The Bipolar Bum

Backpacking and Bipolar II. Taking Manic Depression on tour.

Seroquel – The chemical fun police

#Seroquel #Bipolar #manicdepression #mentalillness #mania #manic #depression #depressed #medication

 

Wake, work, wok, wait to wake.

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,

H&J

 

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18 comments on “Seroquel – The chemical fun police

  1. Phyllis Engle
    23/04/2014

    I was in remission for two years, and it was fantastic! I was, dare I say…. Normal! Recently I have been playing the “Get an appointment to see the psych” game. Until I can get in, my family doc gave me an rx for seroquel since I was on it before. THANK GOD! Because I was having bad mania (for me) and extra violent episodes. My last appoinment she gave me some Wellbutrin because now that the mania and violent episodes have ceased, I now have the yucky depression. Since taking this combo, I’m doing ok… and I am in a safe mode until I get in to see the psych. Back in 2011 I was on 300 mg of Seroquel. I can tell you I was a zombie. I missed out on a lot of things with my kids, and I was stuck in bed because I couldn’t function. While, in my opinion, Seroquel is great, it can also be bad, if not on the proper dose. What you describe is classic symptoms of a person on Seroquel. You may want to ask if you can decrease it a bit, or add a mood stabilizer if you are not on one currently (or maybe increase THAT is you are on one.)

    Like

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      24/04/2014

      I think decreasing the dose feels most logical right now. My moods aren’t unstable, I think thats the real problem. I had gotten used to mania being my ‘normal’. I only knew something was wrong when I got depressed. I completely took my mania for granted until now.

      Cheers for the reply and I sincerely hope your depression lifts. Remember, they always end and it isn’t permanent.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  2. Nectar Madness
    24/04/2014

    For me, seroquel helps with my psychosis. I have hallucinations & delusions. It also helps with the insomnia. I take it with lithium and abilify. I believe the combo prevents me from feeling flat or foggy. I tend to have more mania than depression, and yes, in the past I have discontinued my meds due to a desire for a manic state. It’s a struggle to remain committed to taking them, but I have to think about my wife and child. An episode would be the worst thing for them, and cause problems. I do love (most parts of) being manic though.

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    • drheckleandmrjibe
      24/04/2014

      Thanks a lot for your comment, NM. I have delusions but (to my knowledge) I don’t have hallucinations. The delusions are a relatively recent discovery though so I keep an open mind. If your cocktail works for you it might be a place I can start.

      Did your doctor dial you up on one drug at a time or put you on Lithium and the Abilify together?

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

      • Nectar Madness
        25/04/2014

        I was taking trileptal for a few years when I had a terrible manic/mixed episode. So my doctor took me off of the trileptal and put me on the seroquel, lithium, and abilify all at once. I’d tried seroquel some 10 years earlier, but I don’t believe I was on it more than a couple of months.

        It really depends on what your strongest symptoms are. For me, it’s mania & psychosis, rather than depression, which I get only sometimes. The lithium and abilify both have strong side effects (tremors, hair loss, acne, akathisia, etc.), so I recommend reading up on them first.

        I’ve been on many different cocktails over the past 13yrs & I’m glad to have found something that works for me at this time. I know it could always change. Good luck to you! I hope you find your combo and some peace of mind 🙂

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  3. robin1967
    24/04/2014

    Seroquel is no longer part of my regular drug regimen, I take it only when I get suicidally depressed now. When I do take it, it definitely turns me into a zombie (I take 300 mg twice daily), and I hate it… Good luck…

    Liked by 1 person

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      24/04/2014

      Cheers Robin! In that case I hope you don’t need it any time soon.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  4. Kate
    24/04/2014

    I take 400mg along with Lexapro. I’ve been on it for about 3 months now and I’m just starting to feel less of a zombie. But I agree, life is more or less grey most of the time and I rarely see the colors. I wonder too if maybe I should try a different medication…something more life giving. But it is so hard to switch meds and get used to new side effects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      24/04/2014

      If I try anything new and get a positive response I’ll definitely let you know, Kate. I think longer term I might prefer to deal with depression as it happens and enjoy life when it isn’t happening. This is easy to say though while I sit here perfectly ‘fine’ and not suicidal.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  5. stockdalewolfe
    24/04/2014

