Sunday, November 13, 2011


One of the rougher parts of being mentally ill is always wondering what's the disease, what's you, and how much point there is in struggling against a particular symptom or side-effect.

I've been having bouts of hyper-somnolence lately where I wake up so tired I feel drugged, sleepwalk through the day until I can nap for a few hours, and for the rest of the day feel tired and low until I go to bed, usually quite early in the evening. These days are very hard on my family - it's rough for them to try to work around my exhaustion, which is pronounced and unusual, and it's also hard for them because they know, as I do, that irregular sleep is very bad for people who are bipolar and can cause or exacerbate episodes.

Dr. Dumas (who is going to work out, it looks like) thinks the Geodon may be the culprit. He's switched the time I take it from dinner time to right before bed, which is a pain because I have to eat substantially when I take this pill for it to be absorbed properly, and it's going to be hard for me to keep losing weight as rapidly as I have been if I'm eating a sandwich every night before bed. I found Dr. Dumas's explanation of why taking Geodon later should work better dubious, but I'm willing to try.

If it doesn't work, however, I'm tempted to ask him to stop the Geodon. This makes me nervous, for several reasons: first, because it was at least in part due to the Geodon that I snapped out of my most recent suicidal depression; second, because if I stop the Geodon I'll certainly have to up the Lithium, a drug I historically haven't tolerated well; and third because any major change in medication could destabilize me again.

So the calculus is difficult: is it worth having irregular, disruptive sleep habits (where three days out of the week I'm sleeping 12+ hours a day) but decent mood? Or is it worth risking my mood for the uncertain benefit of stable, regular sleep?

And added to all this is the question that maybe, if I tried extra hard, I'd be able to stay awake and fight through the tiredness despite the drugged feeling I get. Maybe if I were really, really tough and gritty and hard-working I could defeat the side-effects. It's hard to know. Hard to know.

Life is uncertainty.


  1. It sounds like you want a regular life and you think you can push yourself to be "tough and gritty and hard-working" enough to have one. Maybe, but I would suggest that you set a limit on how much is enough. Side-effects sometimes mellow with time, but if they don't you could be setting yourself up to slam your head into a wall over and over. And that slamming isn't fun for long.

    -Scott McMillin

  2. Are you still taking Lamictal? Can you increase the dose? Lamictal helps me a great deal as a mood stabilizer, especially with depression. I wish I could take it alone, but I need lithium to prevent mania, because I have experienced many severe episodes of mania. Good luck getting your meds straightened out. I know it is frustrating.