this is your brain on lithium

the mitigated musing of a mad-woman

And, Here We Go Again…

Posted by Pythia on June 24, 2015

After many years of Wellbutrin plus Lamictal and lithium, we’re playing with the meds again. Now, we are embarking on the adventure of getting off Wellbutrin and starting Lexapro (which made me climb the walls and want to crawl out of my skin the last time I tried it). Yay! So far, in trying to discontinue Wellbutrin, I’ve had two moderate nocturnal panic attacks and one mild one while half-awake. I can’t blame it on the Lexapro, because I just started that this morning at 5 mg. In fact, I’m hoping the naptime attack was mild because of the Lexapro. We’re also increasing the dosage of Synthroid, which should help with everything.

Why, you may ask, a change after so many years? Well, there have been many minor tweaks over time, but what helped most was the aggressive treatment of my hypothyroidism. With that, I was even able to keep a full-time job for a about a year and a half (probably average for me over the years in working full time). I’ve been working part time since 2009. Of course, the main condition that allows me to work is that I can work at home. Because of my progress, my doctor was ok with the status quo. I am not. I managed the job and the stress and the work, but barely and poorly (I ended up quitting, not on the best terms). And, I could work whenever I wanted to, so my sleep schedule just tumbled around the clock according to its own whim. I also rarely left the house (or attended to hygiene). I have hit a plateau, and one that still leaves me less than functional.

I want to live my life. I have interests again, but I have to leave the house on occasion to entertain them. I would also like to manage more work, possibly even a full-time job, so that we can move out of this moldy shithole we are currently occupying and back into a decent apartment. I’d also like to be able to just go grocery shopping or call and make appointments without freaking out. Is that really too much to ask?

Ah, and most importantly, Wellbutrin is killing my stomach.

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That Thin Line…

Posted by Pythia on February 5, 2010

Link of the day: Higher bipolar risk for straight-A students.

Several possible explanations for the link were put forward; people in a state of hypomania (a mild period of mania or elevated mood) can often be witty and inventive, and able to link ideas in innovative ways; people with bipolar disorder often experience unusually strong emotional responses, which may help their talent in art, music and literature. Third, people with hypomania often have extraordinary stamina and can keep concentrating for long periods of time.

These types of cognitive style may help students perform better in creative school subjects—but also predispose them to bipolar disorder in later life.

Do note that they’re just saying that there is a link, not saying that such a link is a good thing.

Posted in bipolar disorder, science | 2 Comments »

PMS Doesn’t Cover It

Posted by Pythia on January 4, 2010

Have I mentioned how much it sucks to be ruled by hormones? Try going to sleep medicated and contemplating suicide just to wake up to cramps and blood and going, “oh, that’s what that was all about.”

Posted in bipolar disorder, life, madness | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Fuck “Just Do It”

Posted by Pythia on December 28, 2009

Knowing what I need and want to do and not being able to do a damned thing is the most frustrating and dominant aspect of my life. Not a damned thing about it, just a damned thing, anything, anything at all about it or anything else. Immobile.

I see the tripe that gets published, and I know that I can do better than that. I have no delusions about my writing ability, but so much of what’s out there is so poorly written that it’s actually hard to read. And yet, it gets published.

What is the difference between me and those published authors? They write, I don’t.

And fuck the “just do it” crowd. Tell me to just do it when you have to drug yourself just to get to sleep. Tell me to just do it when the lithium that you take fogs your brain so badly that you can barely string a sentence together. Tell me to just do it when you can’t drag yourself out of bed at any point in the day, much less in the morning. Tell me to just do it when you can’t concentrate long enough to remember what you wanted to say between forming the thought and putting the pen down on the paper. Tell me to just do it when you can’t get your work done because anxiety clouds your every thought.

Tell me to just do it after you’ve lived a day of my life—then, then, I might just take you seriously.

Posted in bipolar disorder, life | 3 Comments »

Merry Xmas!

Posted by Pythia on December 25, 2009

I totally get why people off themselves at this time of year. Don’t worry, the razor blades are locked away, and I won’t OD for fear of barfing. Being a pukaphobe is sometimes a fortunate thing—not good, but fortunate.

Everyone being so cheerful just grates against my every last raw, exposed nerve. And it’s hard to go out and have fun when leaving the house is so stressful that if you do so, that anxiety ruins any chance of enjoying anything at all.

So, I’m spending xmas eve watching the mutilated version of the Star Wars trilogy instead of doing anything pleasant and appropriate for the occasion. We were supposed to go to New Orleans for the husband’s family xmas get-together, but I had a 36-hour day and had to medicate myself (see previous post) in order to sleep, resulting in my complete and total inability to wake up in time for it. (Try taking 3x your regular dose of meds and waking up four hours later.)

