Okay, I will be completely honest. Some of my followers scared the bejeebers out of me with the comments to my last post about starting Ritalin. It’s no one’s fault, and everyone’s fault. I have to blame someone – c’mon.
After reading some of the comments I promptly stopped taking the miracle pill and called my doc for an appointment. I was flustered, nervous, anxious and just all around an absolute mess! I just had to talk to her about everything I was finding out about Bipolar and stimulants.
What she told me is if I don’t need Ritalin, I will go high. Heck, even if I do need it, there is a chance for me to go high. Not what I was looking to hear.
Then she said what I did need to hear: “Sometimes you have to outweigh the risks vs. the benefits. I firmly believe the benefits here by far outweigh the risks.”
I also found out a few other key factors which make a little bit of sense here. Let me share…
My doctor does sometimes prescribe Ritalin to “medication sensitive” folks. Those, who like me, and cannot tolerate most medications. She mainly gives it to individuals who struggle with untreatable depression. It can act as an anti-depressant for mild depressive episodes. How neat. Why do I have to be so bipolar? Darn.
She is not a fan and does not often prescribe them to those of us who can very easily be pushed into a mania. My, oh my, I always have to be the exception to the rule, don’t I?
We also discussed the importance of the Latuda (a mood stablizer, from what I understand), and keeping that on board. The problem I have with the Latuda is the insane fidgety feeling. I forget what it’s called — that’s not important. It was so bad that I felt like I was having an out of body experience and had to be knocked out to get through it.
Most of my moods like to hang out on the depressive side of the pole, and quite honestly, I hate it. Usually it takes something to push me into a state of hypo-mania. Not always, but generally speaking that is how it is. A medication, a major event, a seasonal shift. It doesn’t take much, but it usually takes something. I don’t just wake up one day all manic and happy.
Although, sometimes I wish I could. Wouldn’t life be great if that would happen? Ahh, why yes, yes it would.
Anyway, back to the Ritalin. I am still not on anything except that, nothing, nada, zip, zilch.
I know you are probably thinking it: yes, I have my doctor’s approval. I have been slightly unmedicated for a while. I have discontinued my welbutrin due to severe muscle and joint issues, and plan to restart it here before too long. I am not doing too bad — I’m pretty surprised at how okay I have been. I have my moments, but I am so busy with life that I haven’t had time to notice much.
Regardless, we have figured out how I am going to respond to the Ritalin, and the results are excellent. I am clear, focused, energized, motivated and happy. Wait — happy? Yeah, I said it. I am…happy.
I will start the Latuda next week. I have not been taking the Ritalin daily, twice a day, because I do not want to end up in some crazy hypo-mania that I can’t deal with. Three to four days per week I take it, get a nice emotional lift, get things done, feel like I am oozing with awesomeness because I can get up off the couch and then it will continue into the next day - without the Ritalin. It is working, the every-other-day dosing, only once per day.
For now, I would really rather not play with fire because I know what that will bring. We will keep on keepin’ on with this. I can definitely handle the “okay” for now. Hope it sticks! Wish me luck when I start the Latuda, I am scared!
Medication question photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 17 Aug 2012