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just diagnosed

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Old 10-04-2006, 09:57 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2
~Al~ HB User
just diagnosed

Hi folks. Got a coupla questions...

First, I have been recently diagnosed (about 5 days ago) with BP and have begun taking Lithium. Prior to this and over the last 1-1/2 years I have been through Lexapro, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft and none of theses meds appeared to help. Either with the "highs" or the "lows" of my mood swings. My pdoc has told me that results from taking Lithium should be apparent within a couple of days. Well, no too much to report of yet. Am I expecting too much too soon? Any other experiences with Lithium and BP out there? Just looking for opinons....

Secondly, outside of meds, what types of things can we do to help ourselves get through this everyday? ei...breathing exercises, mental imaging, etc. This is ALL very new, and scary, to me!

Thanks guys!

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Old 10-04-2006, 10:23 AM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 250
ronniesteers HB User
Re: just diagnosed

My doctor told me the same thing.
That it would take a few days for the lithium to take effect. Don't get discouraged - it could take a week or two. IT does work for most people.

I exercise (physically) and it helps (run, swim or whatever) when I start feeling irritated. Usually, it helps. Drink lots of water and watch your diet.
Good luck to you!

Last edited by ronniesteers; 10-04-2006 at 10:24 AM.

Old 10-04-2006, 12:09 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 367
gav_73 HB User
Re: just diagnosed

Hi Al! Welcome to the board.

First, I should say congratuations on getting a diagnosis. Things will get better for you, so don't give up. We are all here to help!

I, too, was recently diagnosed with Type II Bipolar disorder (about a month ago) and have been taking Lithium. At first, I just had negative side effects from the medication, particularly when they increased the dosage. I didn't feel any real difference until about a week and a half ago, and I'm only on 600mg! The changes have been subtle over time. For example, I first slowly felt like I was coming out of my depression. I started doing more things, like going to the movies with my husband, etc. Things that I hadn't done in a while. Then, I realized that at night when I was trying to go to sleep, I didn't have a million and one things going through my mind keeping me awake.

Recently, I started to realize that I was also sleeping better on my own, without a sleep aid, which is a miracle. In addition, I have also noticed a change in my thinking, from really angry, irritable thoughts and emotions to much more positive ones. The only way I can think to describe the effect is that my head has a lot less "noise" in it so that I can make better decisions. I can think more clearly, and feel that I have a little more control over my emotions and behavior.

I believe that if I were on a higher dosage, I would probably see more dramatic results. But for me, taking it slow was the answer, and I am really pleased with the way it's going, even if it the changes are subtle. Life is better, and that's all I care about.

Also, finding the right medication is a process for everyone, and it can sometimes take a very long time. I just happened to respond well (minus the side effects in the beginning) to the first medication I tried. Expect the changes to happen gradually, over time. For some, it might be immediate, probably depending on that person and their diagnosis. For others like me, it takes time. There is another girl on here called Fallen_Angel, and she is also on lithium, as well as a really wise woman named Ruth, who has been on lithium for many years. I think I remember Fallen_Angel saying it took a couple months for the lithium to take effect. But she is also on a low dose like me.

Anyway, from my experience, don't expect too much right away. It will happen for you. I know you're probably afraid of the medication; I was terrified of overdosing so much I was having panic attacks at night, which was not normal for me. But, I eventually let go of that and now I am able to "go with the flow" so to speak. You will, too. And don't be frightened of the diagnosis, be happy and relieved, because your life is about to change for the better my friend!

Last edited by gav_73; 10-04-2006 at 12:10 PM.

Old 10-04-2006, 01:19 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2
~Al~ HB User
Re: just diagnosed

Hi Ronnie. I'm trying to NOT get discouraged as I know this is a trial-and-error process but that's my personality. I want things to happen rapidly. I'm still working on it!

I used to be a long distance runner but now I'm a bit frightened of over-exercising because of things I've read about the lithium and blood toxicity. I'll get back to action soon enough I guess.

Thanks for the warm welcome Gav! Reading posts from others who can relate to my pain is both sad and encouraging. Sad from the point that I know just how bad being BP makes me feel so I can relate to what you have been going through. I wish I could make it all go away. Encouraging from the point that I know I don't walk alone. I can see that some of the good folks here are making amazing recoveries and it keeps me motivated to keep looking forward.

You made me smile when I read "Congratulations". I never looked at it that way before. It really is something to be happy about! Thank You for making me smile!

Hopefully I'll get a chance to get to know Fallen_Angel & Ruth as well as all of the other kind people here.

Last edited by ~Al~; 10-05-2006 at 03:00 AM.

Old 10-04-2006, 05:39 PM   #5
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: WI
Posts: 2,779
tsohl HB User
Re: just diagnosed

Hello Al and Welcome~
You will find lots of good hearts on this board and some good advice as well!
My 25-year old son was diagnosed BPI while in college. He has done very well on lithium, but it actually took several years (and several psychiatrists) to get his meds fine-tuned. The lithium by itself didn't quite do it. He now takes lithium, tegretol and lamictol. If after a few months you don't feel the lithium is "working," you might need to add something else to the mix. Unfortunately it is mostly trial and error and is very frustrating!! But you can get there!!

Why don't you start back to running, but shorter distances and just be sure to keep up your fluids. It is important to eat a balanced diet and try to keep the amount of sugar in your diet to a minimum. My son really enjoyed yoga. It helped in centering him and keeping a racing mind at bay. Also keeping to a schedule of sleeping and waking is important. Going to bed at the same time each day helps get your body on some kind of a schedule. Maybe some of these ideas will help! Tsohl.

Old 10-04-2006, 06:02 PM   #6
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: san francisco ca
Posts: 26
catlover4156 HB User
Re: just diagnosed

I too was diagnosed recently at age 47, but am on Geodon, Seroquel and Klonopin. It is a frightening diagnosis, isn't it? My ex husband was Bipolar and was on Lithium for years, as has been my daughter. Hang in there!

Old 10-09-2006, 01:29 AM   #7
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: auckland new zealand
Posts: 31
ok2day HB User
Talking Re: just diagnosed

Hi It took 5 weeks for the lithum to work 4 me . Get monthly blood tests to check your levels , drink plenty of water per day and don't stay in the sun to long. Just stick with it and good luck

Old 10-20-2006, 12:46 PM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 337
shorebird HB User
Re: just diagnosed

ok2day, it took my friend a few months to get the right dosage of lithium and getting on a schedule helped a lot also.

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