Apparently Mr. Husband didn’t understand that I had taken that much, even though I told him and asked him to just call and cancel because I knew I wouldn’t be able to make it. No, he just tried to wake me up an hour later than he would have otherwise and is now upset that we didn’t go. Anyway, I’m not upset about not going, although if I had managed it, being there might have distracted me from myself.

Other stuff happened, but it’s too stupid and tedious to relate.

Whatever. I’m going to go gorge myself on junk food now.

Posted in life | 1 Comment »


Posted by Pythia on December 24, 2009

My husband and I had a fight that took place entirely on Facebook. How much more passive-aggressive and exhibitionist can you get?

Yeah, I know—WTF? But I have a suspicion that it may just have something to do with being a wee bit hypomanic—bad judgement, exhibitionism, “marked increase in social interactions.” Go figure.

Not to mention the other not very well considered crap that has been coming out of my fingertips onto the keyboard and into messages and comments that cannot be undone.

So here is my running commentary posted on Twitter in real time as the Facebook altercation progressed:

Ugh. My entire body is sore from insomnia and tension. Muscles actually sore, like I had been exercising or something.

After 24+ hours, I finally go to sleep, and then four hours later, unapologetic bastard wakes from his drunk-sleep, waking me as well.

It’s not just that he woke me; he woke me, then continued what he was doing that had awakened me and got angry when I complained.

Which, in turn, wound me up again. And here I sit. Pointlessly shouting out my woes into the digital aether.

I’m going to explode. And soon.

Now I have a knot where my stomach used to be.

Hmf. It’s like he senses when the fight or flight impulse kicks in. He knows I have no problem running away, that my car is working fine.

He wants to make up now. I fucking hate that.

And here we go again. Leave me alone.

Ahahaha! He saw that I had been posting pictures of “guys you used to be with” and was afraid that I would post a picture of him next.

Still haven’t gone back to sleep, which is quite amazing considering I’ve had 900 mg of lithium instead of the usual 300.

I wonder if WordPress has an iPhone app. That would be useful, as I could post all this crap to the mental blog, where it should be.

Which brings us full circle. Now I need to find an app that automatically transfers everything to everything else. Right. I am becoming increasingly involved in social media, and frightens me.

[Edit: Ahahaha. I was just kidding, but look at what I just found on the WP website:

Of course one of the coolest things about Twitter right now is the client applications, particularly the mobile/iPhone ones. I use Tweetie 2 on my iPhone every day. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get all your blog subscriptions and post to your blog from apps like Tweetie? Well here’s an early Christmas present…

We’ve enabled posting to and reading of blogs via the Twitter API. Any app that allows you to set a custom API URL will work. This project came out of our Quebec meetup and was developed by Team 55 (Andy, Terry, and Raphael).

Now I just have to figure out how to do it.]

Maybe when I’m bored and at the computer instead of tippy-typing on the iPhone, I’ll add the Facebook side of things. But I do want to say that this was exacerbated by his having been drunk, which is a bit of a sensitive spot with me (drunkenness in general, not just his).

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The Latest on Lithium

Posted by Pythia on November 14, 2009

Ok, maybe not the latest, but fairly recent.

Science Daily, April 27, 2009
Lithium And The Brain: New Light On Bipolar Treatment Drugs

Professor Adrian Harwood of Cardiff School of Biosciences, who led the research, said: “We still cannot say definitively how Lithium can help stabilise bipolar disorder. However, our research does suggest a possible pathway for its operation. By better understanding Lithium, we can learn about the genetics of bipolar disorder and develop more potent and selective drugs.

Posted in bipolar disorder, meds, science | 1 Comment »

A Bit of Dark Humor: An Argument Against Suicide

Posted by Pythia on October 28, 2009

Col was also a good God-fearing man, and only two months after he killed Babs and Jamie in the truck accident, he put his handgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. He didn’t die but he became completely immobile, the brain damage so extensive that he couldn’t move or speak or even hear. He was blind too. The only part of his brain that was left intact was that little piece that reminded him constantly that his impatience and greed had made him responsible for the deaths of a beautiful woman and her sweet daughter. That was all he remembered. He had even forgotten that one day he would die and be released.

Craig Ferguson, Between the Bridge and the River

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Any Questions?

Posted by Pythia on August 11, 2009

For some reason it never occurred to me to look for this. I saw the heroin version on Epic Win.

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Abuse and Suicide

Posted by Pythia on February 25, 2009

From The New York Times

After Abuse, Changes in the Brain

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