Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Treatment Update

I've noticed some significant improvement after being on the Parnate for nearly ten days. Most tellingly, I've realized that for the last several months I have been in a low-grade depression. Anti-depressants have in times past had a nasty habit of throwing me into a manic or hypomanic episode so they've been avoided in my standard treatment regimen for the past eight months or so. Surprisingly enough, Lithium, that old standard, has proven to be a great help in regulating cycling and tamping down on the intensity of my moods.

Once upon a time I chanced upon a song, the lyrics of which read something like--the world is a friendly place when you feel good. Nothing could be truer. When I am depressed or highly anxious the world seems packed full of enemies, grievances, pettiness, callousness, submerged anger, and fear. When I am feeling well, these imaginary problems evaporate and I can appreciate the great amount of good which exists alongside the bad. I have often wondered if perhaps I am not being delusional when I feel and observe all of these horrible things. The world is full of shades of dark as well as shades of light. Only a naive optimist or radical cynic would believe our world is monochrome and tilted soley towards either extreme.

That being said, problems still exist. I've been in treatment long enough to know that every medication has side effects and the more medications one adds to a regimen the more side effects will be produced. Still, I am pleased thus far with how I am feeling at the moment. I pause to note that I was extraordinarily fortunate for starting medication and seeking help as soon as I did. The longer a person goes without taking medication, the less effective the drugs are. Not only that, with time, symptoms progressively worsen. A manic episode when a person is thirty is much less severe than a manic episode at age fifty. This is why it is imperative for those who believe they could have mental illness to seek treatment immediately and not wait to get worse.


Mauigirl said...

I'm so glad the Parnate and Lithium seem to be helping you. And I didn't realize that if bipolar disorder is untreated it can be worse and harder to treat, it's good you are spreading the word.

Utah Savage said...

I can certainly attest to the truth of the statement that a manic episode in a fifty year old is harder to treat than a manic episode in a thirty year old. It does take multiple meds to keep me balanced on the balance bar that is the razors edge we teeter on.

I'm so glad you're doing this. We really do need to talk more about bipolar disorder since it is such a large number of the populous that has this disorder and refuses treatment or thinks it's curable. Early treatment is really important. You're doing something good for you and good for us all. Thanks Kevin.

Suzi Riot said...

I hope you continue to feel better and better. This must have been such a frustrating journey for you.