I was going to write some kind of formal journal for this process, but I don’t think I would be inspired everyday to keep up with it. So, I’m just going to write about this when I feel like it. I will probably compile into some kind of more impressive article sometime in the future. Anyway, so:
I have diagnosed Bipolar Disorder (Type 2) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. It is my opinion, however, that the anxiety disorder has passed and was more a symptom or consequence of when the Bipolar had a stronger hold on me, back in the day, when I was first diagnosed and such.
This diagnosis is what propelled me further into my spiritual journey and thus I now have many new thoughts and beliefs about Bipolar Disorder/other mental illnesses, their cause and how best to treat them.
Regardless of that, I am not in disagreement with my diagnosis or ‘one of those people’ who think that modern medicine and pharmaceutical treatments do not have their place in certain circumstances when it comes to health and well-being. It’s more like – I appreciate them and support their use for short periods of time, but I know them not to be the cure now (for anything). If I had not gotten onto medication at that time in my life, simply put, I would have died. I would have killed myself if that chemical balance was not treated and levelled via the prescribed medicines.
Since being diagnosed when I was 19, (I am 23 now, by the way) I have been on an SNRI called Cymbalta (Duloxetine HCI) and Lamictal (Lamotrogine). Cymbalta treats my depression and anxiety, the Lamotrogine is used as a mood stabiliser – it manages the hypomanic symptoms/episodes, or ‘the highs’ that come with bipolar disorder (Lamotrogine is actually an anti-epileptic but is used by a lot of doctors for managing bipolar disorder type 2 as well).
The prescription was for 120mg of Cymbalta (2 60mg tablets, 1 in the morning and 1 at night) and 400mg of Lamotrogine (2 200mg tablets, 1 in the morning and 1 at night).
Two years ago I reduced the Cymbalta to just 60mg.
Last year I reduced the Lamotrogine to 300mg.
It is only in this year that the lowering of the dosages have been implemented with the intention of actually removing the medication. At first I just wanted to lower them to reduce the amount and strength of the annoying side effects that these medications cause.
This year I reduced the Cymbalta to 30mg and I reduced the Lamotrogine to 200mg.
As of two days ago, I am now taking the 30mg of Cymbalta every second day, with the intention of stopping completely in a few weeks. My doctor said that if I am managing at 30mg it’s a good sign because apparently it is not usually a prescribed amount at all because it’s so low, and is only used when people are just starting or are coming off of Cymbalta.
The Lamotrogine is sticking around for now. We will see how we go. But I am already noticing the effects of lowering the Cymbalta to this degree, which are as follows:
– Irritability/easily irritated. Irritability is a lesser known symptom of bipolar disorder – it comes under the umbrella of the hypomanic symptoms. I would not say that I am or have been feeling hypomanic properly, just the irritability part. Also, I got my period last night, so the usual affect on mood that PMS can have probably played a role in this as well.
– Increased sensitivity to emotional music, film scenes etc. This began with the 30mg even before this ‘only taking it every second day’ thing. It’s nothing drastic. It’s just a stronger swell of emotion. I find this particularly interesting because maybe it means that the medicine was suppressing not just intense depressive emotional responses, but also normal, natural ones too. Not cool, medicine, not cool.
– I am starting to see more non-physical activity e.g. energy moving through the air, faeries floating around, auras etc. As explained in this blog post, when it comes to my ability to literally see psychic stimuli with my physical eyes, as opposed to using my inner, third eye, I am still a learner.
– Yesterday I was very dizzy for about half an hour or so (had a nap after that so who knows, it may have continued if I’d stayed awake), but I am pretty sure that was mostly due to the crazy solar flares going on at the moment (far out they are intense!), but we’ll add it to the list just in case. (I am very sensitive to strong solar flare activity. See this cool website for more info about that: http://www.carliniinstitute.com/solar_flare_symptoms)
– Aaand today I have a headache. But I could just have a headache.
Conclusion – Today’s Mental Health Thought:
“I have to say that knowing how to really feel my true emotions and allowing them, identifying the thoughts that caused my emotions and allowing them, has saved me and will continue to save me. Healing those thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts, in that moment, that’s the cure. Now, breathe and repeat this in the next moment as well, and the next, and the next, and the next…. That’s the cure.”