Bumped Up

lithium-carbonate-extended-releaseI saw my psychiatrist yesterday.  I told him I’ve been hypomanic off and on for a few months so he bumped up my lithium.  He indicated that it might not be permanent, but I suspect that it will be.

The thing is, I feel that it is some sort of failure.  I’ve prided myself on how low my doses have been and how well I’ve done, which is absurd if you think about it.  Although there are lifestyle choices I can make which contribute to my mental health, it feels like it’s mainly out of my control.  It was medicine, particularly lithium, which made me well in the first place

Besides the sense of failure, I wonder what the consequences will be.  The dose I was on with lamictal, geodon, and lithium was slowing my cognitive function.  It was affecting my job significantly.   My doctor’s solution was for me to go off gluten.  It worked very well.  So will it be enough?  It will take a little while before I know that.

If I’m honest, I’ve been doing more of a low-gluten diet than a gluten-free one.  My current job is far less demanding intellectually.  I rationalize my desire to eat apple fritters in the morning with thinking that I don’t need to be as smart to do my current job.

But the question of failure is bothersome.  Why do I feel this way?  My first thought is that there’s a lot of pressure on the mentally ill to stay well.  When we don’t, we worry that we are disappointing someone.  That’s a form of failure, and I do believe it is related to this, but it’s not exactly the same.  Perhaps my pride is injured.  I’ve written and spoken about how I’m a model bipolar.  I’m compliant, as professionals say.  And yet and I’m struggling to be healthy lately.

I also wonder if this disorder is progressing.  I don’t think it is something I’m doing.  If anything I’m doing more to support my health.  I quit drinking.  I quit smoking.  I started swimming again.  But the signs are there.  I’m getting intense.  I’m getting chatty.  I’m getting flirty.  I’m making mountains out of mole hills.  I’m both obsessed and disinterested.  I’m having trouble sleeping.  It’s definitely happening.

When I mentioned to my daughter, who has bipolar, that I bumped up my lithium because I felt that I was hypomanic over the last few months she said, “Ya think?!!!”  I didn’t realize how obvious it was.

It’s not just mental health issues that we feel bad about.  We feel bad when we have to up our insulin because it means we didn’t manage our diet well.  We feel bad when we have to up our blood pressure medicine because we didn’t manage it well enough.  We feel bad when we get gingivitis because we didn’t floss and brush enough.  We have a love/hate with medicine.  We’re glad that we have it and we hate that we need it.

My meds have radically changed my life mainly for the best.  This formula has worked for me for several years.  Maybe I just hate change.



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