My Psychiatric Drug List

It’s important to keep track of your own psychiatric history drug because you will be asked about it in the future and it is much easier when you have everything written down. I wasn’t smart enough to do this from the beginning, but I requested copies of my medical records later when I was applying for Social Security Disability. This is a running list that I will update as needed.

Antianxiety

  • Ativan 1mg BID (10/07-11/08? check BHR records)
  • Celexa
  • Klonopin 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg PRN (7/05-

Antidepressant

  • Effexor XR 75mg, 150mg (12/03-8/04)
  • Lexapro 10mg, 15mg, 20mg (8/05-11/08? check BHR records)
  • Pamelor HCL 10mg
  • Remeron 15mg
  • Trazodone HCL 50mg
  • Wellbutrin 150mg, 200mg, 300mg (8/04-11/08? check BHR records)
  • Zoloft 100mg (3/03-12/03)

Antimanic

  • Depakote ER 1500mg, 2000mg
  • Lithium ER 300mg (am) + 450mg (pm), 400mg BID, 450mg BID, 1200mg (10/07-11/08? check BHR records)

Atypical Antipsychotic

  • Abilify 5mg, 10mg, 15mg, 20mg (2/06-4/06, 6/06-8/07, 2/08-11/08? check BHR records)
  • Latuda 20mg
  • Geodon 20mg
  • Seroquel XR 150mg, 200mg, 300mg

Mood Stabilizer

  • Lamictal 25mg (2/06-2/06)
  • Topomax 25mg, 50mg, 100mg, 150mg, 200mg, 50mg (am) + 150mg (pm) (3/06-

Eugeroic (Wakefulness-Promoting)

  • Provigil 100mg, 200mg (10/06-4/07)

Central Nervous System Stimulant

  • Ritalin 5mg (6/07-
  • Concerta 18mg (5/07-

Sedative

  • Ambien 10mg, 12.5mg (5/05-7/05, 6/06-7/06, 12/06-2/07, 5/07-)

Herbal & Over The Counter

  • Melatonin
  • Vitamin D3 2000 IUs

 

bold = possible personal gene-drug interaction (based on my GeneSight test results)

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Shameless

I started watching Shameless on Netflix about a month ago and I am halfway through season 5 already. I like it for several reasons, one of which is the excellent portrayal of bipolar disorder in both Monica and Ian Gallagher. Spoiler alert: if you haven’t watched through season 5 episode 8, you may want to skip this post for now.

I didn’t “get” Monica until the Thanksgiving dinner episode, at which time I knew as soon as she stood up from the table that she was going to do something terrible. In terms of “highs” and “lows,” I spend most of my time depressed and I tend to get suicidal. Unfortunately, I also get impulsive. As Monica and Ian show us, depressed + suicidal + impulsive = danger.

When Ian was acting strange after going MIA from the army, I wasn’t sure if it was drugs or mania but when he wouldn’t get out of bed for days, I knew.

The one thing that I would say is that my experience in psych wards was slightly different from what Monica and Ian experienced. I have been in three different wards. Two things:

  1. Psych wards have nightly “checks,” in which hospital staff look into your room at night to make sure that you are in bed, okay, and that you’re not getting into trouble. So, Monica’s nighttime sexytime with the other patient is something that isn’t likely to happen.
  2. The guard at the hospital got rough with Ian. I have never experienced or witnessed unnecessary force in a psych ward. I’m sure that it happens, but I don’t think it is common.

I’m up to the point where Ian says that he flushed his meds because they make him feel awful. If you have never taken medicine for a mental illness, you can’t possibly understand what it’s like. And you can’t understand what it’s like to live with a mental illness if you don’t have one, but this show can help you to get a feeling for it. It’s refreshing to see bipolar accurately portrayed in a show. I tried watching Homeland, a series in which Claire Danes plays a CIA agent with bipolar disorder. I thought that show did okay, but Shameless does much better. Consider watching it.

