Joyful And Triumphant
That’s how I feel now that I’ve been on the lower dose of Geodon for several weeks now, and my brain hasn’t missed it! I’ve been stable even throughout surgery, pain, and hospitalization, which can trigger all sorts of mood changes. This bodes very well for continuing to decrease my medication burden to a point where I need less, or at least smaller doses of what I’m taking. Yippee!
I don’t want to get ahead of myself and start planning my next reduction, but it’s so tempting to try going down on the Zyprexa, which is what I’ll propose to Dr. Awesomesauce at my upcoming visit in July. Of course, I’m under no illusions that I’ll ever come off antipsychotics completely…..there are simply too many complications for a single mood stabilizer to handle. I don’t EVER want to go back to where I was before everything fully kicked in. But oh, it would be so great if I could stay where I am on fewer drugs.
I can’t get over how amazingly NORMAL I feel, and how long it’s lasting. The severe mood swings of the past few years seem like a bad dream from which I’ve finally awakened; the only thing that reminds me of them is those two pill-minders sitting on my dresser, and of course Will and I occasionally talk about how good things are now that the bipolar beast has been whipped into submission. I realize that taking the meds consistently is a good part of the reason I’m doing so well, but it’s also the fact that my life is essentially low-stress now that the basics are covered and we’re going to have a permanent roof over our heads.
I can’t tell you what a relief it is that little is expected of me other than being a decent citizen and a loving wife, mother, grandmother and so on. Paying bills and dealing with people has become much easier for me since we got back on our feet. I don’t have to beat my head against a wall trying to find work that I can do, because someone who’s above my pay grade decided there is no such thing. I’m not lazy—I worked my ass off when I had a job—but not being obliged to work when I’m so clearly unable to withstand the demands of a job is a gift.
So why ever would I want to risk upsetting the apple cart by trying to cut back on meds? Number one, because Dr. A wants to try and I’m willing to experiment now that I really am stable; and number two, because there needs to be a next level if/when my symptoms get out of hand again. He wants to be able to give me a PRN “take-down” drug if, say, my mania were to erupt during my trip, or a fast acting antidepressant if it’s almost time to go “downstairs”. As it is, I’m already maxed out on Lamictal, I’m on a moderate dose of Geodon and a mid-sized dose of Zyprexa. There’s a lot of room to go up on the Celexa, but he won’t give it to me because it throws me into mania at a therapeutic dose. And the Klonopin could stand an increase simply because I’m on the smallest dose they make.
But what I need is an ace in the hole, something I could take in the event of a major mood episode and for only as long as it takes to bring it under control. I’ve had so many crises in which either new drugs or higher doses have been introduced, and I never seem to be able to get off them once my system gets used to them. This needs to stop. And getting along without that 20 mg of Geodon is a good first step. Go me!