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Down, Down, Down

I'm Bipolar - A Journal


Updated November 28, 2011

August 25, 1999 (Part 1) - 14 Weeks After Diagnosis

Things do not go well.

Here's a look back at my psychiatric medication history:

Mid-1994: Started on Prozac, 20 mg/day.
Mid-1996: Doubled Prozac to 40 mg/day.
Late 1996: Added Trazodone 25 mg/night.
Early 1997: Doubled Trazodone to 50 mg/night.
Early 1999: Changed from Prozac to Serzone (don't remember dosage).
April 1999: Changed from Serzone to Celexa, added Klonopin.
May 20, 1999: Diagnosed Bipolar. Dropped all existing meds, changed to Depakote (750 mg), Wellbutrin (150 mg) and Zyprexa (2.5 mg).
May 27, 1999: Changed from Zyprexa to Seroquel to aid in sleeping
June 14, 1999: Seroquel too strong; changed back to Zyprexa, doubled Wellbutrin to 300 mg/day.
August 11, 1999: Because of several concerns (see 12 Weeks), more changes made: Switched from Depakote to Neurontin 600 mg/day, changed from Zyprexa back to Trazodone, and cut Wellbutrin down from 300 mg to 150 mg/day.


I started cycling down fairly rapidly. After just ten days on the new meds, I was a wreck. All I wanted in the world was a cigarette.

Now, I quit smoking on November 19, 1998, basically because I could no longer afford cigarettes. If I had enough money, and lived alone, maybe I would start again and to hell with it - and maybe not. But I still don't have enough money to support my nicotine habit, and I still live with my elderly mother who really hated my smoking and who would be tremendously upset if I started again.

But the whole reason I wanted to go off Prozac - the single motivating factor which led me to see a psychiatrist, which led to my being diagnosed as Bipolar - was that I had gained about 50 pounds on Prozac (well, some was from quitting smoking, but no more than about 10 pounds). I hate the way I look. I hate the way I feel. And my cholesterol has gone up so sharply that I had to be put on medication for that, too.

I have never been able, since I quit smoking, to solve the oral fixation problem. In the evenings, I am fighting a constant battle with the munchies. It has been frustrating all along - but last Friday night, it was more than a frustration. I found myself sitting here weeping because I wanted a cigarette - not because of any nicotine fit, but because I know damn well that if I start smoking again, I will lose weight.

Finally I got up and practically ran out of the house at 9:00 pm to go for a walk, because while I am walking I am not wishing I were eating. I took some letters that needed mailing with me, and walked the 3/4 mile up to the Post Office - passing the grocery store on the way.

When I was nearly there, crying while I was walking, I suddenly thought:

    Look at me. Some people get suicidal when they are depressed. But not me. I just want to smoke.
Maybe that sudden thought gave me just enough of a lift to make the difference. I walked past the grocery store - twice. It was hard, especially on the way back when it was my last chance (on that trip) to go in and buy a pack. I stopped outside and stood there for a couple of minutes. But then I went on by.

The next morning, on my own, I re-doubled my dose of Wellbutrin SR from 150 mg back to 300.

Next: Meds Made Me Fat

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