I have Bipolar I Disorder, Most Recent Episode Mixed, In Full Remission. I usually get mixed states with dysphoria/irritibility combined with some hypomanic features and none of the feel-good ones and have had one manic episode. I generally do not have depressive only episodes and my BPD is very co-morbid with Generalized Anxiety and Panic Attacks and my remission is super dependent upon refraining from polysubstance abuse.
I credit Lithium for saving my life and have been on 900 mg since November 2005--it was the only thing that helped stop a manic episode induced by Lexapro which is what got me diagnosed.
I have had a lot of side effects from it, but taken it anyway (my hair falls out EVERYWHERE, dehydration to the point that I will vomit after taking the pill violently, tremors (can't take a non-blurry photo), and now it has appeared to cause thyroiditis resulting in hyperthyroidism.
I'm discontinuing Lithium GRADUALLY, as decided by my psychiatrist and I after discussing with my endocrinologist also, as of this Friday. I am starting with 600 mg and when I see my doctor in one month if everything is OK, down to 300 mg and then when I see him again in another month provided things are still OK, no more Lithium. It'll be less of a shock to my body to go super slowly since I've been on it for 7 years and also, if things don't go well, I won't totally lose my blood level and can start back on the Lithium I have immediately at my old dosage (blood levels often take 10-14 days to deplete or rebuild).
It's only been a few days, but so far, so good. I am also taking Abilify (2.5 mg) to treat Bipolar depression and Depakote (500 mg) specifically for mixed states, but it should help keep mania away also hopefully. I will keep you posted! I urge anyone considering this to work closely with their doctor and follow their directions exactly to avoid relapse, as it is risky enough either way.
I'm also keeping a mood chart (the LCM S/P from NIMH) to help monitor changes in my mood during this time