Monday, December 12, 2005

Lifetime Meds? I Don't Think So!

My baby bring me champagne when I'm thirsty
That little girl give me good reefer when I wanna get high
...Muddy Waters

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this medication thing, and I’m wondering where it stops, or if it stops. First, my bipolar is NOT that bad. Now that I have an understanding of it, I am able to watch out for the behaviors that have been damaging to me in the past. My main concerns with my bipolar disorder are as follows:

My anger, and how it affects those around me.
Depressions seem to be getting worse, even though they are quite infrequent.
My lack of concentration.

I have suffered from obsessive behaviors in the past, but I’m now aware of the condition, and that it can cause this. In the past I seemed to sabotage myself sub-consciously on jobs for some unknown reason, perhaps to maximize my time on my obsessive activity. But I see this now, and am able to watch for it. Although this blog, made in the middle of the day; is not a good indicator.

From all the questions I’ve been asking, and all the research I’ve been doing, it appears that the medical community will want to keep me medicated for the rest of my life. I am not comfortable with this. What are the long term mental and physical effects of these meds? It can’t be good. And I would assume that a given med will lose effectiveness over the years, resulting in higher dosages and more risk. And when I am off my medical insurance coverage in 20 years, will I be able to count on medicare or medicaid to pay these?

Why am I not better off self-medicating? When I get manic why shouldn't I smoke some pot or take a drink? Provided I don’t develop a dependance on either, what would be the difference? I don't smoke pot, and it's been a while since I have, but is anyone really going to tell me that twisting one up a few times a month is more harmful to me than a mind altering medication every day for the next 40 years? I am really not at risk for alcoholism, I have spent times in my life where I drank like a fish, and I never suffered from withdrawals, or never craved it. I did it because I wanted to do it. When I was younger and smoked a lot, it did become obsessive, but when I decided to walk away, it was no problem. I fully believe, actually KNOW, that I can handle these on an infrequent basis when and as needed. I can’t help but believe my long-term well being would be better served without a lifetime prescription to a mood altering med.


Mr. 12 Step said...

I am so much a supporter of going without meds if you can manage it.

I recently got back on an anti-depresant because of the holidays and the fact that I've been without a steady job for 18 months and face to loose everything I own.

Prior to that, I had went for 4 years with out meds. Getting by quite well on vitamin supplements, a good diet, exercise and my music has been wonderful therapy. Ocasionally if I got mad or upset about something I'd have a drink, but would never let myself turn into a 24/7 raging alcoholic.

Anytime a fellow bipolar can get off of meds and have a decent life, I praise them.

Jon said...

Thanks for the input, Mr. 12 Step.

Belinda said...

Alex is resigned to the fact that, like a diabetic or epileptic, he'll be medicated for life. It's just a fact of life for us.

I have heard tales of people who seemed to "grow out of it" in old age, and others who got worse, especially post-menopausal women. You just never know.

And the tweaks could be worse, as you say, or they could just be, well, different. I know a man in my church who is BP and is in his 60s and has been on the exact same meds for 30+ years and is doing fine. You just don't know until it happens.

And the nature of the disease, which is to tell you you don't have it, kind of sucks too. I'm so big into denial all by myself, that I doubt I would be a "success story" as a BP patient.

Jon said...

In the words of my Pdoc, my condition won't get any better, but should be easily controlled.

I guess I take it a day at a time and see what it brings.

Thanks for the input, Belinda.

Belinda said...

I think "one day at a time" is the best any of us can promise, or deal with, when you get right down to it.