Day 30: What meds are you on now? Have you found your ‘magic cocktail’?
My current medication regime consists of:
- Anti-psychotic: Solian (100mg/daily)
- Anti-psychotic: Olanzapine (10mg/daily)
- Anti-depressant: Fluoxetine (60mg/daily)
For those of you familiar with bipolar medications, you will notice a glaring omission from this list, namely a mood stabiliser. Up until January 2015 I was taking 1000mg/daily of Sodium Valproate (Epilim), but this was cessated upon the discovery that it had caused a rather nasty bout of pancreatitis. Since then, my doctor has been hesitant to introduce a new mood stabiliser into the mix. Partly because he is fearful of causing a return of my pancreatitis, partly because the only other option, Lithium, has a negative reaction when used in conjunction with Fluoxetine. So instead of introducing this a new mood stabiliser, he has been attempting to fix the mood fluctuations I’ve experienced since ending the Sodium Valproate by tweaking my other medications. In fact, over the last several weeks I have had my dosage of Fluoxetine increased twice in a valiant attempt to assist my increased depression and anxiety. As such, there has been little to no change, but I hold out hope that something will happen in the coming weeks.
Without a mood stabiliser, which I am adamant I need, it is fairly safe to assume I have yet to find my ‘magic cocktail’. Even when Sodium Valproate was part of the mix, I felt I was still missing something when it came to my medication. My moods still fluctuated. My depression still raged. Personally, the best drug I ever took for my bipolar was Lithium, which I took for some time in 2011 before it was cessated by the psychiatrist who destroyed my faith in the profession. He, without even exploring how it had affected me, decided that no medication would benefit me so immediately withdrew it from my treatment strategy; something I have never (repeat: never) forgiven him for. When I was on Lithium I was far more cohesive, far more present, far more able to control my moods and manage my behaviour, more so than I was ever able to do on Sodium Valproate.
After the Sodium Valproate was stopped I begged my GP to restart me on Lithium but because he didn’t want to interrupt my Fluoxetine, he denied me the possibility. I understand why he did that. I have no ill-will toward him. But given the positive effect Lithium had had on me in 2011, I feel we missed a trick. Personally, I would sacrifice the Fluoxetine for Lithium, but when it comes to my medication, I don’t really have a say.
Over the last few weeks I have been discussing with my support worker the possibility of seeing a psychiatrist in order for them to undertake a comprehensive review of my medication. The only problem with this is that I have no faith in the profession, courtesy of the last psychiatrist I saw. So to see a psychiatrist would require a lot of strength, a lot of confidence and a lot of advocating from my support worker. But who knows, perhaps it will happen, perhaps in a few months I will have a whole new mix of medication to take, perhaps then I will be one step closer to my ‘magic cocktail’.