Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.
#Seroquel #Bipolar #manicdepression #mentalillness #mania #manic #depression #depressed #medication
I’ve been inactive, uninspired, flatlined. I am unaware if I’m in a shallow low that is lasting longer due to the mood stabilizing effects of Quetiapine or if I am ‘cured’ as much as this medication will do. I’m not experiencing prolonged absolutely CRIPPLING lows. Suicidal ideation isn’t strong or regular right now and comes slowly enough that I see it a long way off. I alternate between a kind of emotional numbness and then a jittery, agitated state of disquiet leading into the usual sadness and rumination if I don’t keep on top of it.
I had read before that people talk about 200mg of Seroquel making them into a ‘zombie’. I presumed what the aforementioned author’s were talking about was the grogginess and mind fog that it brings on about an hour after taking it. I think now I understand that what was really being likened to membership of the brainless undead was this emotional fog, bringing everything in close and taking the shine off of the world. I take 600mg/day and recently I have noticed that my mood is definitely more regular, but it is hanging at a mildly low ebb.
March 14th was the last day that I felt euphoric, since then I’ve had none of the usual happy delirium and energy that I would expect when I return to my ‘normal’ level. For my entire adult life I’d taken ‘normal’ to mean when I was happy, bouncy, on-form, sleeping very little. If this seems like an obvious description of mania, I can assure you it wasn’t obvious to me until well AFTER my diagnosis and medication. In fact, this latest dry spell has been the real revelation for me that I have spent a lot of my life manic. What I felt was my baseline mood, which I deviated from into depression and back again, was mania. The truth is that I completely took for granted how much I thrive on that part of the cycle. This lack of awareness is why I originally sought help at the doctor’s office for unipolar depression.
The other revelation is that I really, REALLY don’t want to live without it. If curing me of depression also cures me of being able to be my best self – I really don’t think I want it. I’d rather have the violent swings than dip into mild depression and then come up into an agitated state where I can’t sleep and my thoughts race in an absolutely incoherent stream of consciousness. Life right now is a pretty gray affair. I can socialise, I don’t do particularly well at it and I worry that I’m just a bit of an annoyance. I can function well enough to work almost all of the time. I don’t feel like writing, I don’t feel like drawing. I’ve taken on a project right now that is epic in scale and there are time’s I’m having to force myself.
I can get by, but awful ruminations are prompted when I ask the question “Do I want to ‘get by’ feeling this flat for the rest of my life?”. This is the question that lurks in the dark waiting to jab at me when I go to bed.
The worst is laying awake with my mind behaving like an internal strobe light. I feel physically jittery and toss and turn for hours, despite the sedative effect from my medication. I just lay there groggy and hyperactive intermittently. I recently abandoned coffee/caffeine because I thought it was the reason I was occupying this mixed state of an evening. I know now that it’s source is closer to home, somewhere between my ears.
So – what I need to know is who out there has experienced this on Seroquel/Quetiapine? I am tempted to go into my doctor earlier than I wanted to and mention this to him. Has changing medication helped you? Which med did you add to the cocktail/switch to? Have any of you gone off your meds because you cannot live without your mania? I need to hear from you.
Thanks in advance and all the best,