Mania or Depression or Ennui?

I’ve been thinking of going off my meds. Several people have discouraged me from doing it, citing deleterious side effects, including seizures and the inevitable crash. Several have insisted I do so only under a doctor’s supervision. One person reminded me of a med wash I did in the hospital a few years ago, when a doctor took me off all my meds in order to start me on new ones. That was miserable.

Somehow I still feel like I need to go off my meds. It IS something of a gut feeling with no rational logic to it (though my therapist says it is logical – see below). I know that there will be side effects initially. Yet I persist in this belief that it would be a good idea. I’m feeling agitated and frustrated and desperate for a change. I suppose I’m hoping that going off my meds will lead to a manic episode which would be different and life would be exciting again. I miss my old life. A lot.

I finally contacted my therapist, and he immediately called me back after a text. He said it DID sound logical, that in my quest to feel better – to feel like I used to – when I wasn’t on meds – I would rationally think Not being on meds made sense. So maybe I’m not crazy in my ideas? He encouraged me to call my psychiatrist. I explained that he didn’t know me yet after just one visit. He said it would still be a good idea.

So I called my psychiatrist finally. He thought I might be experiencing depression. I have been what I call “slightly depressed” – still functional, not in despair or suicidal, but still feeling lethargic, sad, unhappy with life. So maybe I am more depressed even with this agitation. I was thinking that maybe I was starting to experience some mania or dysphoric mania with the agitation. Or maybe ennui with my dissatisfaction with life and a need for more excitement (hence, inducing a manic episode). But maybe I’m just more depressed. Does it even matter what mood state I’m in?

Oh, and he insisted I stay on my meds. Right. As expected. Same as everyone.

My therapist helpfully returned me to my values and asked what action would be in line with them. This is a major tenet of ACT, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, something that works for me. In my previous post I outlined a few of them, including Health and Independence. For the life of me, I can’t decide which action is more healthy: going off my meds to bring back the more meaningful life I had, or staying on my meds to treat bipolar and keep the life I have, as someone in treatment for life. And which would give me more independence? Not being on meds?

I know you all are going to tell me to stay on my meds or only to go off them with my doctor’s supervision. That’s what I tell everyone too. Stay in treatment! Maybe my meds aren’t working anymore and I need new ones. Maybe I’m in a mood state and I need to remind myself that it is not permanent, none of them have been, and I’ll cycle out of it eventually. I’m choking down the meds right now. I don’t have to. The choice is mine. I don’t know what is in line with my values or even which I fear more, the side effects or staying the way I am.

8 responses to “Mania or Depression or Ennui?

  1. I guess what stands out to me in your post is the potential hole in the idea that going off meds would bring back the more meaningful life you had. For myself I’ve come to the conclusion that the med-free days of wellness I used to be able to have are just not something the course of my illness will allow anymore.

  2. Ugh, I sure understand that struggle… and for me, if I go off medication – which of course I’ve done because I want my normal, happy ‘old self’ back – it doesn’t end well long-term. And I was never really ‘normal’ back then, I just didn’t know it. 🙂 I hope you find some balance soon!

  3. Hello! Just found your blog, so glad I did. Diagnosed (officially) as of today. Whatever your decision, you’re free to change your mind. Always keep your therapist and Dr # handy.

  4. Haha I am going to encourage this. But also tell you it will be difficult and the suicidal thoughts are the biggest risk. If you live in a big city you might be able to find a naturopathic or Orthomolecular psychiatrist who can help you taper off and replace with nutrients that can help. I’m still in the process of recovery having tapered off my meds a couple months ago and I take a lot of supplements to help. I’m happier and healthier now but it was a struggle and some days are still a struggle. Anyways, my blog might help! // betterbipolar.wordpress.com

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