I am remaining optimistic. I will remain optimistic. I have a wonderful supportive husband, family, friends, a good doc, health insurance, and all of these things working in my favor.
I went to the psychiatrist this morning. I took my little diary where I've been writing down everything (medicine, food, sleep, feelings, you name it). I told her how I've been--still with the brain fog, confused, brain misfiring. It's especially embarrassing in class when I'm reading aloud and I see a word and out of my mouth comes... chicken! Okay, that was kind of funny, but I'm afraid of saying something inappropriate and I cannot remember the children's names anymore. And they really are offended, especially the ones I've had since August. I don't really feel comfortable telling them why, they do know I've been sick. I have been fighting the flu or whatever everyone else has...
The doc said she's pretty certain that I do have classic Bipolar Disorder. She said it's sometimes hard to tell right away because the manic episodes can be so far apart. It's been years since I was as bad off as I was over the past few months. I'm reassured that she wasn't too quick to label me and has been watching me over the last year or so.
So. The Big-B. The scary word that people are afraid of. The one that people use to mean generically dangerously mentally ill and/or evil. I told her I was okay with it. I had to deal with that label 10 years ago and I thought I'd accepted it, but once I got into my car to speed back to school (I went during my conference period), I cried a little.
As I digest this news, which I totally knew was coming, by the way, my new meds are as follows:
"Ramp down" from Trileptal
Continue with Lamictal
Start Lithium Extended Release 450mg 2x daily if I can handle it
I took lithium before. She said I could experience nausea and vomiting at first (the "if I can handle it 2x a day" part), but that should pass as I get used to it. I remember feeling a little like I'd had one drink. Not really impaired in a way that anyone would notice, but you notice and you're extra careful to speak clearly. But I'm already shouting "chicken" for no reason. Haha. Really, I have to laugh at myself sometimes or I'd cry.
Other things to keep in mind:
* lithium is a salt (lithium carbonate-LiCO3) and it's all about electrolytes and not getting dehydrated or going on some crash low-sodium diet. Woo-hoo! I am all about my salt, baby!
* Drink a great deal of water.
* Drink very little alcohol (dehydration again, but also not a bad idea when your brain chemicals are out of whack)
* no/limited NSAIDs (Advil, Aleve)
Other side effects I remember:
* metal taste in my mouth
* conducting electricity better. How many times have I told you the story about the current I used to feel when I held the metal pull chain on our laundry room light in the old house with the glass fuses?
* NO BABIES while on it. BAD for babies. But it works, so the hope is to get to the point where I'm stable enough to actually have a baby. Later. I'll talk with her about that in two weeks. I'll do more research.
In the meantime...
In a certain sense, Project Baby is on hold. Mostly, though, this is part of it because Project Healthy Future Mommy is in full swing. I want to know that being a healthy momma is possible. I will worry about what to take if/when we're lucky enough to get pregnant. I pray that we're that lucky and that we're both healthy.
I am concentrating on today and tomorrow and maybe the day after that. Any drug transition can be difficult and I am gathering my support network now. I will keep reminding myself that it's worth it. And thanking God for wonderful friends and family and health insurance!
As I said, I am optimistic! Please think good thoughts and send some prayers. Say, who is the patron saint of cuckoos? Hmm...