Suffering Through Bipolar Medication Side Effects
Tuesday, July 18 2017 Natasha Tracy
I am suffering through a long bout of bipolar medication side effects. Side effects, withdrawal effects, call them what you like, they are caused by the use of medication. And I am white-knuckling it. I know that, in my case, there are no options better than this very sucky one. But I tell you, I hate suffering through bipolar medication side effects.
Suffering with New Bipolar Medication Side Effects
My psychiatrist and I added a new medication to my cocktail a few weeks ago and I’m still in the throes of its side effects. As most people know, when you start a new medication side effects are expected, but they are also expected to wean over time. Not all will, of course, but many do. The thing about this is that “over time” is very vague and “over time” can mean months. Really. (This is why I beg people not to give up on medications too soon.)
In my case, when I started the new medication it was actually okay but as time passed and the dose increased, the side effects became debilitating. Now I really do feel like I’m hanging from a cliff for dear life barely making it through each day.
In my case, the drug took time to build up in my system and that’s why the side effects were not prompt. It is also the case that I’m taking another medication that potentiates (increases) the effects of this new medication. I didn’t realize this until my psychiatrist’s appointment last week.
Combatting Bipolar Medication Side Effects – With More Medication
And so now, in the worst of all worlds, I’ve had to get off an original medication and add another to try and handle the bipolar medication side effects I’m suffering through. No part of this is ideal. But this is a reality for many. It’s why medication cocktails suck so much. They are so complicated, you never know what will happen when you add and subtract. Everyone is just left guessing.
Continuing to Suffer from Bipolar Medication Side Effects
Some might argue that weeks of suffering is probably a bit much and the initially-added medication should go. I could see why you would say that, but it’s complicated. See, that originally-added medication is making me not want to kill myself and most would consider that quite a win.
So white-knuckle I must. I have to suffer. Bipolar treatment is about suffering – until it isn’t. I must suffer until something works. Yes, I realize this is why people don’t like treatment, but it’s also why it’s worth keeping at it. I’ve had miracle drugs/cocktails come into my life and change everything. Those effects haven’t lasted forever, but they do happen.
And while removing medication might remove side effects, it also allows the suffering of the illness to take hold with no hope of it letting up. (This isn’t true for all people. Some, maybe most, experience times of euthymia [symptom-free times] but I don’t.) So at least while I’m suffering on medication there’s hope. It’s a bleak thing, but it’s real.
I will keep on suffering through bipolar medication side effects until we find the right combination. It's worth it.