More Medication

Last Saturday (a week ago today) I hit rock bottom. I mean by that that I was fighting the urge to swallow all the pills in the house on a minute by minute basis. Who would have thought that staying alive could be THAT exhausting ... It's not so much that I desperately wanted to die but rather that I desperately wanted out of the torment I was in.

To keep suicide ideation (the technical term for it) at bay, this is what I usually do. I think of all the people I love - principally my close family to keep me focused: my husband, my son and his family, my parents, my brother and his family.  I think of them hard because I know I love them - I know it and yet I cannot feel it. My head knows it and yet my heart is numb. Next I focus on them from the mirror point of view: they  love me. I know they love me. I remember it and yet I cannot feel it. I keep telling myself over and over that I cannot destroy myself as this would hurt them more than I can bear the thought of. I would be leaving them with a double deadly legacy: grief and guilt. Why couldn't they stop me? What should they have done that they didn't? etc. And so I go round and round this double-sided love circle of people who are precious to me and to whom I am precious without feeling a thing. This in itself is soooo distressing that I have to stop after a while or else my 'survival technique' turns against me like a pet dog who suddenly bites the hand that feeds it. Let's face it: it's bloody awful stuff.

A good friend and neighbour who also happens to be an insomniac often texts me in the middle of the night. Last week she asked me how I was doing and I told her the truth. She kicked my butt: "You've suffered enough!" she said. "Call the doctor". It's interesting how it can take another person to point out the obvious: enough is enough. We who have chronic conditions get used to pain. We're not brave, we're not heroes: we've got no choice. The down side of this habituation (another technical term) is that we can let things go on for too long. I did.

My psychiatrist said I should up my dose of medication (Carbamazepine - also known as Tegretol) from 500mg daily (a maintenance dose) to 700mg daily (a crisis dose, which incidentally I can increase to 800 mg/day without worrying about it). The trick was not to take it all in one dose at night to avoid the ghastly side-effect of manic itching but to keep on taking my 500mg at night and add 200mg in the morning. I must say that the first day on the new dose saw an immediate improvement. I woud not say I felt brilliant but as least I could bear being alive. Oh boy did that feel good!

A week on, I have maintained my greater sense of comfort even though I don't have much energy and feel very tired. My sleep seems to have improved a bit so that will help me feel less wiped out during the day. That's the good stuff.

The not so good stuff is that my weight has increased by a couple of pounds this week and it might not stop there. I could do with losing forty pounds so I guess two pounds more or less aren't going to make that much difference but it's extra weight I do not need.

I have been asked a few times what medication I am on so here it is: at the moment I take  40mg Citalopram + 200mg Carbamazepine (Tegretol)  in the morning; 500mg Carbamazepine (Tegretol) at night. On a maintenance regime I take less Carbamazepine as I have already indicated.

I have also been asked what medications I have tried in the past so here is the list in alphabetical order:

Amitriptyline   (
Chlorpromazine   (
Depakote   (
Dothiepin   (
Fluoxetine   (
Lithium carbonate   (
Lofrepamine    (
Mirtazapine    (
Olanzapine   (
Quetiapine (Seroquel)  (  
Proclycidine   (
Zimovane/Zoplicone    (

And as many of you already know when I failed to respond to most medications I had two series of ECT (Electro Convulsive Therapy):

Series 1:  June - July 07
Series 2: Oct 07 to Mar 08

I have written about my experience with Electro Convulsive Therapy on this blog so just type 'ECT' in the search field and you will have access to the relevant blog entries.

There was a time when I felt I was a lost cause. I thought I was going to die and that was it. At least nowadays I only think that regularly but not constantly. That's an improvement and I owe it to medication. It irks me to say so because psychotropic medication is sooo heavy to carry.

BUT I promised I would always be honest on this blog so I can't start lying now can I....  :D

I enjoyed your blog very much

I enjoyed your blog very much today. I've been there many times and I just want to say this was very refreshing and just keep on keeping on!! I wish the best for you. I am going to share your blog with my members. I am a 47 year old Mother of 4 grown daughters and my first born who is coming up on 29, was just dianosed with bipolar last summer. I was dianosed about 8 years ago. I hope to hear more from you.


Thank you Bipolar Behavioural Management

Your encouragement means a lot to me.

As a 'retired' Life and Executive Coach, I am a great supporter of behavioural management. I regularly use CBT and coaching techniques to help me. I think I would be dead without that!  :D

Much love and appreciation

Gabrielle x

I know the feeling

I have to say that I have been there as well.  More times then I would like and am currently am dealing with the ups and downs.  Mine is more of running away, but I am hoping that with the start of the new meds that things will improve.  It is hard and I know that even I don't always ask for help and hide it for as long as I can, before someone tells me that it is time to call the Doctor.  I am glad that things are starting to get better and  I hope that they continue getting better.


Thank you Anonymous

My good wishes go with you too.

You sound like an old hand at coping with the onslaught of BPD so I could probably learn a lot from you  :D

Much love and encouragement.

Gabrielle xx

Takes one to know one

Hi Gabrielle, having read this it's made me have a bit of a eureka moment.  

I find it very hard explaining "stuff" to people, sometimes I forget how I feel or have felt which makes getting people to understand me even harder, I've actually given up trying to tell people now and I just gloss over the usual "how are you" question with "yeah I'm good thanks" ! But this has made me realise exactly how I feel and you've put it so eloquently, I too hit rock bottom a year ago and chased the same "I love them...they love me" circle to the point that "the dog did turn round and bite me" and I did make a suicide attempt, fortunately I underestimated the amount of drugs I needed to actually do the job!  The hurt I caused to the people I love dearly shook me to the core and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work from me I hope that I won't go to that dark place again.  I find it a great comfort, that you write what I feel because I am unable to explain it! I'm so thankful you are here.

Much love


ps I apologise for the rambling randomness of the above...feeling a little manic, can't get it written fast enough to keep up with my disorganised high speed mess of a brain! x

Good morning Gabrielle I

Good morning Gabrielle

I truly hope you soon start to feel better.  Thank goodness your neighbour was able to work with you to help things improve.

Our daughter has finally got to the top of the list and has been granted 6 sessions (I think it is) with CBT on the NHS,   I know she has attended and has the third one today - for me - it is good to know in the new area she has gone to live she has been offered it.  We do not discuss what has been said and that is great - I want her to tell someone how she really feels and knows it stays in that room.

Anyway back to you may the improvement continue and I am so pleased you are with us.



Thank you

I have recently been diagnosed Bipolar 2 after 30 years of increasingly worse bouts of depression. I was where you were about a month ago the fact that I had so much to live for meant nothing and the fact it meant nothing increased the suicidal thoughts to the point of an unsuccessful attempt. Thankfully one brilliant consultant psychiatrist later a diagnosis was made and I am responding well to lithium carbonate 1000mg daily and 60mg fluoxetine. I am feeling battered and bruised but getting there life is a struggle still but the continual thoughts of kill myself no longer haunt me.
Best wishes


I am thankful to find your page I often dont feel like doing anything. i literally lay around all day its not that I want to, but i cant seem to get the energy to do anything . I have tempted suicide many times but my family has always found me. I have been on depakote for about a year and its starting to not keep my thoughts controlled. my diagnosis are bipolar, ptsd, insominia, and adhd. i deal with a birth defect that keeps me from working and to be honest i dont think that i can handel it right now. my thoughts aint that great and i dont need to be near the public some days. so in closing Thanks for your page.

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