What does bipolar disorder feel
like (after a few doses of an antidepressant) ?
A Patient's Testimonial
(used by permission, thank you Ms. B. This
is a very high-functioning, fully employed woman, a mother with a
high-expectation job. I've highlighted some particularly telling comments
in bold type -- JP).
diagnosed with OCD by several physicians. The last one I saw prescribed
Luvox. Because I
about the cautions for BPII's against taking anti-depressants, I did not fill
the prescription. Several months later the OCD seemed to be overwhelming
me, my attempts to manage it on my own were now no longer successful. I
went to my PCP and asked for a new prescription of Luvox. Because he,
too, knew of the drug precautions, he gave me a very, very low dosage
(25mg/day). I took it that night before I went to bed. When I woke
up in the morning I felt crazy - literally. I was convinced I was in
someone else's body - both physically and mentally. I seemed to have
lost the ability to think clearly. I became extremely volatile (since I
already have an issue with irritability due to the BPII, this was a
nightmare). I had never before thought of hurting myself, but now I was
convinced it would "make everything better". The only sensible
thing I was able to do was make the decision to go to work.
I wanted to
crawl under my bed... or run in front of a truck...
I couldn't decide what I
wanted to do, the thoughts were too fast. I decided I had to go to work
because I new that if I stayed home I would harm myself physically. I
went to work and ate and drank a lot, and did tons of exercise... trying to
somehow get this drug out of my body. The feeling was gone by the next
morning. But the effects wore on. I was never the same from that
point on. I was constantly cycling higher and higher.....
[here's an email she read to me later because she wanted to make sure I
understood -- JP]:
"hate-fest" is getting worse all the time. But it isn't just
hate, it's also a complete lack of caring. I can't seem to get
out of it. It lasts longer and longer. and, unfortunately, this
feeling of hate and indifference makes me completely uninterested in trying to
fix it. I hate my life - what it is, what it isn't, and what it is, or
isn't, becoming. I hate marriage, feel no interest in having one.
I hate being around people, wish I could just be completely alone.
The feelings of hurting myself are starting to come more frequently now - but
I haven't so far. I never had them until a few months ago. That
feeling I had that day when I took the Luvox - I feel like I'm stepping into that
realm, like it's a big ocean and I'm slowly walking into it... getting my feet
wet, then my ankles...etc... I've never felt like I wanted to die before -
sometimes only because of my kids - but nonetheless, I wouldn't ever do it.
I don't feel anymore like there is any convincing reason why I shouldn't.
Why is this happening? I take my meds like I should. I don't feel
like this is a "go see a therapist" kind of thing - but then again -
how would I know. I feel like my grasp on reality is slipping (at least
I can still recognize THAT... I think...) but I'm starting not to care what is
reality and what isn't. Jeckle and Hyde are starting to mix.
not hungry anymore and don't care about my appearance. I don't care if I
come to work, I don't care if we go in the poorhouse. I constantly have
this "hot" feeling inside - like you might if you were TOTALLY
nervous about something that was SUPER-important. Like you can't
breathe or sleep or eat. Like you could cry at any minute - like you
already ARE crying,all the time, at some level of your being. I
feel like I'd rather be locked up in an asylum so that I didn't have to make
an effort anymore. I just don't feel like trying. The reasons I
tried before are starting to get fuzzy. [Husband]
asking if I'm mad at him, or if something is wrong. I don't know how you
express to someone that you are "NOTHING". How do you say
"I am a complete lack of anything". It doesn't make sense to
anyone and I don't feel like explaining it anyway - back to that whole
"indifference" thing... Not sure what to do, I've lost the
energy to figure it out, to fight and struggle to come back. What is wrong
This woman fortunately had an excellent response to low-dose mood stabilizers
and no longer feels like this -- JP