I'm 21 and I've been dealing with bipolar disorder for about 7 years. I've been on all kinds of medication, all of which either didn't work... or had terrible adverse side effects. I'm now on Trileptal, which is an anticonvulsant and a mood stablizer, and it seems to be working well as far as my moods go, but I have the WORST short term memory loss!!! And I do stupid things ALL THE TIME. Like turning down the wrong road in the town I've lived in my whole life. My psychiatrist thought I was ADD but I finally had her take a good look at the side effects of Trileptal and she was just so "shocked" to find that cognitive impairment was on that list of side effects. I came to decide to just remain on the medication for now to avoid the risk of experiencing an emotional crash, but the memory and thought issues are becoming more than I can handle.
Now - this is bad to admit... but I'm terrible at taking the correct amount of medication every day. I take what I remember to take, which is often not enough. But I'm doing fine. I'm beginning to wonder, if I just wean myself of this med, could I live a life being bipolar WITHOUT medication? Is it possible!?!
I strongly recommend that you buy one of those pill counter/dividers that they sell at the drug store for just a couple of bucks. They come in both a straight 7-day box, Sunday through Saturday configuration, and a 14 box model, again seven boxes for each day of the week, but one for AM and one for PM. You just load them up at the beginning of the week so you don't have to remember/forget again. It is crucial to take your proper dose. It's super important! Also, I see your question about being able to be a person with a Bipolar Dx, who gets by without meds. I'm sorry to report that it is impossible, it only leads to disaster! I guess some people have milder cases of bipolarism, (so-called "soft bipolar") and can get by with less meds, but I'm assuming you have a regular case of the disorder, and going through life without medication simply isn't an option. I hope you can face that, because it's just reality, it's just the way it is. I hope you are able to get your meds all squared-away soon, because trying out new pills is never fun for any of us who are in this boat. Take care & best wishes to you!
I appreciate your response. And yes, you're probably right about me not getting by so well without my meds. I guess I'm just so frustrated with the side effects, and so terrified of the side effects of other meds, that I just want to escape it all. Of course, the feeling of wanting to escape is not unusual for me. The weekly pill container or whatever is a good idea. People have mentioned that idea to me before. I really should do it.
I feel bad for you. In my experience all the anti-convulsants (mood stabilizers) have caused memory impairment. Topamax (Dopeamax) was the worst one. I actually could no longer speak on that one. It really sucks because I am pretty smart but I cannot formulate sentences properly. I can write well, but can rarely say what I mean to say. I also forget things (on Tegretol now). I never remember where I park, misplace things, forget things people just tell me. Its terrible. Freaking terrible to have this illness. Its a brain disease.
It is terrible isn't it? And other than the speech issues, you sound just like me. Remembering where I parked in a parking lot is a joke. I lose my phone, my keys, anything hand held... all the time. And I'm smart too! That's what I hate! People think I'm an air-headed idiot and I'm not!