Medications| International Bipolar Foundation & More, Oh My!


 Lucy, stick to dog kibble!

 There’s something in the blogosphere air this week…

After months of my faithfully posting every Friday, no more, no less, these past few days I’ve been full of blogging & re-blogging excitement! I just can’t help myself, especially when it comes to the topic that my good friend Kitt O’Malley addressed today in her acclaimed blog.  Kitt’s post contains an International Bipolar Foundation post written by our our mutual friend Susan Zarit.  I also have been blogging for the International Bipolar Foundation once a month, but I haven’t tackled the slippery slope of medication yet.  What has dissuaded me in part is that bloggers aren’t allowed to mention specific medications in our posts, so it’s a good thing I have my own blog! 🙂 Please read on…

I’m on a mission to let people know about a rather “obsolete”, unsung bipolar medication combination that DID work to lift my years-long, insidious, evil bipolar depression.   I’ll tell you one thing, my friends, it wasn’t no gift! 😉

What still boggles my mind to this day is that none of the numerous psychiatrists I consulted with ever thought to mention this medication until my most recent doctor, Dr. D.  Since I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar one disorder in 2007, Dr. D. is the best psychiatrist I’ve ever seen, bar none, and a big reason why that is the case is because he thought out of the box, he had extensive experience, he was patient, and most importantly…he cared.  

In late 2013, per Dr. D.’s suggestion, I started taking an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) medication called Parnate, which is an old-school anti-depressant medication.   I’ve never had any anti-depressant throw me into hypomania or mania, but of course that was a concern. The fact I was taking a therapeutic dose of the mood stabilizer lithium was a safeguard in a way, but of course I needed to be closely monitored.  

There are a few different MAOI’s and they’ve been used for decades for bipolar-medication resistant patients!  So yes, again, I wonder why didn’t any psychiatrist think to tell me about MAOI’s as a possibility before Dr. D. suggested them?  I’d love your take on that one! For the record my father (who also had bipolar one) took an MAOI in the early 1980’s, but it didn’t work for him as he drank alcohol while taking it, which is a BIG BIG no no.

Parnate works especially well when used with lithium; I take 900 mg of lithium a night and I’m extremely lucky that my blood tests have all been normal and I can tolerate it very well..

I never like to give false hope when it comes to bipolar & meds, but this combination of an MAOI and lithium has been nothing short of miraculous in my life. It hasn’t been perfect; there are sacrifices I’ve made (some good, i.e. the nixing of alcohol!) but dammit – these sacrifices have been completely worth it.  Read on for more info. – and I’ll try not to blog again until my regular Friday. Famous last words….. 😉

p.s. feel free to ask me any and all questions about MAOI’s & if I don’t know the answer I’ll ask my psychiatrist when I see him on Thursday.

Kitt O'Malley

My friend Dyane Harwood of Birth of a New Brain responded to a recent IBPF blog article by Susan Zarit entitled Medications: To Have Or Not, That Is The Question! Susan Zarit of Bravely Bipolar has struggled unsuccessfully to find a medication combination that works. I can only imagine what Susan must go through mood cycling on a daily basis. Neither Dyane Harwood nor I are medical doctors. Please see a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications and to discuss medication changes. Medication of psychiatric illnesses requires the expertise of a psychiatrist. In my opinion, serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are best treated with medication by board certified psychiatrists. Supportive psychotherapists should be expert in working with our populations. We need more specialized support than, say, relationship counseling.

Dyane Harwood | Tue, 2015-03-03 09:34

Hi Susan! thanks so much for writing about this topic!

I know you wrote…

View original post 239 more words

15 thoughts on “Medications| International Bipolar Foundation & More, Oh My!

  1. There’s my girls 🙂 Down with the flu. Will have something to share soonish. Hugs! Thank you for sharing. Lithium really turns me into a looney tune. Isn’t medicine weird? Lol ugh… I have to go for now. Miss you!

  2. The FLU???? Eeeewwwwwwww! I’m so sorry…you gotta rest, my friend.
    I hope you’re on the mend super-quick, poor thing!

    If I take too much lithium, it makes my hair fall out and it’s awful! It took time to find the right amount for me. If I went too low on it I became manic. But yes, for some folks it’s *not* the right med! You are absolutely right – medicine is bizarro!!!!!!

    Thank God we have our hounds as true medicine. Hugs to Bailey and get better soon, sweetness!

  3. Cool post – I’m always interested to read about other people’s medication regimes. Sometimes I ask my psychiatrist about stuff I’ve read on blogs.

    And I’m liking the increased posting a whole lot.

    • Just gotta say that your comment about the increased posting made me so happy – I just don’t want you to worry that I’m becoming manic! If you see me hippity hopping all over the screen it means I hit a coffee shop. Case in point: Yesterday afternoon I was bad. At 2:30 p.m. I ordered a small mocha with 4 shots, but I only drank 1/2 of it as it tasted nasty! I’m going to stay away from espresso shots this afternoon – I feel better today as I actually slept kinda sorta well last night! Hope your day is going well, m’dear. I’ll catch up with your blog a.s.a.p. I’m behind on everything due to preparing for that support group. I spent an entire day I usually use to read & comment on cleaning our filthy home instead with Avonlea’s glorious help. I don’t like it when I’m out of touch with *your* blog. Not one bit!

