In my ten plus years since my diagnosis, I have been on so many different medications. It has been especially hard for me to keep an anti-depressant for more than a year at a time. I will talk in this blog post about my medications associated with my diagnosis of Bipolar One and what was given for depression.
One of the questions that a blogger asked of me recently was about anti-depressants. The blogger wanted me to discuss if anti-depressants have gotten better. The other part of the blogger’s question was this. Can Bipolar medication help someone get to a point of normalcy? The blogger wanted me to share my experience in this area.
So here we go.
Have Antidepressants Improved?
In my personal opinion, and my experience, anti-depressants have improved. Since my first diagnosis of severe depression, it was always anti-depressants that were given. It was the first medication I was ever given. It was about three weeks before my second diagnosis. I honestly don’t remember my first anti-depressant but it lasted only about three weeks. It was before my diagnosis of the Schizoaffective disorder, and then to my diagnosis of Bipolar One that my anti-depressant that was changed by my first real psychiatrist. These diagnosis‘ came on the heels of my first suicide attempt.
I can remember my second anti-depressant, Zoloft. I took that off and on for a year. Since then I changed anti-depressants at a rate of once a year until about two years ago. My doctor gave me a new medication called Venaflaxine that has been my most consistent anti-depressant. Of course, I don’t take just an anti-depressant for depression and my Bipolar Disorder. I take other effective medication that I have found balance.
Lithium, My Most Consistent Medication
Lithium has been with me since the beginning but there was about a year when I went off of it. But, for the most part, I have been taking lithium as my main mood stabilizer. It has some bad side effects like making me thirsty 24/7 and the uncontrollable shaking of my hands. But, my psychiatrist says it is the most effective medicine to treat Bipolar disorder.
Since going back on lithium I have seen myself gain better control over my depression. It’s not the only reason. Its a combination of that help like my anti-depressant, my mood stabilizer, and my anti-psychotic medication. Seroquel is the other medication that I take for Bipolar disorder. I have chronicled my struggles with this medicine, you can find it here.
What Does it all Mean?
To put everything into perspective, my level of anxiety that I track daily has seen a steady decrease. Over the last twelve months, I have seen my depression levels, on a scale of 1-10, go from high levels to manageable. Over the last six months, for example, I have been registering more in the 4-5 and 2-4 range for my depression most days.
There have been days where my depression will spike, but that never lasts. It has been good to finally get my depression in a manageable range. I can even see my depression disappear for weeks at a time.
Medication is a big part of it. There are other factors like diet, exercise, and the time of the year. It helps to write about it.
To answer the questions posed by my fellow blogger. Yes, anti-depressants have improved. I see them improving even more in the coming years. They now have medication that does the job of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers.
As for the question if Bipolar medicine can help you achieve some normalcy? The answer for me is yes. It’s never going to cure you, but the right combination of medication means you can feel normal most days. That in my book is a win.
So talk you your medical provider. Whether it be a psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, or wherever you get your meds. Find what works for you. Sometimes it will take trial and error. That’s okay. That’s life, to be honest. Keep working at it.
Always Keep Fighting.