Ya know, I’m really not one to advocate for or glorify antipsychotic medication. Most people know that about me by now. I’ve been burnt badly, as many of us living with mental illness have. But it just dawned on me that I had a med change three weeks ago and I cannot discount that as having a role in my mood. I’m happy and hopeful today and looking back on the last three weeks, I can see the shift.
I had been on Invega Sustena since December. At first, it worked great and by great, I simply mean that I noticed very little side effects at first. Everyone around me noticed a change in my behavior, but I knew that it was simply because time had taken its course through my manic spell, as it always does. It was not because of the medication, I assure you. I’ve been through it 3 times before. It is time and time alone that brough time me back down.
If medication worked as they assume it does, I would have been snapped out of my psychosis in November of last year. Truth. Instead I was poked and prodded with every med in the book, forcing my mind and body to not only get used to relatively severe medication, but also to get used to extremely abrupt withdraws for months. Evidence shows that withdraw from these meds alone can cause severe symptoms of mania and/or depression and even psychosis. But I won’t get in to that now.
Unfortunately for me, the Invega brought me down further in the end, and despite my pleas to the psychiatrist, I remained med sick for months on end. It is different for everyone. I gained 30 lbs despite exercise and eating right, I had spells of hot flashes lasting 3 hours at a time, I was severely depressed and suicidal, I was sweating constantly and for no reason at all. Let’s not even mention how it royally fucked up my menstrual cycle and quite possibly internal organs over time.
I begged to be put back on Abilify. It truly was the only med that worked well for me even though it caused a bit of weight gain. Month after month, I was denied because not only did the psychiatrist feel pressure to push the ‘latest and greatest’, but insurance wouldn’t cover Abilify for a bipolar diagnosis.
The nurse and I got together and discussed my symptoms at length. She said if I had a schizo affective diagnosis, it’d be easier to approve Abilify. Turns out, one psychiatrist throughout my hospital stays did in fact diagnose me as such, but it never stuck. Yet, it was still on record.
Next time around, and I brought it up to the Dr. along with evidence that Abilify helped keep me stable for years. He switched me that day.
And here I am, 3 weeks later and at about the time new medication takes to have any effect…in an happier mood, with more energy and a hopeful outlook. Not to mention, that my time of the month has returned to normal. It’s really a drastic change actually.
I cannot attribute this upswing to cooler weather, a commitment to sobriety, or attitude change alone. And it certainly isn’t circumstances that have changed. It’s a combination of everything and it’s extremely complicated process to nail down. Everything goes hand in hand and it’s a full-time job sometimes to juggle it all while trying to participate in a thing called life.
I’m a bit pickled through the process, but somewhere in the last three weeks, a light bulb went off. It’s coming together and I’m thinking more clearly. And there’s no better feeling than to be able to breathe again without a drink in hand.
Notice the LOON in the pix? 😉