      • Well I like reading you, so more posting is great. And now I know about the coffee high, I’ll relax 🙂 it’s a projection thing, I guess. When I get super fast online, it’s a definite sign of impending loss of mind.

  4. Hi Dyane, interesting about Parnate, maybe that’ll be an option for me as I can’t take SSRI’s anymore. But don’t you have to stay away from wine and cheese? Tough for me to do. Maybe this’ll be my next post too, Medicine or not? Of course you know my opinion on that. My answer is a resounding “Yes!” Hugs Lady Dy.

    • Hi beautiful! Yep, you do have to stay away from wine and aged cheese, and yes, it’s a sacrifice, but I realized it was worth it, and the longer I’ve kept away from those things, the easier it has become…….I’ll love to read any post of yours but especially one that addresses Parnate! I’m sorry you can’t take SSRI’s anymore – it’s SO HARD dealing with this illness, it really is a job! But you and I can do it, and we will do it! We are awesome! 😉 XOXOXO

  5. Very interesting…I am bipolar 2 with anxiety that morphs into paranoia when not controlled properly. In October things went haywire when a friend of ours had passed away. I started having intrusive thoughts which was very new to me. We started working on my medication cocktail and found that one of my medications was not working at all. When I weaned off of it, I had no side effects whatsoever. Anyways, I ended up weaning off of another and was put on an old school anti-depressant that is notorious for mania – the only thing it’s doing for me though is making me tired and giving me this depersonalization business.
    I’m also on Lithium….and three other drugs…man some times I wonder if he should just wipe the slate clean – like a detox – and start from scratch. I’d stay on lithium though because I notice when we tamper with it, my moods instantly change.

    So sorry for the long comment!!! Not a lot of people write about meds and I found this really interesting.

    • I loooooved your comment, Lady K! You *never* ever have to apologize for writing anything here; in fact, I’m honored to have you! :)))) You have my blessing to write five pages worth of comments – I don’t care. 😉 Your thoughts are very valuable to me.

      I’m so sorry about the loss of of your friend last fall. The death of someone beloved is terrible for anyone, but for those of us with any flavor of bipolar; well, it can throw us WAY off. That’s an understatement. I’m sorry you suffered with the intrusive thoughts and I’m glad that you figured out one of your meds wasn’t doing diddly squat. What a relief you didn’t have knarly side effects when you tapered off it, too!

      I’m curious what your o”ld school anti-depressant that is notorious for mania” is – you may have blogged about that, or shared it with me privately so please forgive me for spacing out. I wonder if you’re still on it? The depersonalization sh*t is enough to make you want to get off it,e, but then the problem arises: “What next?” Ugh, how I despise the med merry go-round! I really hope that those dp symptoms are lessening or ideally gone! :0

      I can understand what you mean when you think about wiping the slate clean. When it comes to lithium, though, I personally would keep it & I’m glad you think so too. If I begin to go under 600 mg I become manic & then beyond depressed, so I am just speaking from my own experience.

      In any case, sorry for the late reply and know that I’m thinking of you, wishing you the BEST! Thanks again for commenting and I send you a big (((hug))), Kimberly!

  6. I couldn’t survive without my Seroquel XR for sleep. Nuerontin is also very valuable to me to go back to sleep in case I wake up. One of my earlier psychiatrists took me off of Lithium because it is a salt and I lived near Palm Springs where it was like a Desert-very dry. Dyane I am so glad I found your blog!! 🙂 xoxox Candis

    • Wow – thank you SO much, Annie, for the lovely nomination! You certainly made me feel awesome & your timing was great too, as it has been a long day! After being blessed with a few peer award nominations, I decided to decline them only because I felt like I had enough of them, and I also felt a little overwhelmed with the follow-through required. So if you like, please pass my nomination on to another worthy blogger – someone like YOU! :))))) Thanks again for making me smile and feel appreciated!!!! Dyane

  7. Gah, I’m really tired. Just came round to say hi, that you rock, and…what else was I going to say? Um…dunno….okay, time for bed. You keep rockin’ like a rocket. Get into the woods with Lucy. Have some adventures with your girls. Keep being awesome, O Beloved Java Queen! xxxxxxxxx

    • Thanks my lovely one…I’m out of Rocket Fuel AGAIN! It has been that kind of week, ya know? Stomach flu, colds, a little thing called the election, etc. I didn’t get to pay a visit to the precious woods last night due to the time change (it was too dark for us to go when Craig got home – I can’t leave the girls alone yet), and Lucy and I were *bummed*. We shall make sure to pay them a visit today!

      I’m so happy that you read my older posts and grateful that you take time to comment! I hope your Friday is going well, sending you lots of love!
      ********one again, thank you for reading!!************
      love, Java-less (sniff, sniff) Queen

Comments are closed.