Friday, February 10, 2006

A rethink

<= took this photo flying over the Karroo desert on the way back from Johannesburg last week. (only kidding, it was taken a of a footprint in the sandunes on Sunday from about 5 feet away, and then tweaked in photoshop).

I've sung praises for Lamactil a lot in this blog, my main observation being that Lamactil takes the sadness emotion out of the downs and just leaves the energy fatigue.

But yesterday I got to thinking - what is the worst part of the downs for me? Exactly - the lack of energy! Sure it's nice not to have that gut-wrenching feeling of desperation accompanying the energy slumps, but ultimately it's the energy slumps that affect my life, especially my career and interpersonal relationships.

So whilst Lamactil is a step in the right direction, it is still not good enough. What would be really good is a pill that preserves your energy during the slumps. The way I see it there are 4 scenarios on the downs:

  1. Sadness + No energy
  2. No Sadness + No Energy
  3. Sadness + Energy
  4. No Sadness + energy

Without Lamactil I was stuck on scenario 1. Lamactil has now upgraded me to level 2. But, with this latest insight, were I given a choice, I'd rather have level 3 than level 2. (i.e. take the desperation but keep the energy). What do you guys think?

As to level 4 - if you can reach that I've got news for you: You're either a BiPOlar approaching mania or you're not BiPolar.

Hey, maybe my whole distinction between energy-levels and emotional state is a false distinction. Maybe they're intertwined to such an extent that you cannot talk about one without involving the other. Shit, maybe they're even the same thing!

But, me, I do experience them differently. The energy thing seems to be more of a body thing, whilst the desperation is definitely more to do with mind.

And that's why BiPolars so often turn to illicit substances. Because they can definitely give an energy boost. Unfortunately for BiPolar Guy, illicit substances are no longer an option. We've been enquiring about schools to get Miss L into and have discovered that there is a huge weed problem in Cape Town schools. And how damn hypocritical would it be to lecture Miss L on the perils of weed, whilst sneaking off to have a joint myself.

Besides: Mrs M has been a solid rock of support thru this whole ordeal and her number one wish is that I don't do weed. I think I gotta honour it.


  1. Are you on Wellbutrin? Though it's an anti-depressant, it isn't an SSRI. It can help boost your energy. It also happens to be the same as Zyban, the drug that helps people quit smoking.

    For me, sadness is different from depression. When I'm sad, there are reasons that I can name. When I'm depressed, I just feel down even though there might be nothing in my life to make me feel that way. At least that's my distinction.

    I've also been prescribed a short course of Ritalin to help with the energy--it has the opposite effect on adults than in children. It helped for a while, but now I'm back to where I started.

    However, I just had a sleep study done last night because my ENT doctor suspects that I have sleep apnea, which contributes to the lack of energy. Just ask Mrs. M if you snore. :)

    Good luck finding a school for Miss L.

  2. My cocktail includes effexor, lamictal, risperdal, cardizem, lithium, and xanax. (Wheeeeeeeee!) Where Barb uses Wellbutrin (I hate that stuff, personally, but each body is different) I use Effexor which is an SNRI. The N stands for norephinephrin which is the brain's version of adrenalin. It's the norepinephrin which gives you the zing, but be careful that you don't take too much or you will be over the rainbow and in the shithouse before you know it.

    I think I know what you are speaking about BG. There's a rip that goes along with some depressions, a lot of claws scratching at the psyche. It doesn't feel good. Lamictal got rid of that for me.

    You might also check the list of remedies I put up for depression. They can augment the meds.

  3. My two manic episodes that resulted in institutionalisation did occur when illicit substances were not entirely removed from my life. Perhaps weed did contribute to or perhaps trigger the mania. It's hard to say. I've found that alcohol tends to keep me awake pondering and coffee, I'm talking macchiatos here, tends to calm me down and help me focus my thoughts. Perhaps I'm one of those self-medicating types. Really dangerous situations came about when the prescriptions and the non-prescribed illicits and alcohol started to comingle in my system. I enjoy alcohol for the flavour and the sipping, quaffing sensations, so perhaps that's why I've gone prescription free. I avoid the illicits, however, seeing as I'm a dad! As for the sadness, I've found that solitary exercise or aimless conversation generally help. Prolonged depression usually ends in a life-changing move or readjustment of personal relationships. I try to avoid those, mostly unsuccessfully. Good luck reaching three and four!

  4. I just gave up Lamictal as it isnt working at all for me. Its like eating M&M's which is the problem I have with most meds so far. I am going back on Topomax becuase it did send me manic for a while and the doc immediately upped it. This time we are going to try titrating it very slowly- 25mg every two weeks and see what happens - if there is a happy medium in there some where. I am rapid cycling and have had literally no luck with anything working for any length of time but I understand it is different for most and I wish you the best. Wellbutrin did have an effect on me- it made me have such horrifically mean thoughts I was terrified of myself. My problem is with the depression- I dont get enough mania for it to become a problem and its only hypomania sooo at any rate - good luck


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