Thursday, August 31, 2006

Maybe sometimes dumb is smart

In the course of my hectic summer, I occasionally missed a few doses of my meds, a hiccup in my regimen that I studiously avoid when I'm feeling unstable. Oddly enough though, I noticed something a bit unusual. I actually started feeling better when I missed my meds than when I was taking them. I regained a bit of my motivation and eagerness to participate in the world. And so, when I misplaced my drugs on a recent roadtrip, I wasn't overly concerned about finding them again.

To make a long story short, over the course of about two months, those hiccups became more frequent and finally, I decided to take the plunge and stop taking my meds altogether, a choice I'd reviewed in hypothetical terms with my shrink. After all, I am at that childbearing age and I don't want three-headed, four-armed children thankyouverymuch.

Of course, as I'm prone to do, I'm thinking about the complexities of my decision to stop taking my meds and the potential consequences thereof. I mean, obviously I feel fine now but that could easily change in a month. So why stop taking them and what changed that I went from needing my meds to apparently not needing them?

First and foremost, I think one thing that's important to understand about meds is that they are imperfect solutions. Lithium doesn't only block lows, it blocks highs as well. Antidepressants don't only keep some highly nasty emotions at bay, they also pack on unsightly pounds and quash healthy sex drives. There is no such thing as a medication without a side effect.

The question is, when is the side effect worth the benefit? When is the cure worse than the disease?

Personally, I think one of the follies of current psychiatry is the concept that the medicinal cocktail that worked for me two years ago will work for me now. Brains change just like my skin ages and my hair style evolves. Maybe...hopefully...something in my chemistries shifted and I don't need to take my meds anymore. Or at least, not for the moment. Maybe in six months, I'll be back on the pill popping wagon.

But for now, I'm drug free. I'll keep y'all posted on how that's working for me.

And, in the meantime, while I'm not taking any prescription drugs, I do still take my daily multivitamin and an omega-3 supplement.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Well duh!

I'm not sure why people are at all surprised when research concludes that medication and therapy combined are more effective than either medication or therapy alone. What surprises me is that in the long run, a combination of medication and therapy actually proves more cost effective than medication alone.

Of course, we're not talking about bullshit therapy that involves staring at pretty colors, breathing jasmine scented air and rambling about past lives or our unusual relationship with dairy products. That crap is a waste of time and money. We're talking about therapy that actually addresses functional strategies for coping with a major illness and said illness' impact on every aspect of our lives.

In an entirely unrelated note, the above linked article lists bipolar disorder under psychoses. Frankly, that classification is incorrect. A psychoses implies a separation from reality that is not always present in bipolar disorder, hence BP's classification as a mood disorder as opposed to a thought disorder. The distinction is so important and obvious that it made me hesitant to link to the site at all and in fact, if the article wasn't syndicated, I wouldn't have done so. Grumble grumble.