Hey, Dani here at Precarious Aquarius. I had a pretty successful last day off before beginning work tomorrow. But I was asking Diego what I should write about tonight and he mentioned I should talk about my struggles with medication.
He further explained that I should dive into what I personally take and how long it has taken to get my magic cocktail of pills just right. And how medication altering is a forever ongoing process. He also discussed my readership here at the blog and how many readers may be undiagnosed bipolar or just not have any mental health diagnosis at all…
Let me just preface this with I am not a licensed mental health professional! What I speak of is from my own story; my own personal experience and I just want others to feel less alone on this journey called life. Take it with a grain of salt or call yourself the Morton Salt Girl and enjoy the writings of my life and my journey with mental health struggles.
But like I was saying, a lot of readers may be struggling with finding a diagnosis or not knowing whether or not to take a medication or several, to go natural or use chemical agents, to go to therapy or not, ultimately, these decisions are up to you.
For me, the best choice I ever made was to remain on meds after being on and off of them for five years. Going off my meds felt like cocaine (not that I have ever tried coke, but I hear stories). Everything is euphoric and everything, even work, feels really good. Doing things, anything, feels really good. I would perform in risky behaviors such as unsafe sex with many partners with no regard to diseases I could get because I wanted the euphoria to last and having many orgasms was my way to achieve that sensation. I would gamble the night away and lose significant amounts of money each day.
Granted, “normal” me isn’t reckless or careless. Or at least pre-bipolar Dani was not careless and I suppose medicated Dani isn’t either. But unmedicated Dani provided worry to all my loved ones; I wouldn’t come home for days at a time, I cheated on Diego in 2018, I got kicked out of Diego’s house after gambling $3500 away after winning that same amount as a jackpot. I’m not saying that medication solves all the issues I had and ran into, but it could have prevented some of these things from happening.
My journey with medication goes back ten years as of this year. At fourteen, I tried my first prescribed antidepressant which was tricyclic antidepressant, I don’t remember the name. It made me feel euphoric and instantly cured and then I felt dangerously suicidal. I got off of that pretty quick and found a different antidepressant I think it was sertraline (Zoloft). That worked and then I went off the medication for two years until I found myself uncontrollably crying every day and having anger outbursts and then I realized that I may be bipolar rather than just being depressed.
I went to my old therapist and she diagnosed me with bipolar two disorder, the less severe form of bipolar. I began to see a new doctor to put me back on psychiatric meds. She put me back on the Zoloft because it had worked prior and added Abilify (an antipsychotic) for the manic frenzy. She gave me Xanax for anxiety to use as needed. The ability worked for my schizophrenic mother who sees the same doctor so she thought it would work for me.
After a few months I became suicidal with rapid cycling. She changed my antidepressant to Prozac and that helped for a while. But my moods kept changing a lot but they were less severe. During this all, I would take meds for three months and feel good and then stop because I felt better. I didn’t comprehend that bipolar is more than an antibiotic that works in your body after a weeks’ worth of pills, no; you got to keep taking the meds.
In 2019, I went on lithium and steadily went up from 0 to 1200 mg a day. The lithium had the side effect of giving me a tremor in my hands and so I took some medication for that in addition to lithium because that lithium finally made the rapid cycling go away. My hands still shake to this day regardless if I take the preventative medicine for it or not so I no longer take that.
My final concoction of medicine includes Prozac, Abilify, Lithium, Birth Control, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12. Five pills at dawn, five pills at dusk.
I share this all with you because I know some of my readers choose not to medicate and I respect personal autonomy over each individual’s life. However, it’s hard for me to sit back and watch people struggle when they refuse to help themselves. But honestly, it’s none of my business. I am just throwing my life out there in hopes it helps someone know that they aren’t alone and maybe go a more natural route like vitamins and supplements, or go to therapy, or get help in some other way.
It’s not easy to ask for help, but it is worthwhile. I went from almost homeless, with no money to my name and more debt than God and I was able to fix things with Diego, get sober, maintain a great relationship with my family and so on. But it wouldn’t be possible without meds and treatment of some kind. Health, especially mental health doesn’t have to be linear to mean success. There will be ups and downs however I am here to help you. You have resources such as family, friends, even me. There are doctors, therapists, psychologists, etc. who are wanting to help you. Just think about it.
You are not alone.