I’d like to preface this with one thing. I don’t usually post to Sunny about things in my life that are just developing or things that I would consider to be “in limbo”. This is me, Lulu, reaching out into the community in search of some informed opinions and suggestions. I want to hear from you to learn about your personal experiences and gain from the reader’s pool of knowledge. Not every answer is clear cut, and most of the best answers can’t be found in a book somewhere.
The New Doc on the Block
I went into my psychiatrist’s office for my regular med check last Friday. Except, there was nothing about this that was regular. My psychiatrist Dr. K. wasn’t in, and another doctor I was meeting for the first time was filling in. I figured it would be more of the same, you know, “How’s it going?” “Fine, except a couple of things.” “Okay, well go off into the world, be good, and take your medication.”
I was dead wrong.
He asked me a few typical questions, like “What’s your diagnosis?” and “What medications have you been on?” and things of that sort. He asked me how I’ve been feeling recently, and I answered honestly. Mostly, I’m alright. My moods are pretty stable, and I’m in a pretty good place most days. I’m still pretty irritable and the anxiety I’m experiencing is just unmanageable anymore. But, those are the constants.
I’m not fighting depression or mania at the moment, or living inside the confusing anguishing hell that is a mixed episode. I’m alright. Just alright. Probably the best I could expect to be doing being someone with this condition.
This part shocked the hell out of me.
The doctor goes into a long explanation of why I’m still experiencing symptoms, being that I’m apparently not on medications that actually treat the disorder. He tells me that Lamictal is not a mood stabilizer. Since I’m not on a mood stabilizer or and an antipsychotic, and since I have a lot of options, I should be on both. In his medical opinion, I should not be on Wellbutrin or even really any antidepressant at all. And Xanax and Halcion are not supposed to be for long term use to manage anxiety.
I fought him on the antipsychotic, explaining that those types of medications and I don’t get along well. He insisted it was because I’ve never been on an actual mood stabilizer. He kindly smiles and promised that as soon as my meds were fixed, then my bipolar would be fixed, and I’d be right on track.
He advised me to take a look on the internet at my treatment option throughout the next month, and then discuss with Dr. K. when I came back.
It was like getting slapped by someone in a moving vehicle.
As quickly as I went in, I was back out again. I was disoriented and confused. For a minute, I actually considered his words might be the truth to the whole thing. Then I remembered what being on antipsychotics was like. That created a whole host of problems that were unlike any I had ever experienced before. And I don’t care to EVER go there again.
So, Xan and I got in the car, and I laid the whole thing out for him. He was completely on my side. He said, “I don’t see why they are trying to fix something that isn’t broken? Why are they trying to dope you up like this? What did you tell him?”
I replied, “Nothing out of the ordinary! I told him that I’m having difficulty keeping a job, but I have no idea what that’s all about. I’m struggling socially and have been, well, pretty much my entire life. And that irritability, insomnia, and anxiety have been a constant for me. I mean, for my ENTIRE life, before all the mood stuff started.”
And we both agreed. Whatever throws down, that cocktail is not happening.
To Be Bipolar, Or Maybe Not Bipolar?
I’ve been thinking about this for quite awhile now. My moods have been pretty stable for about a year now. I mean, that is cause for celebration here. I’ve had some minor snags here and there, but all in all, I’ve been pretty level. The episodes I do have are not nearly as deep as they once were, even if the duration might be seemingly longer. So, why am I still seeing significant dysfunction in certain respects?
Is it possible that I might not even have Bipolar Disorder in the first place? Could it be something else? Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar share some diagnostic traits. Could there have been a mixup?
Or, perhaps, the mood episodes were actually solved, as I suspected, and we’re now uncovering something underneath the mood shifts? I have long suspected that the anxiety that I’m reporting hasn’t had anything to do with my mood shifts, although I did describe them as having the ability to spark depression or mania, depending on the context.
Xan and I sat down later, and I said, “You know, if Dr. K. is going to cause trouble and shift medications around, I’m going to request that we do a complete reevaluation. I’m talking about starting from scratch, covering it all from A – Z.”
He answered, “I think that’s a good plan.”
My Homework Assignment
So, I’m doing my homework assignment right now. I’m doing my research on the internet.
I’m going beyond all of the articles, medical websites, and online assessments. Sure, I’ll have those tucked under my belt, but I’m not a person who half-asses anything.
I’m taking it to the people.
Tell me about your experiences. I’m open to all suggestions, ideas, theories, and everything and anything all open minds would like to add.
Thanks ahead of time readers. I’m counting on you!