Saying "Yes" to Bipolar Medication

February 11, 2010 Cristina Fender

At this past appointment, my psychiatric nurse offered to add another 300 mg of Lithium to my bipolar medication cocktail. She wrote me out a prescription and I accepted it tentatively. Do I want to be more medicated? Do I want the side effect of shakes to return? What am I doing?

lithium_censored-170x127Accepting medication is often a spur in a Bipolar's back. It's necessary, but it's so damn hard to accept. It's even harder to accept that bipolar disorder medication is the only thing keeping my life in check. Sometimes I wish that I could go off the medication. I wish I had the freedom to choose. But then I remember my family. There is no choice.

It's hard enough being on bipolar medication and living with my bipolarism.

A wise doctor once told me that medication won't make bipolar disorder go away, it would just manage it. I think of that statement every once in a while and I sigh. How I wish I didn't have to fight so hard to stay sane!

But I do. And so I swallow 1200 mg of Lithium and 60 mg of Geodon daily. Every day my alarm on my iTouch goes off and I march to the bathroom at 6:00 P.M. to ingest the mother lode of capsules and tablets. Some days I sigh with longing. I wish this wasn't me.

Night time is a little better. I only have to swallow two pills to get to sleep. One little blue Ambien and one tiny Xanax. I wish I didn't have to take them, but I can't sleep without them. And we all know what little sleep leads to. I do not cherish the feelings of anxiety and the auditory and visual hallucinations that mania brings to me like a bad horror movie.

To take bipolar medication or not becomes the question of the day sometimes.

But, I remember the hellish period of time when insanity took over my head and the medication for bipolar disorder issue doesn't become a question any longer. I can't subject my family to that. If it was horrible for me, I can only imagine how it would be to look at how quickly I deteriorate without proper medication.

So, will I add the extra 300 mg of Lithium to my bipolar medication cocktail? I'm not sure. I still have bad days but they aren't the worst in the bunch. But, I feel unbalanced. I don't feel like my best self. It's hard to get there even though I'm trying really hard to get there. I don't want the shakes. It's embarrassing when a stranger asks what's wrong with you.

Ok, so I guess the worst that could happen is that I shake too much. I want to feel better, so I'm going to take the plunge. I'm going to take the recommended bipolar medication. Wish me luck.

Bipolar Medication Video

Take a look at this video on bipolar medication where I discuss some of the medications I take and the bipolar medication side-effects I sometimes experience.

APA Reference
Fender, C. (2010, February 11). Saying "Yes" to Bipolar Medication, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Cristina Fender

Debbie Goldston
April, 28 2010 at 4:04 am

I too have had to reinforce to myself that not taking meds or even backing off some of the dosages of my meds is not an option. I have had family members comment that "you sure do take a lot of medication everyday". Mostly I respond that "it is better to keep on these prescribed medications than what we all know the alternative is". I have given family informational material on bipolar disorder, but in my family, avoidance of the issue is easier than researching the problem. I don't discuss my symptoms much with my family because it seems to overwhelm them. But, when I am having some symptoms occur and explain that I think I am overwhelmed by the bipolar issue, I have been accused of using bipolar as an excuse for making poor choices. Are there any ideas for a response to those types of statements or is it best to keep the explanation of bipolar symptoms to myself?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
April, 28 2010 at 12:49 pm

I had a friend that told me that I take too much medication. I'm no longer friends with her because of it. She couldn't understand that I'm not like everybody else and that bipolar is a real illness. I think that's why I don't share my story with everyone. As far as I'm concerned everybody's on a need to know basis.

April, 25 2010 at 2:11 pm

i just want to say it is so good to hear this coming from somebody else. it seems like every time i go to the pdoc he adds more meds, and it is always just one more pill i really dont want to take. and you are right about the shakes; the asking about the shaking doesn't bother me, i just say it is a medication i am on. but then they ask what it is for and that is hard.
bipolar is tough to live with, but we can do it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
April, 26 2010 at 2:03 am

Yes, it's tough adding more meds. Sometimes I wonder what good it does, but I take my medicine like a good little girl in the hope that I'm wrong.
Maybe next time you can say that you're on medication for a personal medical condition. People don't like to pry once you've said that.

February, 19 2010 at 11:14 am


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 19 2010 at 11:09 pm

I would recommend Ambien for sleeping. It's been a godsend for me. I hope it will work just as well for your friend.
Thanks for the comment.

February, 11 2010 at 12:25 pm

I watched someone close to me relapse when they went off their meds. They have told me over and over that they will never do that again. Like you, family is too important and hospital is not an option.
For me the lifelong commitment came when I realized I wasn't fixed after a year, and I wouldn't be after five years. This is not a cure, nor is there a reset in the brain. I figure after psychosis, my brain is changed permanently. I have to take meds that almost fix it completely.
Almost is killer, but then without it I would have a HOLE. I'd rather be almost whole.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 11 2010 at 11:07 pm

That is wise advice. I especially like your metaphor that I will never be whole, but at least there's not a gaping hole in my chest.
But, still I hope for more. I dream of being able to deal with this disorder like it was merely an annoying little fly buzzing around my head. I dream of being more complete.

February, 11 2010 at 5:41 am

What made it easier to accept my medication and the fact that I'd have to take it for the rest of my life was when my doctor compared it to any physical condition that requires lifetime medication. For example, if you have diabetes you'd have to take insulin for the rest of your life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cristina Fender
February, 11 2010 at 10:28 am

I think about medicine in that way, too. If I had heart problems I would be on meds for the rest of my life.
Don't you think that it sounds so final? Hearing that makes me sad, but it's bearable.

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