Bipolar, Mania, Medication, Mood Stabiliser, Psychiatrist, Psychosis, Treatment

Lithium – Love It or Hate It

I’ve been put on lithium after being told by my psychiatrist, let’s call him Doc now, that my bipolar has brought me to the edge of psychosis and that I am at real risk of becoming completely manic. I become very upset at hearing that I have to go back on the dreaded lithium, the last time I tried it I plummeted into a dark and desperate depression. I was not able to function. Rob became my carer, there is no exaggeration there. Rob had to do everything for me. I was not able to take care of myself. I couldn’t shower, clean, I could barely work, and there were endless sick days. I wanted to die, I just didn’t have tpill-manhe energy or will to do the job. If I didn’t have rob looking after me every day I wouldn’t be here today, and I truly believe that. I was depressed for over a year. I’m not ready to go back to that. 

 I ask him several times if I will lose this high or my creativity. I only got out of the depression about a month or two ago. “We need to get your lithium dose right before we break for Christmas. I don’t want to lose any time. We don’t want you to end up in hospital.” It can’t be that bad. I leave his office furious. I absolutely hate everything. I feel betrayed by the world and the powers that be. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I can stay high and not go insane. How does he know for sure that I will have to be hospitalised with lithium?

 I share my fears with Rob and he reminds me that I may not fall into a depression as did the Doc. The Doc thinks I was heading for a depression after being high for so long. I plead with Rob and ask him if I can hold off starting lithium for a few days, he agrees. Can I hold off forever? I ask. He laughs and ever so gently says “That’s a little bit longer than a few days.” I ask him countless times If he would start taking them right away. We both agree that if I am going to take them anyway I might as well start now.

 Today is the second day since being on lithium and I’ve been struggling to stay awake. Today I had a large can of red bull followed by a small can of red bull. I’m trialing Ritalin again to see if I can bring back some focus and concentration to my work. Even after all of that I can’t keep my eyes open. As the day goes on and my caffeine and Ritalin so quickly wear off I am slowly becoming fuzzier. I can’t focus but it’s different to the symptoms of late. My brain feels empty. It’s quiet in my mind, too quiet. I know this fog is temporary, at least I hope it is. I feel sick when I eat and the muscles in my legs ache, they feel so heavy and leaden, even walking is difficult today.

 I know the importance of me taking my medication strictly. I know it keeps me from losing my mind, it keeps me alive. I know that it is exactly the same as taking medication for diabetes or any other physical illness but at the same time I don’t believe that. I know that others don’t believe it either. I know it is saving me but I cannot accept the fact that I have to be on medication long term, maybe for the rest of my life. I can never accept that which is why I always take myself off my medication when I’m feeling better or decide that I am sick of being on it at all. I struggle to come to terms with the fact that I need this medication just to exist somewhat normally. At the moment I am highly functioning but I also know that it is just a matter of time until I lose my grip on reality and my sanity. I also know that my mental illness affects others, especially my loving husband. I know that I need to be better for him. So once again I commit to lithium, I know I may not stay on them but I am going to try.

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