i am fucking bitter today. in fact, just call me oscar the grouch.
i had high hopes for my psychiatrist appointment. since the seroquel has been working, and since i am taking ~subtherapeutic doses of lithium (600 mg) and lamotrigine (100 mg), i thought i might have a shot at tapering off of them while remaining on the seroquel.
of course, in hindsight, my thinking was too simplistic. i was only considering the unique effects of each medication. whereas lithium made me not *as* depressed (but still flat), and i didn’t even really notice anything with the lamotrigine, seroquel was the drug with noticeable, measurable effects on my mood. i’ve felt like “myself” for the first time in 2 years. so of course, i concluded that i should be able to remove the other drugs while remaining on seroquel.
not so. my psychiatrist reminded me that there are possible interactive effects that i’m not considering. it’s possible that seroquel works well *in combination* with lamotrigine or lithium.
moreover, he recommended that i remain on treatment for at least 9-12 months after the onset of remission. NINE TO TWELVE months. fuck my mother fucking life.
why 9-12? well, for people with a *first* episode of depression, the probability of relapse increases substantially if treatment is not continued for at least 9 months (while in remission). that’s not even considering people who’ve had more than one episode of depression; for them the relapse rate is even higher.
so, my intellectual side is responding to these data and to an obligation to the “responsible” thing to do (i.e., stay on medication). everything else is up in flames. i am so angry, so disappointed, so frustrated, so defeated. these medications are not just medications. they are symbolic representations of my intense struggle with the bipolar diagnosis. i want to be DONE with them. i want to move ON with my life. and i want to be off medication so i can begin to truly explore whether i am bipolar or not.
except today, i learned that i will not be able to do this. in fact, i will not be able to do this for a very long time.