All you need is a medical dictionary, to lend a sense of gravity to things, amirite? I was contemplating my evening head rushes (med rushes) and thought I’d check on their formal name – orthostatic hypotension. Worst side effect of the orthodizzy hyporushes? Accidental falls.
Now I’m starting posts with digression, what next…
Well, this post is another of those that are for me. Just a record of this whole fun process, in case I need to look back. This is my boringpolar, badpolar, bloodypolar, bi-fucking-polar, bitepolar medtime story.
To test some or other theory, I’m taking all my meds in the evening at the moment. Because my brain sees that as a lamotrigine increase, I’m back with that old favourite side effect, acid reflux. It rears its peevish head each time the dose increases and is nasty to get through, but it’s gone within a week. That plus the head rushes turn my evenings into uncomfortable ones at the moment. Lamotrigine isn’t supposed to cause head rushes at all, but it was the only common denominator while I had morning and evening head rushes, and now that the timing has changed, the morning ones have stopped. If I snack on my meds around bedtime, it’s all too revolting to try to sleep. Sunset seems to be the time, so there’s enough time to groan through it while there are distractions around.
Meds cocktail, that’s what they call it… The list of ingredients changes from time to time, but it’s always served shaken, on the rocks. Images online show attractive piles of pills, as cheerful as jellybeans. I keep hoping mine will be that way, but I’m stuck on an endless conveyor belt of boring medication – white, ochre, beige. Fucking beige ffs, as if bipolar depression wasn’t depressing enough. Considering how much the meds cost, you’d think big pharmacy could easily churn out some pretty ones, the way they do for kids. My first psychotropic medication, sugar coated and smiling. Or maybe some black ones with teeny white skulls, so you’d know you were in for some nasty side effects. They put the pall in palliative for sure.
Back to sunset, sundowners at sunset (lol). I take my pills and something to wash them down with and my phone in case the sunset is worth photographing, tonight I downed the downers with naartjie juice. How very South African of me. I always swallow the lamotrigine first. I buy 200mg tablets, which is the cheapest option and they’re about as big as my face. They’re the fucking beige ones; of course they are. I break them in half (they’re soft enough not to need cutting) so I have four of those to slurp. I used to be able to take lots at once, but by the end of a month of lithium side effects, my throat rebelled. I get those down and then the two sets aline (ochre), which seems almost pleasant by then, because they’re smaller. The chlorpromazine tabs are small and glossy and white, they’re the bedtime meds, if I remember. The only capsules I have are white too, they’re sulpuride, prn for anxiety.
I gotta get back to taking my whassupplements in the morning (zinc, magnesium, probiotics). I gotta work out how I’m gonna use the probiotic powder once the capsules run out; it’s animal stuff, exactly the same formula as the human one and a fraction of the cost. Cost… I don’t have medical aid. It looks like I might be able to get lamotrigine and chlorpromazine courtesy of the taxpayer, which would be a mission, but very worthwhile. Just under a grand a month (ZAR – around 100 USD) hits me hard.
My psychiatrist tells me that I get a lot of the more unusual side effects, she’s written a paper about me. I’m so proud *rolls eyes*. They include horrible breathlessness on seroquel and a loony situation with lithium, where my kidneys coped better than fine all the way to 1000mg and then, while they were still coping beautifully, my stomach fell apart in all directions. I might be going on to a small dose of lithium in future, to combat the cognitive fuckups I’m currently enjoying. Ha fucking ha.
I’m not special, everyone who journeys through bipolar medication, that hellish hamster wheel, goes through horrible stuff. Meds with side effects, meds for the side effects, lucky dip meds that may or may not hit the spot. The meds-go-round, they call it, the search for that magic combination that’ll create the holy grail of stability. The combination that’s almost guaranteed to stop working at some point. I’ve only been doing this for a year – a year is nothing. I wouldn’t be on this trip at all if one simple antidepressant hadn’t hurled me into the worst and longest meltdown I’ve ever experienced. It took a few years after that to get the joyous diagnosis. Thank fuck I have my psychiatrist and bloggers to hold my hand through it all.
Ellen Forney illustrated it perfectly, I’m definitely still at the pain in the ass stage.
Blahpolar (suffering olympics gold medallist)