properly and there aren’t any crazy side effects. If they see that, they’ll approve the drug. they don’t really care much about efficacy. Beyond the drug performing enough better then the placebo.

      1. emmagc75

        Yes I thought I would need a change or increase when my Mom died but dr said no that grieving process is normal crying a lot. Only if it didn’t get better or got worse. And it did eventually get better. I like that he didn’t just shove more meds at me ya know?

        1. bipolarsojourner Post author

          sounds like you’re lucky, again. you have an excellent doctor.

          my wife went to the doctor yesterday thinking she had strep. they took a quick swab and determined that what she had was viral, so no need for antibiotics. my wife was sure she had strep. so doc started her on a course of antibiotics, just in case. rule 1: don’t hand out antibiotics if it’s not bacterial in nature even if the patient whines about it. grrrr. then doc said, if it ends up to not be bacterial, you can stop taking the antibiotic. rule 2: always take the full course of antibiotics. grrrrrr.

          and people wonder why we have drug resistant bacteria like mrsa. it’s an overuse and misuse of antibiotics. the bacteria the survive the treatment are now less likely to die in the next treatment. they develop a resistance to the drug. do that a few times and you’ve left with the strongest of the strong, a super bug.


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