Nighttime Is The Worst

I love winding down at the end of the day with my husbeast and our furbabies before bed, but bedtime is often tough. This is the time of the day when my thoughts shift to all of the things that I am worried about. There’s always something.

I lay in bed trying to sleep and I get more and more agitated. My thoughts and heart race. I get fidgety and start tossing and turning. Sometimes I cry. This effects my sleep, both in quality and quantity.

After really bad nights, I can’t get up when I’m supposed to in the morning because I’m too tired. If I have cried a lot, I’ll have puffy eyes and a headache for most of the day. I have quit jobs and flaked out on friends and families because of this. Last night was rough, but it’s a new day.

Holding My Breath

Picture a person in a scary movie who is hiding from a bad person. What do they do when that bad person is within very close range? They hold perfectly still, doing their best not to make a sound. They hold their breath. No movement.

Have you ever tried holding your breath when you are scared? That’s essentially what I do every time that I am afraid to make a move because of my mental illness. I’m doing it right now.

It is painful! But not in the same way as when you are actually scared for your life and forced to hold your breath for as long as possible and then slowly let it out because you can’t hold it anymore without passing out and now, instead of holding your breath in, you have to breathe as slowly, evenly, and shallowly as you can so that it is QUIET. It is the slow, even, shallow breathing that hurts. It hurts because your heart is pumping a million miles an hour, ready to fight or fly, but you are forcing your lungs to pretend like nothing is wrong. They want to suck in as much air as possible and propel you into victory, but you’ve chosen to make them do something that doesn’t feel natural to them.

For me, normal life is halted when I am severely depressed. If I make a decision, it is usually a bad one, so this is my coping mechanism. I become lethargic, with almost no interest in food or the activities that I usually enjoy. I cancel plans, push people away, skip showering, and more. I don’t like doing this to myself. It hurts me to see myself falling into these patterns. But I don’t know what to do differently. I am the scared victim in the movie, hiding from myself. Putting life on hold so that I can survive the next 30 seconds.

I’ve spent countless hours learning coping skills from therapists and self-help books. Some really helpful stuff, but my memory is awful and when things start to go sour, I can’t remember what to do to help myself. I’m 34. Maybe my memory sucks just because? Maybe it’s because of years of different psychiatric drugs? Maybe it’s due to past trauma? I don’t know why, but my memory sucks, which sucks.

Because I’m terrible at helping myself in these times of severe depression, I rely heavily on my husbeast and my mother for support. I become so tired that I fall asleep in the middle of the day and sleep for up to 6 hours. I wake up dazed, hungry, and thirsty, but can’t muster enough energy/willpower to walk myself to the kitchen to get food and drink, so I lay on the couch until my husbeast comes home. He finds me cold (I usually don’t have the foresight to grab a blanket) and starving. But food doesn’t sound good. We both know that I need to eat, but it’s difficult to do so when nothing sounds good.

I don’t like putting that burden on my support group. I see the toll that it takes. I fucking hate that sometimes I need to be rescued. Sometimes = multiple times per year, often for weeks at a time. I have always been the empath/caregiver, and don’t like being on the other side. I want to be able to take care of myself! I’m screwed if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse, WWIII, etc.

My condition affects other things like my part-time job, my small business, and my friendships too but I’ll write about that later. Not really sure where I am going with this, I guess this is a status update. I’m holding still. Doing my best to survive another hour. It hurts, but I’m doing okay. Today’s accomplishments:

  • eat (orange for breakfast, ramen for lunch)
  • drink water (only did 1 bottle, but better than none)
  • put on more than just a bathrobe (I did undies, sweats, and a t-shirt)
  • take care of something other than myself (baby chicks)
  • channeled bipolar energy to create art
  • nap
  • blog about feelings/progress/whatever this is about
  • avoided going to the hospital (keep telling myself one day at a time)

I hope that your day is going well.