The quest for the right cocktail




I so badly wanted being bipolar to be about getting diagnosed and sent home with some simple meds. No side effects, no drama. I have an autoimmune disease that's played out like that - minimal changes, minimal fuss. But being bipolar doesn't really pan out like that, huh?


For a lot of us, it might take some time to find the right "cocktail." And even then, with life changes, seasonal changes, changes in brain chemistry, weight changes etc we might have to start all over again!


It can be so frustrating to try a seemingly endless amount of meds, with what sometimes feels like too little progress. You try being patient, giving it time, you try to put up with irritating side effects. It can all be so uniquely painful, this burden that's placed upon our shoulders.


But the more meds you remain open to, the greater your chances of finding the ones that do bring peace and quiet, the ones that work with your personal chemistry and circumstances. It's not easy, and it might keep on not being easy: I'm talking about the careful documenting of moods and side effects, medication costs, side effects that won't go away, regular blood work, etc.


Bipolar disorder can wreak some serious havoc - we all know that. And it can take some pretty powerful drugs to keep it in check. That doesn't feel warm and fuzzy, at least to me - I'm one of those earth mother granola girls myself. There will always be a part of me that wishes there were a more "natural" cure, or alternative to psych meds.


But I've made a commitment to viewing these drugs as the life-saving miracles they are, and to work with them. To find a way to live with them and make my peace with them. To keep an eye on side effects and bring them up to my psych, but to accept that some side effects are non-negotiable and overall worth it.


The roller-coaster of med changes (especially when you first get diagnosed) is enough to wear out anyone. But if you hang in there, you will give yourself a beautiful chance at good health, that quiet calm and contented feeling. You are worth fighting for, however arduous the journey might be. We all deserve a real chance at happiness.


Tips:

  1. Keep a log of when you start a certain med and of its effects (mood, body, and cognitive-wise.) This is definitely an annoying chore but it really helps keep vitally important info straight.

  2. Be open to new drugs suggested by your psych. Even if you read 173432784 accounts online about how they didn't work for someone (remember, people mostly go online to complain, not rave about a drug.) Every med interacts differently with different people, and all you gotta do is try.

  3. Don't compare your cocktail to anyone else's. You are you and your only focus should be on your own health.

  4. Whatever works for you is the goal. Bipolar disorder can be treated with a wide variety of drugs - it's all about buckling in and staying mindful that it can be quite a ride to sift through all these meds.

Here's to finding the right rainbow!

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