I saw my psychiatrist today, and the visit went well. I was hoping to decrease my Zyprexa immediately, but he said that I need to be on this dose for about a month longer, considering it caused significant problems going down to 2.5mg about 6 weeks ago. He’s hopeful that we can reduce more of my meds, slowly. I also told him my writing seems to have improved a bit since being on a lower dose of Zyprexa. He seemed interested in this, and I made it clear it was a significant issue. In any case, it’s nice to be talking about subtracting rather than adding meds these days!
I used cannabis in the past for about a year (though I quit over 5 years ago) to help manage my bipolar mood shifts. I found that responsible use of marijuana is key if it is to be therapeutic. The therapeutic part for me was not the part about getting high, which was a good release and fun, but that it balanced out my moods for the next few days after using. This was immensely helpful because my Rx medications were not in order at that point.
Also, using the right strains was essential, as some tended to cause paranoia and psychosis-like effects, which was harmful. Pure sativa and sativa-heavy hybrid strains could cause a stimulating, euphoric “head high,” which I found caused me to have symptoms of psychosis while using and lingered afterwards. Indica and indica-heavy hybrid strains didn’t produce such side effects and provided the therapeutic balance for days afterwards.
Long story short, the strain of cannabis one uses to help manage bipolar plays a big role in whether it succeeds, and AVOID SATIVA. (It also makes me wonder if most of the research done with bipolar and marijuana used sativa strains, as many claim to say cannabis causes psychosis in bipolar.)
Another key part of responsible use was to use it sparingly. Using too much would cause many of the negative side effects to become more pronounced, such as lethargy, weight gain, and being “constantly stoned.” Using about two times a week was ideal for me.
Also, part of being responsible is telling your doctors that you are using. It is dangerous if they are not aware.
Finally, cannabis is not for everyone, and little is objectively known about it and its effects on bipolar. Getting mixed up on the wrong side of the law can be devastating as well.
I no longer use because of employment, the fact that it’s an illegal substance, and I feel I’m better off without it. I do hope some day that it becomes legal, as it can be a wonderful therapeutic tool to help manage bipolar instead of expensive, questionable medications.
Be careful! When in doubt, don’t do it, and don’t break the law!
I’ve realized something in the past few days about how medications have an effect on my writer’s voice. Before I was diagnosed bipolar and went on medications, I had a much wetter, lively voice in my writing. Now, it seems drier and duller. Before it had a soul and now it feels rather disconnected.
However, lifting some of my Zyprexa by cutting the dose in half over the past month has made my writer’s voice seem a bit more alive. I’m not nearly there yet, but it’s encouraging me to speak to my doctor about reducing the medications as much as I can. I can function like a normal person now, but my creative writing really suffers. I don’t expect anyone to notice as I haven’t posted anything before I was on medications. Maybe I’ll notice a bigger difference as I keep finding my writer’s voice in this blog and reducing my medications.
Does anyone else feel this way about medications and writer’s creativity?
by: Skakerman via http://photopin.com
There is hope that the agonies associated with the psychotropics journey all people with bipolar undergo fade away.
The journey involves finding the medications that work and patiently discarding the ones that didn’t after giving them a fair chance. It is a mind-numbing process in the most literal sense, as many bipolar meds end up taking away cognition, drive, and emotional capacity to promote normal functioning. It was incredibly frustrating when I discovered a medication was useless for me as it felt like a wasted effort at times.
Then I find a med regime that works, and adjustments to make when bad things happen.
Then those “side effects” start to dissipate, and I begin to feel normal most of the time.
After that, I reach a point where I start to reduce my meds with my doctor’s blessing, which is a joyful, profoundly baffling experience. I know I’ll always need medication, but I get pieces of me back which I forget about by reducing them and eliminating some.
The worst thing I did was to stop my meds without my doctor’s blessing: bipolar then proceeded to stab me in the back. The last time I stopped my meds for two months I ended up in the hospital for over a month with a severe break on my hands to recover from.
Have any of you stopped your meds? What happened, why did you stop them, and how long did you stop them? What are psychotropics doing for you now – good and bad?