Medication Talk

bipolar medications

I take 6 pills every day for my bipolar disorder. That may sound like a lot to some of you and for some of you it may sound next to nothing. I have friends who take well over a dozen pills each day. What meds do they take? I’m not going to tell you. What meds do I take? I’m not going to tell you that either. You see, I try to keep this blog a med free topic zone.

Looking back, I found a couple of posts where I mentioned what meds I’m taking, but that has been far more the exception rather than the rule. I’ll talk generally about meds, but avoid calling them by name and I do that for a good reason. I don’t want to influence someone to try or not try a specific med, because what may work for me may not work for you, and vice versa.

I first learned this good rule by attending a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) meeting in my area. Each meeting begins with a list covering what the meetings are and are not. One of the rules is,

Group participants do not seek to diagnose, and support groups do not endorse or recommend the use of any specific treatment or medication.

There’s a very good reason for this rule. One evening, at my support group, a participant brought his mother along. During that meeting I made the mistake of saying that my doctor put me on drug XYZ and it made me violent. That’s right, I became violent and attacked Maurice. Fortunately, I did not hurt him. The mother that was there wrote the name of the drug down and told me she is going to make sure to tell her son’s doctor that he absolutely is not to prescribe that medication. Despite my protests, she refused to back down and said, “ What are these meetings about if we don’t discuss things like this?” I tried to explain to her that we meet to share what we’re feeling and what’s going on in our life, and non-medicinal ways to cope, but we don’t meet give medical advice. I got nowhere. She wouldn’t back down.

Why did I find it necessary to argue with the woman regarding the med that I named? Because the XYZ drug I referred to is one that is used by thousands, hell, maybe millions of people every day. It helps people to live better lives. Works for some, but not others, is the funny thing about meds…it’s the frustrating thing too. We all must go through the trial and error method to make the determination. It took my doctor and I about three years to find the right cocktail that works for me. It was a difficult three years, but based on my life today, it was worth it.
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

17 comments on Medication Talk

  1. Hello dear B,

    While I totally understand your blog med-free rule (and your DBSA group rule) I shall be the angel’s 😉 advocate.

    I do make a point of sharing exactly what I take on my blog: an MAOI + lithium. I do this because it’s not well-known that MAOI’s *can be* very effective for treatment-resistant bipolar depression, especially when combined with lithium.

    Doctors are hesitatnt to prescribe the old-school MAOI ‘s primarily of the dietary restrictions, but they are very do-able and if the medication works, abstaining from alcohol & high-tyramine foods is extremely worth it.

    By sharing this specific med. info. on my blog, I’ve never had any fallouts as far as I know. I have had one person contact me to thank me. -After she read my posts about MAOI’s, she tried one when 30+ other meds did not help her, and it was lifesaving.

    1. I think what you share is a fine example of when it might be helpful. I’m more concerned about “You should try lithium. It’s great!” or, “Don’t take Lamictal. It made me sick.”

      I have shared when people have privately asked via my contact form, but I always stress that we’re all different. From the way you’ve written yours, it comes across as you’re doing the same.

      You have my permission to proceed, Captain

  2. I’m on 3 for my bipolar/anxiety/depression,my med cocktail as I call it on top of a migraine med and a thyroid pill so together 5 pills all together, my husband calls me the walking pharmacy, my dr said there’s no way I’m the walking pharmacy he has patience that are on 50+ pills a day if not more, 5 pills is nothing,lol. Happy medicine cocktails tonight, we’re going to need it for the election!

    1. I have of a couple of people who take around 20 pills a day, but I couldn’t imagine taking 50. That would take up my entire morning. Sounds like you’re happy with the mix you’re using. I’m mostly happy with mine. As for the election, I think I need to take some valium and crawl into bed ’til morning.

  3. I mention which medications I’m on, and talk about my thyroid woes just in case there’s someone searching for information on the subject. Since I know I had a hard time finding any connection between Lithium and my particular thyroid issues. I look at it this way, it’s no worse than the large list of side effects you can look up for any drug on the internet through web MD/ various chatrooms/ message boards. But I respect that you have chosen to not go into it, because yeah, sometimes people get an idea in their head and will not be talked out of it.

    1. I do understand where you’re coming from, especially given you have the two separate medical issues which, I presume, can affect each other. I can see why you would share that.

  4. I’m glad you and your doctor found the right mix of medications for you. I’m with you… I rarely ever say the meds I’m on, I try to not ever say the actual name. I just say antidepressant. Because meds can have different side effects on different people, and what I take may not be right for someone else.

    1. Keeping vague by saying I’m on antidepressants, etc is the same thing I do for the same reasons.

  5. I’m always amazed how tiny differences in chemistry between one person and the next make such a difference to the correct drugs. It must be a very frustrating time early on, trying different meds until the correct ones are found.

    1. It was an extremely difficult period, primarily when first taking a new med. Most have negative side effects that can last anywhere from a few days to over a month. That’s why so many people stop taking meds because they don’t wait for the side effects to pass.

    1. Exactly, and I’d hate to influence someone who may or may not choose a medication based on my comments.

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