    I could not function at all on Seroquel. It was paralyzing. And it has such a nice name. Not for me. Go into your doctor early and ask to switch. It is YOUR life and you deserve the best. My current cocktail is Thiothixene 7 mg., Zyprexa 2.5 mg. Artane (for side effects) 4 mg., Klonopin 1.5 mg. and research grade St. John’s wort 3x/day. I am not “cured” and I still cycle like mad and the doc wants me to re-try Lithium which I am getting up the courage to do. Everyone is different. Keep trying things till you find something that let’s you be you but protects you from being suicidal. Lots of good luck! Call the doc!

    Liked by 1 person

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      24/04/2014

      Well, I at least know what works as far as levelling me out I suppose. I do worry about future side effects but I reckon the worst side effect would be having a life of monotony punctuated by less regular and less powerful depressions. I’ll have to see the doc at some point soon.

      Thanks for the well-wishes! If it helps, the majority of things I’ve read about Lithium has been positive.

      All the best,
      H&J

      Like

  6. I am actually relieved to see this post. I am currently on Seroquel and I’ve had no idea why I’ve been feeling so numb, foggy and like I was simply just trying to do things so the day would end. Exactly how you said ‘just getting by’ I was put on the Seroquel as a mood stabilizer as well as to help with my insomnia. I didn’t realize that my mood would would be stabilized to just feeling constantly “meh” I haven’t taken it in awhile as I feel like it makes me feel overtired during the day. However without it, I have so many issues falling asleep. Anyone have recommendations on some better meds to help with sleep?

    Liked by 1 person

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      24/04/2014

      It helps me with the sleeping too most of the time. I can’t recommend anything else for sleep I’m afraid other than a piece of software called F.lux. It limits the blue light emitted from things like phones and computer monitors/T.Vs so that your melatonin (I think) levels don’t suffer. The blue spectrum of light halts your sleep hormones from reaching levels where your body is prompted into deep sleep.

      Like

  7. For the first time in my life i understand why people go off meds other then the maddening angry or of control moments i miss the fuzzy chaos that was my mental reality buffer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. glenn2point0
    08/05/2014

    I am on 800mg, 400mg am & pm. But I have spoken to my GP about dropping back in the near future to see how I go. It’s the sleeping 12 hours that is the problem. I recently tried adding zoloft in but that, even at a low dose, made me tremulous. Sometimes I do feel like a zombie, but I will take that any day over the previous racing, disordered, delusional & suicidal thoughts. But I do miss the old energy levels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • drheckleandmrjibe
      08/05/2014

      You’re leading the med-race at 800mg I think, Glenn. Thanks a lot for the reply. I’m really, REALLY new to medications in general, I’m new to my diagnosis and new to Quetiapine so hearing from you folks that have the experience is a huge help, even if it just confirmation.

      I tried zoloft and at 100mg/day (I think it was) – it prompted the worst depression in recent years. I don’t think Sertraline agrees with me at all.

      Thanks a lot,
      H&J

      Like

  9. tunebeach
    01/06/2014

    I like your apt descriptions, drhmrj. I have not been diagnosed as bipolar, but am pretty sure I am. It seems I, too, crave the mania…and have a hard time believing I should have to give it up. I have taken myself off of a sleep aid several times due to the agitation in the middle of the night that you describe. I am now simply allowing myself to be awake, (3am-6am every night) and rather than allow my mind to circle in horribly angry, guilty or depressed thoughts, I journal or write letters. My thoughts are not nearly so angry off the sleep aid, so it’s possible to avoid angry letters….and I’ve learned not to send them until morning if they are. I probably should not even post here, being that I am not quite in the same boat. I know meds are totally necessary for many, many people…I’m just hoping to manage this without…I promise to seek help if things get worse. I am extremely lucky to have a job where I can take naps as needed (I work from home). I am of the opinion that a lot of our problems are from trying to sleep when our bodies tell us we shouldn’t. Before the industrial revolution everyone just expected to have two phases of sleep…so I’m exploring that possibility. Maybe your emotions didn’t start with trying to manage sleep or with sleep issues? I would be interested to know… It does help to see other intelligent people going through similar things, and my heart goes out to you all.

    Like

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