15 October 2012

Medication Pro's and con's

This is not a medical blog and I very rarely post any real facts. It's all just opinion and my point of view.
After a long journey to find the right dose of medication I was extremely happy when it happened. I'm on 1mg Fluanxol, and 200mg Epitec.

I've felt quite stable on it, but I had also been seeing a psychologist. Those who've been the meds and psychologist route knows how well it can make you feel to be able to unload every week. To get a good dose of reality check, mixed with pep talk, and some really hard self exploration.

So I want to say meds came first and then came therapy, but I'm not sure. My psychologist is very skeptical of my bipolar diagnosis, and I don't blame him. The Psychologist who saw me before meds is quite convinced about the diagnosis, so a bit of a catch 22 situation.

For the 10 weeks I saw my psychologist I was pretty stable. Had some little lows and one little high, but pretty much stable. I felt okay. I managed to snap out of any moods relatively quickly, I think. My concentration has been getting better. My productivity has been getting better. I have improved in a lot of ways that have little to do with strictly mood, and I'm not sure what the effects of psycho therapy has on actual physical concentration issues.

So all in all one has to say that the medication has had a positive effect, and an actual chemical issue has been, if not solved, at least improved.

The test of Bipolar II in many cases seems to be "If the meds work, then we know for sure" It seems it is a very slippery one to diagnose, especially when, like me, one is on the lower end of the scale. The problem is even the lower end of the scale has a big influence on your life, happiness, and ability to lead a satisfying existence. It influences your relationships and it contaminates every thought.

The problem is I am experiencing some apathy. I've always despised apathy. I just can't seem get out of it, and it is becoming more noticeable  Great when it means I don't go into a really low down down deep depression, but it doesn't seem to be able to completely prevent that. It just prevents me from experiencing Joy and Excitement, and steals my happiness.

I constantly feel just subnormal. If normal was 5, and hypo manic was 10, and deep depression was 0 I feel like I'm on 4, most of the time. I can go up to 7 and I can go down to 3. But it would be an angry 7, I don't seem to be able to do a happy 7. But I am stuck on 4, and have been for some time.

The question I need to ask is: " Is it the medication, or is it my crappy life and history?" My psychologist is convinced it is the second, but like I discussed above, there is proof or at least soft signs, that the medication is there, and is doing some good. Might it not also be that the medication could be having some negative effect. Or is this what normal feels like. Is my natural mood pessimism?

I have heard Bipolar sufferers complain about that exact effect of the medication. I now have to figure things out on my own because my medical aid doesn't pay for more psych visits till next year, and I can't afford any visits either.

I'm trying to take some positive steps to improve my situation. I need to fix some of the big obvious crappy life issues, in order to find some success and happiness. I have worked hard to grow my experience and knowledge, so it might be time to give up on being self employed, and look for an actual paying job. I feel slightly more able to deal with other people,in a work situation, so I am hopeful that this will be a possibility. Unless of course my current workload increases sufficiently to provide for us financially.

These are the thoughts I struggle with at the moment. The apathy is making it more difficult to write as well, so I might be slower with that for a while. I find at least I can fake some enthusiasm with most people, but not myself. I probably just come across as really relaxed, but I can't describe this as relaxation. Inner anxious dialogue is still there. I just don't feel it.

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